October 1, 2009

My first ebook! Game Knitting!

Ohmygosh, it’s done, it’s really done!  I thought this day would never come!  This ebook concept has been brewing in my head, in some form or another, since early 2007, no kidding!  For quite some time it was just going to be a blog post, then I had plans to make a free pdf, but then the more I worked on it and developed it further, it made sense to turn it into a whole book!  An ebook that started out (in outline form) being about 13 pages, then grew into about 30 pages, then eventually ended up totaling 65 pages! Whoa baby!

ebook cover

So that’s it – Game Knitting!  The book includes enough patterns to make over 150 different designs – but the whole point is that you can make up your own patterns and ideas, take it into other items, and your design options truly become infinite!  You could even use the concept with other crafts beyond knitting – crochet, embroidery, cross stitch, weaving?


So ok, what’s game knitting? What am I even talking about?  It’s the concept that was used to knit all those teaser hats I’ve been sneaking into blog posts since the beginning of the year.  You have to buy the ebook to get all the specifics, but the basic concept is free to all!*  From the intro page:

If you love both knitting and playing games, maybe you’ve wished you could somehow do both at the same time. Sure, you can knit a few rows while waiting for a Scrabble player to figure out their move, but it’s a bit trickier to work your needles and hold a hand of cards simultaneously. Well now here’s a way you can not just play and knit, but turn your knitting itself into the game! And create a truly one-of-a-kind knit object in the process, defined by the randomness of its design.

Game knitting, as it was invented and played to make the items you see here, is based around TV shows, which means if you don’t consider yourself a game lover, but you do have a weakness for television, you too will love game knitting! However, if you want to, some creative thinking can surely move the game away from the screen (and the book includes many ideas).

Game knitting is a concept as opposed to a pattern, which means it can be used to make anything you can knit, as long as it’s a simple enough shape. The book features mostly hats, but there are also examples of scarves, mitts, headbands, and cuffs; knit whatever you love most, as it works out best to game knit an object you are familiar with knitting in the first place. As you can knit any shape, you can also game knit with any yarn/needles/gauge.  You could even take it further and use the concept in non-knitting projects!

This information is also on the Game Knitting page of my website, along with little thumbnail previews of every single page, to try to create the illusion of flipping through the book!  You can enlarge the first few pages (including the table of contents) and get a sense of how the book looks overall.

mscllacehat3 game knitting webpage thumbnails

The ebook is designed for optimal computer screen viewing (large, spaced out font for easy reading) and the pages you may want to print out have smaller pictures, which you can print in grayscale to save on ink.  The pages you wouldn’t have any reason to print are full of lots of large color photos.  Thanks so much to Diane, for both the help in learning Pages to build it, and for the ebook inspiration!


And more about the concept… from page 4 of the book:

The easiest way I’ve found to describe how game knitting works is this:
You make a list of reoccurring things that happen in a TV show, as if you are going to play a drinking game to the show (drink each time something on the list happens), and you want it to be a crazy night!  Which means, if you really were to turn your list into a drinking game, you’d either want to take very small sips of light beer, or you’d be too drunk to play after a couple of episodes.  So, once you have this game list, you design a knitting pattern around doing/changing something in your work every time something on the list happens.  This may be as simple as switching from knit to purl stitches, or making an eyelet hole, or something a bit more complex, like cabling or turning your work for a short row.  Just don’t try actually playing a drinking game as you game knit!

Once you get the concept, you can see that it could be used in forms other than playing to TV.  Make a list of things that your favorite podcaster is always saying, or things that keep happening in the audio book you’re listening to, or things that happen every day on your train commute; anything that you know will happen at some random interval, and you can watch out for while you knit.  Now that you know what game knitting is…

Why game knit?

1. It’s fun!  Especially if you’re playing with others (they don’t necessarily have to be knitting), so you can all shout out when something on the list happens.  Your finished knit item will carry with it the memories of the game playing!

2. Randomness is cool looking!  It’s hard to make a pattern look random on purpose; game knitting it a way to create a look of chaos (in a good way!) because your pattern really is random.

3. Inspiration!  If you are a designer, or want to try knit designing, seeing the way a certain game pattern works up can be great inspiration for new design concepts!  It can also be a fun cure for creative block.


Pete and I have a way fun time watching silly TV shows while I’m game knitting, calling out whenever a list item happens on screen.  (It’s super similar to Bad Movie Bingo!)  And I lovelovelove the random (as Pete calls them, chaos) patterns that result!!


Besides about 11 base patterns (hats, headbands, mitts, etc) and 18 different game patterns, with tons of variations and notes for how to design your own, the ebook also includes:

  • Game lists for 11 TV shows
  • A list of game list ideas beyond television
  • How-tos for 3 types of cabling, 2 with no cable needle
  • Instructions for adding ear flaps to any hat
  • Blocking tips
  • Links to other technique tutorials


Want to hear how the concept first came into my head?  It was way way back when I worked my day job in a photo lab/camera shop in Orange County… I had a supercool boss who let me knit behind the counter when there were no customers (which was pretty often during most times of the year), so I was always picking up my knitting for a short while, putting it down to help someone, and picking it back up, all throughout the day.  So one day I brainstormed the idea of changing my knitting pattern every time I put it down and picked it back up – and I tried it, and it resulted in this hat!


So, it worked, just not spectacularly.  Not many changes makes it look more like stockinette/reverse stockinette “ribbing” instead of a random pattern.  But I loved the idea, and wanted to take it somewhere.  I don’t remember how exactly it evolved into the TV show system, but I’m guessing it involved a conversation with Pete, and he definitely had a big part in developing the idea, and in making the game lists.  The next try was this hat, played to My So-Called Life:


Those were back in 2007, then in early ’08 I picked up the concept again, knitting a couple more bulky hats to try out some new ideas:


But I got distracted and didn’t get back into it till early this year, when I started making hat after hat, and then some non-hats – my example item number has now reached 19!  (20 actually, but I count my cuff pair as 1 item because I meant for them to be a set.)  See them all in the Game Knitting flickr set!


So that’s that, game knitting’s path from bored at work to ebook!  Because of the way you play (when we thought of the TV idea) the working title when Pete and I talked about it was always “drinking game knitting”, hah!  To some perfectionist knitters, the chaos patterns might look like you knit them while drunk!  I love the randomness though, I hope you do too!


Wow, so much info, here’s all you really need to know: The 65 page ebook (16.9MB) is $9Click here to directly purchase it; click here to go to the ravelry page (and get it there); click here to go to its webpage where you can check out all my other patterns too.

Your purchase of the ebook means you’ll get any future updated versions if there are ever changes or additions.  There’s even a chance I might add more patterns in the future, if I figure out any more that look great, so you’ll automatically get the updates emailed to you.


*I’ve chosen to give away the basic Game Knitting concept to everyone, and of course you are free to play even if you don’t purchase the ebook, but I do ask for one thing in exchange – if you knit something using this concept, and post it on ravelry, flickr, your blog, etc, please link to my game knitting page (or this blog post) so that your followers/friends learn about it!  Thanks!!

Also, the game knitting term and the content in this blog post and on the webpage are protected under Creative Commons.  Feel free to post any of my images if you want to talk about it on your blog, etc, as long as you credit and link to me, thanks!  (And a quick note: the book has taken me an insane number of hours to make, and there is tons of specific info about everything game knitting related, so if you’re playing with the concept without the book and having a hard time, I would guess that the book will answer any questions you might have and make it all much easier for you!)


One more quick note – if you get the book and notice any typos, confusingly worded sentences, or anything confusing or weird in general, please let me know!  This is the biggest project I’ve ever done, and I fear I may have missed mistakes in my proofing, but the great thing about ravelry is once it’s up for sale, I can always update the pdf any time I make any changes, and updated versions will go out to anyone who already bought it.  So yeah, don’t hesitate to let me know about anything that might possibly need changing, thanks!

And I’ll leave you with my original cover image, which I actually like a lot better than the real cover, but I thought the (badly Photoshopped) remote addition was important since TV watching is such a major part of game knitting play, and my favorite of the blooper shots:

original cover bloopershot

Filed under: books,hats,knitting,self-publishing — leethal @ 10:39 pm
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