Sunday, 1 February 2009

Conception 2009


I'm spending most of the week at a games convention, Conception 2009, together with the crowd from the games club DH runs. The Con started yesterday and runs until Sunday. So far, I’ve played two sessions of Cthulhu and I’m booked into five more. Both my characters have survived – no mean feat in this environment.

There is wi-fi here, but at £5/hour or £25 for the week, I’m trying to avoid logging in. I can’t justify the £25 – it would just be a wasteful luxury (either that or one of the other members of our party would attempt to monopolise my laptop and I’m damned if I’m paying out for them to play internet games). I think I’ll just do one £5 session either tomorrow or Saturday.

Bringing the laptop was my idea. As well as its role in character generation for one of the games, it’s acting as an entertainment centre – the backup of my MP3 player is on it and the speakers are reasonable.



Next year when we come to the Con, remember to pack the following:-

  1. - kitchen timer
  2. - tea towels
  3. - oven gloves
  4. - the garlic crusher
  5. - a chopping board – the chalet only comes with one and a second would be handy
  6. - my main dice bag! (Fortunately, I have my travelling dice in my handbag.)



For the first time in the history of RPGs, a knitting needle has been in anger! My character had "knitting needle" as an offensive weapon at 40% skill level. In the heat of battle, with no other weapons left, she drew out a needle and stabbed an attacker through the head for 9 points of damage. Almost, but not quite killing the attacker.

Later, the GM tells me that he designed the character with me in mind.


DH has been using the laptop to generate certificates for games the club is running ("Most heroic death" ... that sort of thing). We've lost count of the number of times someone has asked whether it is a netbook, then "wowwed" over its features. If Acer needed salesmen, we've done a really good job this weekend.



The venue is one of your typical British holiday camps. Not quite “Hi Dee Hi”, but an obvious descendent. Picture a hundred acre, partially wooded site, populated by “chalets” (mobile homes to you Americans), with a communal bar and banqueting suite. Every possible inch of the communal areas is occupied by gamers; even the bar has been overrun by LARPers.

This is my third year and DH’s 6th or 7th. Each year, the chalet we’ve hired has had a different layout but universally they seem to be well designed. Far more thought has gone into their layout than your average British home: the open plan kitchens are bigger, with more food preparation space; each chalet has three or four double bedrooms with built in wardrobes and at least two bathrooms (one en-suite); the L-shaped living rooms can host a dinner party at the dining table without requiring the other furniture to be moved out of the way, and the sitting area is large enough to seat everyone for coffee afterwards. How ironic when you consider how much these buildings are sneered at.



As far as I can tell, I'm the only knitter at the Con. I'm knitting a pair of the Herringbone Rib Socks which featured in the Winter 2008 edition of Interweave Knits. Here is the picture from Interweave:

I'm using Wendy's Happy, a 75% bamboo yarn, in the Scorpio 2505 colourway.

I've had a love-hate relationship with this pattern over the last few weeks. (I started the socks I'm working on about 3 weeks ago.) It is easy to learn but not easy in execution - if you drop a stitch or make a mistake and need to go back and correct it, it's hell on earth. On both socks, I made different mistakes that required tinking back, and the tinking was harder than knitting them up in the first place. This is not a pattern for your knitting autopilot - you constantly have to watch what is happening on your needles. The stitch pattern is fiddly in the extreme. It's also slow. Two years ago, over the course of the Con, I knitted DH a pair of socks in 4-ply sock yarn; last year, in two days, I knitted a pair in Regia 6-Faedig (DK weight, I believe). This year, I've managed one and a half socks, in five days of almost constant knitting.

I hated it for almost all of the first sock. Interweave says, "This versatile unisex pattern may well become one of the go-to sock patterns in your repertoire". If you'd asked me four days ago, my response would have been a sarcastic "Yeah, right. You've got to be kidding!".

And yet..... The results are stunning. The stitch pattern shows up the varigations in the yarn beautifully. And even the fiddliness stops being irritating after a while. Will I knit it again? Yes.

- Pam


amy said...

I've had that sock pattern in my sights since the issue came out. Thanks for the head's up!!

Brenda said...

I've been thinking of doing that one too. The Leyburn pattern is also very good for variegated yarns. I might go to that one next. It's very popular, FWIW.