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Writing for Girls Who Like Board Games

20200614_164208Girls Who Like Board Games is a international group of women with a presence on various social and game platforms. I stumbled across them and loved the vibe of the group. I have to say I feel more comfortable chatting with them than other board game groups I’ve tried out. I’m not sure if it’s because the gender identity of the group is female or if it’s just the chemistry of this particular group. When they said, “It’s time to start a blog, who’s in?” or words to that effect, I raised my hand: “me, me, me, me, me!” The group blog was launched and my first piece was published yesterday: Horrified: A Review with a Village Full of Monsters. They liked it so much they’ve asked me to be a regular contributor to the blog.

I’m not a super-experienced gamer with floor to ceiling shelves packed with hundreds of games, but the pandemic lockdown has seen my small collection of games grow, and the addition of digital board games, too. If you’re looking for deep strategic analysis based on 20 years and thousands of hours of gaming…that’s not me, but might be some of the other contributors! If you’re looking to find out if a game is fun, if it’s something you would like, if it’s easy to learn, or what sort of a learning curve an average person would have, then my posts on the Girls Who Like Board Games Blog will be right up your alley. A lot of people are getting into board games—or back into board games—as a result of the lockdown, so an “average gamer” or beginner perspective can be useful. The group is largely composed of people who are much more experienced gamers than I, so posts on the blog by others will reflect a variety of tastes and experience. Check it out and subscribe to it if you’re interested. If you identify as female, look for GWLBG on your preferred social/game platform.

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Zazzy Pussy Hat: A pattern praised & modified

Catching the second wave of pussy hat knitting here at the beginning of 2018, I adapted the pattern for circular knitting. Notes on this are below. But first, let me say how brilliant Kat Coyle’s original pattern is. I thought about that a lot as I knitted this hat. The concept is brilliant, but also the design of the original pattern is brilliant for the whole idea of a mass protest hat. By designing it as a flat rectangle with only knit and purl anyone could make this hat. A person taking their first knitting lesson could make this hat. Cast-on, knit, purl, cast-off. One set of straight needles. Sew side seams. The idea was for as many people as possible to make as many hats as possible, and really I don’t see how the original pattern could possibly have done a better job of being accessible to as many people as possible. Another brilliant thing about the pattern is the wide K2, P2 ribbing. This is an extremely stretchy ribbing and by having it comprise half the hat it insures that one size really will fit most, if not all, heads. No shaping is inherent in the design concept, but the ribbing makes all the usual initial decreases unnecessary, anyway. The broad band of ribbing can be adjusted on the wearer: some may wear it as is, but others may adjust the fit by turning up the front band. Really, anyway you look at it, Kat Coyle’s original pattern is a brilliant design for its purpose and audience.

So, why did I mess with it? Well, I prefer knitting in the round. Circular knitting is a natural for hats. And I hate sewing seams. I’m not a beginner, so the technique doesn’t have to be rock-bottom basic. Though, really, even knitting this in the round isn’t more difficult than knitting it flat. (Easier, in fact, because no purls for stockinette stitch.) But it does call for an extra technique that a beginner wouldn’t typically learn right away, the Kitchener stitch, for neatly and seamlessly closing the top.

Here’s my adaptation of the pattern. It makes a hat just like the original: all I changed was the technique (and the yarn).

Special techniques needed: Kitchener Stitch for seamlessly closing the top. (I occcasionally refer to this tutorial to refresh my memory on the Kitchener stitch.)

Needles: Size 8, set of 5 dpns. (A circular needle with a short cord would probably also work, but you will still need straight needles for finishing.)

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Party (“Party” designates a sparkly yarn). Color: Fuchsia. 1  3 oz/85g skein (164 yds or 150 m)

Cast on 100 sts. (I used the German Twisted cast-on, which is a nice stretchy cast-on that’s become my usual, but there’s no need for a special cast-on; your favorite is fine.)

K2, P2 ribbing for 4.25″.

Then knit another 4.25″ in the round (stockinette st). Total length of piece should be 8.5″.

Divide the sts evenly between 2 needles (straight or dpns). Break yarn leaving a very long tail. Finish with Kitchener Stitch. Weave in loose ends and you’re done!

You can view my projects, pics, notes, etc on Ravelry. I reciprocate friend requests!

Right now — throughout the day — tor.com, is releasing science fiction and fantasy fiction on the theme “Nevertheless She Persisted“. Lots of stories have already dropped, with more to come! If you want more fiction by women throughout the month of March, EscapePod and Podcastle, science fiction and fantasy podcasts respectively, are celebrating women authors with their Artemis Rising series; look for new stories weekly (the first ones are already out)!

Fiction for International Women’s Day