Thursday, October 20, 2011

Inverboy, Hero o' the Hielands

Long before I learned to knit, I loved all things Scottish. (I still do, and it pains me that when I visited there I did not yet know the joys of yarn.) Shortly after a trip to Scotland, I drew these cartoons. I had almost forgotten about them, and when I came across them this evening they made me smile. Hopefully they will do the same for you. Without further ado, I present for your viewing pleasure the complete (to date) adventures of Inverboy, Hero o' the Hielands. Links in the explanatory text will take you to the Wikipedia articles for each item.

#1: Introductions

The name Inverboy came from the misreading of the place name "Inverroy" on a road sign. "Wouldn't that make a great superhero name?" we said, after realizing our mistake. "Hielands" is "highlands" with a Scots accent; "coo" is, of course, "cow". Highland cattle have long shaggy hair and horns; they're adorable. Click here to learn more about them at wikipedia. "Morag" is the Gaelic version of the name "Sarah", and it is commonly heard in Scotland. No disrespect is intended to any Sarahs or Morags; I just thought it was a nice name. The pattern on the kilt really is the Kincaid tartan. BTW, haggis really is good with steak sauce; don't knock it till you've tried it.

Inverboy #2: Inverboy Meets Little Miss Muffett

For some reason, I latched onto nursery rhymes and their characters as subject matter. They just seemed to fit. Oh, and I want a coo to rescue me from spiders, too.

Inverboy #3:

The sheaf toss is an event that is found at many Highland games. Contestants toss a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar. After all have had a turn, the bar is raised. While Bo Peep's sash should technically go from her right shoulder to left hip, note the authentic kilt hose and flashes (ribbons) worn by Inverboy. Had I been a knitter then, I'd have decorated them with some cables or at least moss stitch.

Inverboy #4: Old King Cole

Cullen Skink (great name, isn't it?) is a traditional Scottish soup made with haddock, potatoes, and onions. Angus' friends are all named for places in Scotland - Penicuik (pronounced penny-cook) is an area in Midlothian; Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles, and of course the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond are familiar from the song. I do, in fact, like the sound of bagpipes.

Inverboy #5: In search of Nessie

Drumnadrochit is a town about halfway up the west coast of Loch Ness. Its name comes from the Scottish Gaelic "Druim na Droichaid" meaning "ridge of the bridge." There is a Nessie museum there, and you can take boat rides on the loch. The silhouette of Urquhart Castle as seen from the boat is accurate, or at least it was when I was there. We did not see the monster, hard as we looked. Loch Ness is a mile wide, a mile deep, and 26 miles long, with an exit to the sea. I formulated the theory that Nessie actually lives in the ocean and just goes to Scotland on vacation, like the rest of us who aren't fortunate enough to live there.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Film Noir goes live

Remember when I promised you a pattern release on October 14? Well, here it is, October 14, and here is the pattern: Peter Lorre, the Mysterious!  I love Peter Lorre, and I’m glad the folks at Sanguine Gryphon chose to name the pattern for him. He was versatile - Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Kentaro Moto (a Japanese detective) in a series of movies, including “The Mysterious Mr. Moto.” According to, in the 1960s, he and Vincent Price costarred as as crimefighting antique dealers in the unsold pilot, “Collector’s Item.” That’s a series I’d like to have seen!

Designing a Film Noir inspired pattern was fun and came naturally. From Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Moto to Charlie Chan and The Thin Man, I grew up with the classic mystery movies. (Thanks, Mom!) The detective characters were always our favorites, especially when they had a sense of humor and personality to spare. With this vest, I wanted to design something that wouldn’t be out of place in the wardrobes of Nick Charles, Archie Goodwin, or Sam Spade, but would still have something a little unexpected. The traditional argyle pattern becomes subtle and modern when it uses varying textures instead of colors. The base diamond pattern is easy and intuitive, with the surface chain-stitch applied after knitting and before seaming. The vest could as easily be worn by a gentleman of today as by a noir detective.

Sizing info:
Men’s Sizes S (M, L, XL, XXL)
To fit Chest Circumference: 34-36 (38-40, 42-44, 46-48, 50-52)”/86-91 (96-101, 106-111, 117-122, 127-132) cm
The pattern allows for two inches of positive ease. It is written with straight sides to be flattering on your favorite gentleman, but it could easily be worn by a woman. Choose the size according to your bust measurement and add your favorite method of waist shaping if you want a more structured fit.

Click here for the Ravelry pattern page
The pattern is available for download from The Sanguine Gryphon for $6.00.

Peter Lorre was born László Löwenstein (aka Peter Lorre) was born 26 June 1904, Rózsahegy, Hungary.  See a list of his credits and his bio and trivia at the Internet Movie Database.

Meanwhile ...

I also released two accessory patterns last week. The Garden of the Mind's Eye is a lightweight hat knit in a  reversible chain-link pattern. Sizes are included ranging from infant to large adult. Dreams Are Quite a Thing is a scarf worked in a reversible wrapped rib pattern which enhances variegated yarns. Each piece uses less than 1 skein of sock or fingering-weight yarn. Both are shown at right knit in Fire Lizard Studios "Joy" sock yarn, colorway Garden. Louet Gems Fingering Weight would also work well.

"The Garden of the Mind's Eye" Hat, $5.95 at Ravelry
"Dreams Are Quite a Thing" Scarf, $5.95 at Ravelry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sanguine Gryphon Presents ... She Was All in Stitches

Hello, all! Sorry for the complete lack of posts for the past month and a half. Too much going on, and none of it relating to knitting ...

I'm breaking my (inadvertent) radio silence with some exciting news for you: The Sanguine Gryphon's Fall 2011 Film Noir pattern collection is being released October 14th, and you can see a preview now! Where? Here! In keeping with the Film Noir theme, they've made a mystery for you to solve. Email your best guess to them, and you have a chance to win all the patterns. (Details are with the preview photos.)

Why is this exciting news to me, you ask? And why do I want to share it? Well, the mystery theme and chance to win all those patterns would be enough in themselves. In addition, though, I'm excited because one of the designs is mine! In keeping with the theme, I should keep it a mystery and ask you to guess, but I couldn't do that to you. It's the green vest worn by the detective. Wanna see a pic? Click here to see a whole bunch! The vest is the textured argyle in photos 9-14. The pattern is more subtle than a traditional multicolor, but with the same classic lines. The yarn was Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in colorway "Belize", and it was a pleasure to work with. So what are you still doing here, reading my blog? Go check out the designs!