Pumpkin Passport – July

I’m finally caught up!

Wouldn’t you love a camel ride past a pyramid? I’m sure in reality it’s hot and smelly, but in my mind it seems like the greatest adventure ever!

Cross stitch scene of a girl riding a camel past a pyramid

Now to get caught up on some geek-a-long knitting. If only I can pull myself away from Pokémon Go long enough…

Pumpkin Passport – May & June

I’m working hard to get caught up on the Pumpkin Passport stitch-a-long by Frosted Pumpkin. I’ve fallen a few months behind but am almost back on track.

Here are May and June’s installments – Greece and Russia:

Cross stitch scenes of Greece and Russia

 

That means I’m half way there! I’m almost finished July and if I can get a bit of stitching time in today I’ll be fully caught up!

Frosted Pumpkin recently released two new stitch-a-longs, one is Halloween themed and the other is a trip through six national parks. I’ll admit I’m rather tempted by the Halloween one, but between this project and the Lattes and Llamas Geek-a-Long I think my craft-a-long quota is maxed out. But it’s always so hard to pass up these adorable designs, so I may end up caving after all.

2016 Geek-a-Long Update 6

Here are two more squares for my Lattes and Llamas Geek-a-Long blanket.

Front of double knit half life square

Front of double knit 007 square

These squares have a few things in common:

They are both from game franchises I have never played. (I did recently install Half Life 2, although I haven’t made it to playing it yet. But that must count for something!)

They are both knit with orange yarn. (Obviously)

And most importantly….

They are my first attempts at extreme double-knitting! And what is extreme double-knitting you might ask? Check out the backs of these squares:

Back of double knit Half Life 2 square

Back of double knit 007 square

That’s right, no backward symbols here! Instead of being a mirror image on the back like the rest of the squares so far, these look “proper” from either side.

The basic concept of double-knitting is to always carry two colours of yarn and knit with the colour that should show on the facing side and purl with the other colour. In extreme double-knitting this rule of making sure you work a stitch in each colour is thrown out the window, and each stitch is made in whatever colour is needed to make the pattern work on both sides. This means you could have many stitches of one colour on your needle while the other colour of yarn is simply carried along between the two layers of fabric.

Which for me, really means having to pay way too much attention to chart reading, and a slew of tension issues. But I think they were worth it in the end.

I learned how to extreme double-knit, and more importantly, how to create patterns for extreme double-knitting, from Alasdair Post-Quinn’s Adventures in Double-Knitting class on Craftsy. I absolutely loved this class and highly recommend it if you have any interest in learning the double-knitting technique.

2016 Geek-a-Long Update 5

Double-knit portal symbol

When I first sat down to start writing a blog post about Portal I could not figure out what to say about this quirky, strange puzzle game. So, of course, I immediately abandoned the blog post and went and played through all of Portal and half of Portal 2. How could I not?

For those unfamiliar with the game the premise is incredibly simple. It’s actually a first person shooter style game but the gun you are given does only one thing – place portals. One blue portal and one orange portal to be exact, and when you step into one of your portals you come out the other. Equipped with nothing but this gun you work your way through increasingly difficult, obstacle course style game levels.

Portal is a great game and one I think everyone should play. It’s unique, dark, funny, and yes, at times exceptionally frustrating. but that just makes it more satisfying when you finally make it past a tough spot. To me it feels more like a proof of concept than a fully developed game, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, it just means that even if you’re as bad at puzzle games as I am you can likely play through the whole game in an afternoon.

Portal 2, however, is absolutely phenomenal. With more way more puzzles including many new and intriguing components, hilarious dialog, and a variety of settings, this game provides many more hours of entertainment. It also has some of the most fun co-op gaming the husband and I have ever played. And, once you’ve finished all of the Valve created content there’s a full level editor for creating your own puzzles, and hundreds of thousands of fan created levels to play. Oh, and the best part is that you can often pick up both games on a Steam sale for less than $5. So really, why are you still reading this instead of playing Portal?

2016 Geek-a-Long Update 4

Time to start posting some Geek-a-Long squares! I have been spending almost every spare moment double-knitting to try to keep up with the Lattes and Llamas Geek-a-Long. I’m a fairly novice knitter, new to double-knitting, and have done very little colour work, so these squares are taking roughly 15 hours a piece. Yes, I’m that slow. Yes, I have to frog my work that often. But it’s completely worth it in the end, so on to the squares…

Here are two game series I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never played. First up is Rayman.

Double-knit Rayman

I’m going to give myself a bit of a pass on this one. The Rayman series didn’t hit popularity until after my childhood video game stage and before my adult video game stage (there was about a 10 year gap in there where I actually did proper human things like go outside… gasp!). Since Rayman really wasn’t on my radar, of course I haven’t played any of the games. Rayman Legends is on my Steam wishlist if that counts for anything, but even during the last couple of Steam sales it didn’t make it to the top of the buy list.

Mario Kart, I sadly have no excuse.

Mario Kart double-knit star

There is no logical reason for why I’ve never played a Mario Kart game. As a kid I must have played every other Mario game for the Super Nintendo. I also spent many hours playing F-Zero, so the issue clearly isn’t an aversion to racing games. As an adult I’ve logged quite a few hours on the Wii and DS and Mario Kart appears on many “best games ever” lists for both of these systems. I know multiple people who when asked what their all-time favourite game is will reply with Mario Kart without even a moment of hesitation. I’m really feeling like I should immediately run out and pop my Mario Kart cherry. But alas, there’s just too much knitting to do!

Pumpkin Passport – April

It’s completely ridiculous, but between the Pumpkin Passport and the Lattes and Llamas Geek-a-long, I have been spending so much time crafting lately that I haven’t had any time to actually photograph or post what I’ve been working on! Time to remedy that.

The April installment of the Frosted Pumpkin Pumpkin Passport takes us to Switzerland. Okay, I’ll admit it, I know nothing about Switzerland, except that my boss has gone there to ski a couple of times, and she always brings back excellent chocolate. And really, what more do you need in a country than excellent chocolate? Maybe the cutest sheep in the world, but Switzerland happens to have that too.

Switzerland cross stitch - Frosted Pumpkin Pumpkin Passport April

2016 Geek-a-Long Update 3

Tetris is probably the first game I ever loved. I spent many, many hours with my trusty Game Boy and this game. And I was actually good at it! I love video games, and I play a lot of them, but there are very few that I’ve ever been able to brag about my skill at. In fact I think Tetris and bilging in Puzzle Pirates are about it. Sadly, it’s been quite a few years since I played either of these games, so I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t be bragging too loudly anymore.

I choose to knit my Tetris square in green since it reminded me so much of the original Game Boy screen colour. I’m really happy with how this square turned out, and love that the Llamas were clever enough to make the score reversible. I am however, a little saddened by just how bad this Tetris player is at the game. And it does make me a little nostalgic for the days when puzzle games didn’t require you to pay real money, wait a day, or spam your friends to play the next level…

Front of double knit Tetris square

Back of double knit Tetris square

If you still haven’t checked out the Lattes and Llamas Geek-a-Long you really should. It’s been  an absolute blast so far.