Tuesday, October 17, 2006

When Fandoms Collied Knit Happens

Um... as it was knitting related, here is a Crossover FanFic I wrote for a friend's birthday this summer.

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Entering the silent room, she looked around, taking in the surroundings. There was the bar – well stocked and fully manned – a few tables and a comfortable central sitting area with deep leather chairs and couches and low tables. It would work nicely.

Kara ordered a drink and selected a chair where she could await the arrival of the others.

Jack arrived next, looking relaxed – his top button, behind his tie, was undone, a clear indication that he was ready for a wild night. He collected a scotch and joining Kara, took one of the empty chairs.

“Not an overly punctual group, are we?” he observed.

“Whatever, it’s a bit early still,” Kara said, sprawled in her chair one leg hooked over the arm, her beer held loosely in her right hand, which was hanging behind her over the other arm of the chair.

A dark brooding figure in a long black coat sulked towards them, having come in some back way – probably via a shaded rear alley with sewer access. Following him was a similarly clad figure with platinum hair, who called to the bartender, “’Ey, mate, two pints of pig’s blood with a shot of otter in each. Oh, and one huge scotch.”

“Spike!” Kara drawled, “Glad you could make it.”

“Babe,” he smiled at her. “Jack, good to see you again,” he nodded to the older man, who acknowledged his greeting with a barely perceptible raising of his left eyebrow.

“Oh, I almost forgot, the skulking silent one here is Angel, he was bored so he figured on tagging along – seems to think I’d get into trouble if he didn’t.”

“Angel, this ‘ere is Kara Thrace, and that’s Jack Bristow. Kara and I are old drinking buddies and Fred introduced me to Jack couple years back.”

“And now you all gather here and…”

Angel’s question was interrupted by the arrival of several others. Giles and Lee had met just outside the doors and were already deep in discussion; they nodded in the general direction of the already assembled and headed straight for the bar.

Tara and Fred entered next. Laughing and chatting, they took up the rest of the couch Spike was lounging on.

The three Winchesters followed close behind, John and Sam joining the group, taking up the couch next to Jack, with whom John instantly fell into conversation. Dean rolled his eyes and took the stool next to Lee at the bar and ordered three pints, which he lined up and started into. “I can’t believe I’m here,” he muttered, picking up the closest pint and raising it in salute. “I may have to be here but nothing says I have to be sober.”

Kara looked around, “I think we’re all here now, so I guess we’ll get started. So, welcome to the first official fandom crossover Stitch ‘n Bitch. We have full run of the place, so make yourselves comfortable. The bar is fully stocked with the all the usual plus some excellent ambrosia and Spike assures me the plasma’s great – if that’s you’re thing. Yeah, so, get a drink and let’s get started.”

Apollo and Giles grabbed their drinks and bags and headed over to join the party, leaving Dean alone at the bar, now working on his second beer and complaining to no one in particular about the lack of hot bartenders.

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Jack already had his project out, it was a bright – not neon, just bright – pink, “a sweater for my granddaughter” he explained in response to the question only Jack would have been able to read in the fractional tightening of John’s jaw.

“Afghan,” John offered of his project of thick wool all in neutral browns, “ it can get damn cold sleeping in the truck and I’m frigging sick and tired of bugs in the bedding of cheap motels in the southwest. ‘Sides I figure you never know when it might come in handy for camo.”

Both men relapsed into silence at this point, having pretty much exhausted their quota of words for the next week.

Sam hailed one of the bartenders, ordering himself a light beer and cosmos for Tara and Fred, whom he was engaging in discussion on the topic of textured versus color patterned knitting. “I’m partial to aran knits, but Jess always liked fair-isles,” he was explaining. “This is for my brother, Dean – the guy at the bar – just a ribbed, black touque; anything more elaborate and he’d never wear it,” he sighed.

Fred agreed with Sam about pattern preference and produced her project. “It’s a cable vest for Wes; this particular blue really brings out his eyes.”

Tara confessed a partiality to plain knits with a focus on the shape of the pieces and allowing the feel and appearance of the yarn to stand on its own, a philosophy her fitted, burgundy cashmere/silk mix, three quarter length sleeve sweater fully exemplified.

Lee produced two projects from the small duffle bag that served as his knitting repository, one he handed to Kara; it was the first, barely started, of a pair of fuzzy hot pink mittens. She and Lee had debated whether hot pink would be allowed under regulations, even if she only wore them when actually in the cockpit. In the end Lee said he expected that – allowed or not – Kara would get away with it, and he did concede that it was cold in the Viper and mittens were an excellent idea. It was a point he intended to address with his father the next time they met to discuss military issues. The other project, a plain grey tube on four double pointed needles, he kept for himself and proceeded to stare at and fiddle with, his face a knot of anxiety and puzzlement.

“Lee, come on, it’s only a frakkin’ pair of socks, just finish it,” Kara pleaded. “You’ve restarted four times! You’re way over-thinking this project and completely killing the relaxation factor. Giles, help me out on this one.”

“Commander Adama, Lt. Trace makes an excellent point. And despite your persuasive arguments, I really do think that the simple pattern in the grey DK weight will be the most practical for your purposes. I know you are not often in a Viper these days, but I can’t believe that you will have no use for warm socks in your current role.” Giles counseled sagely, placing his own project – a highly complicated fair-isle scarf – in his lap and turning his full attention to the matter of persuading the young man that he was being anal.

Spike was quietly working on his project, which he kept hidden in the bag while he knitted.

“Spike, won’t you share with the group what you are working on?” Tara asked teasingly, noticing his secretive manner.

All eyes turned to him, and realizing he was cornered, he withdrew the tiny baby blue finger weight piece from its hiding place. “I’m making booties and mitts and little sweaters for the preemies at St. Mary’s, okay?” He asked in a voice that was a cross between embarrassment and defiance.

This revelation was met with smiles and giggles by all but John and Jack, who showed their amusement and surprise by the slightest of twitches at the sides of their mouths.

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Angel, content that even Spike couldn’t get into trouble while knitting baby booties, made his way to the bar.

Dean had finished his first round of beers, and was tucking neatly into a second and he showed little sign of slowing, though he was eyeing the dart board on the far wall with some intensity.

Angel approached the young Winchester, in his awkward ‘won’t you be my neighbor’ way. Dean eyed him suspiciously and said nothing.

“You don’t knit?” Angel asked, attempting to engage Dean in conversation.

“Do I look to you like a guy who knits?” Dean asked.

Angel shrugged and glanced at the assembled crowd of knitters, none of them looked to him like the type of people who knit. Dean seemed to understand the look and so reluctantly explained his presence. “Dad’s been after Sam to find some way they could bond. Sam, who apparently learned to knit at Stanford – fuck, I can’t believe he left us to go learn to knit! – picked this knitting club thing that Andrea told us about, figuring Dad would say no. Turns out Dad learned to knit in the marines and said yes, so now they’re knitting and I’m drinking.”

“I came to make sure Spike stays out of trouble,” Angel explained, infusing the words with so much angst and meaning that Dean turned to look at the guy, who apparently needed a brooding shadow-guard in order to knit in public.

“The guy with the booties?” Dean asked skeptically.

Angel nodded and focused his brooding on his pint of blood. Taking a deep draught, he sighed, sounding so much older than his two centuries. It was then that Dean smelled it, the blood, and in a second he had leapt over the bar, yanked down a decorative bayonet, leapt back over the bar, and was inches away from slicing off the vampire’s head.

“Whoa, Dean, let’s not have any decapitation among friends,” Kara called out.

“Friends?” Dean expressed the common Winchester incredulity, “it’s a frigging vampire.”

“A vampire with a soul,” Spike corrected.

“So?” Dean was still not understanding why he should leave Angel’s head attached to his neck.

“He’s a champion, helper of the helpless, tool of the Powers That Be, saver of puppies. You know one of the good guys.” Spike rattled off, not taking his eyes from his project for fear of screwing up the eyelet row.

“What kind of fucked up ‘verse are you from where vampires are good guys?” Dean asked in disgust, before he shoved Angel and lowered the blade.

“Language, Dean!” His father called.

Dean ignored John and pointed the bayonet at Angel’s chest, “I’m watching you, fangs. You even look at anyone here the wrong way and you’ll be joining the headless hunt before you even have time to blink.” Having accompanied his threats with sufficient eye narrowing and lip curling to drive home the seriousness of his words, Dean stalked over to the dart board and proceeded to play several rounds of around the clock without a miss.

Angel sat and brooded, distressed that the young man wouldn’t be his friend and was clearly not helpless and therefore in no way in need of his assistance.

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“So, let me get this straight,” Sam said, “Tara, Fred, and Jack all died?”

“Yes, but my body still continued being used by an ancient powerful being with a violent streak and no sense of humor.” Fred explained.

“Personally, I think Jack got the best deal out of it,” Spike offered. “I mean, trapping his erstwhile best-friend become betrayer extraordinaire forever in a tomb in the middle o’ nowhere, saving his beloved daughter’s life, having her total love and affection when he died after a lifetime of misunderstanding and tension, doing all he could to ensure a happy and solid family for his granddaughter, and what bloody brilliant last words!”

Jack pursed his lips in grateful acknowledgement of Spike’s praise.

“I have to agree,” Tara said, “I didn’t really get last words and my death inspired my girlfriend to go on a killing spree and nearly destroy the world.”

“Well, at least your death had real context and motivation, and it was beautifully tragic in its understated way,” Fred insisted. “Mine was just so I could come back as someone different! And, my boyfriend, didn’t exactly go on a killing spree but he did stab my ex, kill my assistant, drown his sorrows in a bottle, and then spend the rest of his life teaching the bitch walking around in my body the days of the week.”

“Whoa, and I thought we were messed up,” Sam said to John.

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Kara cast off the finished mitten, and shook her head as she looked at the sock on Lee’s needles, barely an inch further along. Intending to order another beer, she turned around and caught sight of the clock. “Frak! I’ve got twenty minutes to get back to Galactica or Tigh’s gonna bust my ass. Sorry to have to run guys. Same time next week good for you?”

“Fine by me,” Spike replied, “though I may try and leave tall, dark, and broody at home if Sparky over there is going to be here.”

“That sounds like an excellent idea, Spike,” Giles interposed. “This time and place works perfectly for me as well.”

“Tara and I will be here, but we might be a bit late next week, we have a double date with Willow and Wes for dinner,” Fred explained.

“I’m coming with you,” Lee shrugged to Kara, “if it works for you, works for me.”

“It’s fine with me,” Jack added.

“Dad?” Sam deferred to his father.

“We should be able to deal with that poltergeist in Rochester and be back by then,” John decided.

“Great, then it’s settled. See you all then.” Kara concluded, handing her project back to Lee, who returned it to the bag after first rewinding the yarn she sloppily balled together and placing the empty needles in their respective holders. After all was stored to his satisfaction, they both stood and bid the others farewell.

Spike returned his booties to their bag, saluted the gang, and collected Angel from the bar, “Let’s go find you someone to save, that’ll make you feel better, eh mate?”

Tara and Fred hugged Giles and their new friend Sam before heading out, bags weighed down by the substantial progress they had made that night.

Giles collected his things and headed out, wishing them all a good week.

“Dean, let’s roll,” John ordered.

“Yes, sir!” Dean practically saluted his father, heels together, back straight, before bounding out to the Impala.

Sam shrugged and said goodbye to Jack, who nodded to the boy.

Jack and John shook hands and parted.

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With their various departures the bar was left nearly empty; one bartender gathered up the glasses from the tables and lined them up for washing next to Dean’s collection of pint glasses already standing in neat rows on the bar. Another swept up the mess made when Dean leapt back and forth over the bar and straightened the stools and tables displaced by the natural operations of the bar and by the unusual altercation between the two civilians at the knitting function. Half an hour later and all traces of the evening’s events – yarn based and otherwise – had been removed, the lights were turned off and the bar was still and empty again.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ivy - the last lap is always the hardest

I've been knitting Ivy since sometime in September (anxiously anticipating doing so for some time before then).

Today I have finally finished knitting the 'big' pieces and now have only

2 54" ties
the sewing up

left before I am finished and able to wear it. (partially because I am generally adverse to blocking and therefore am skipping that step - at least I am planning to skip it, we'll see.)

Here are a few of the pieces :

And some closer detail:

I'm working with Telemark, Skyline from knitpicks.com. I'm rather liking it. It is 100% wool, but feels a lot like cotton and it shows the cabling quite nicely.

Today I've placed an (other large) order with knitpicks for various things, including some undyed DK weight Merino to knit another Ivy - this one as a Christmas present. I couldn't find the colour I wanted any where in the right weight, so I'm going to try to make it myself.

Knitting plans continue to develop and I should have company when it comes time for dying. (there will also be sock wool dying... oh dear... grad students + dye + wool + some form of alcohol = a very very fun but also very very scary prospect)

The Beginning of Something

What, I'm not quite sure.

I finally brokedown and moved into the Blog world. This is my hobby blog. It will be filled with knitting, sewing, leather working, book-binding and other related and unrelated hobbies.

Welcome aboard.

Lady O.