Bribery and Dinosaurs

About 5 months ago, I was looking at going to GenCon, and I really really really wanted to see if my online gamer friends would like to meetup there. The same guys who participate in the Grinding Ice, Moving Forward, and Space Race campaigns. My Tuesday night crew. My gamer friends.

You see, aside from Daniel (GM for Space Race, Ordune in Moving Forward), whose brother is a friend of mine here in Vegas, I haven’t met any of these guys. Alex (Tris in Moving Forward, Vor-Kai in Grinding Ice) lives in New York. Steve (Captain Ryan Steele in Space Race, GM for Moving Forward, Hrothgar in Grinding Ice) is in Minneapolis. And Tyler (Alain in Space Race. Firiel in Moving Forward, Much-Abused GM of Grinding Ice) is about one mountain over from my in-laws near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I love the in-person interaction, and I really want to Make This Happen.

So, I posted in our private forum asking if anyone would be up for GenCon. I mentioned the free badges we can get if we GM. I mentioned that I will be turning 40 and drinking heavily on the last day of the convention.

And because there was resistance (cost, travel time, airfare!), I offered them a bribe.

Stephanie: So, I’m knitting a dinosaur for my redditgifts swap.
Stephanie: I’m about halfway done. There are dinosaur pieces all over my desk.
Steve: DINOSAUR!!!
Steve: Have I mentioned that when it comes to dinosaurs, I am an 8 year old boy?
Stephanie: Have I mentioned that my nickname with my niece and nephew is Dinosaur Stephie?
Stephanie: My first love and I bonded over our mutual love of dinosaurs. Sure, we were 5….
Stephanie: What’s your favorite dinosaur, Steve
Stephanie: ?
Steve: It changes depending on my mood. Ankylosaurus most of the time, Utahraptor when I crave blood, and Apatosaurus when I;m feeling down.
Stephanie: I have a pattern for an ankylosaurus.
Stephanie: I’m not above bribery…. I would knit dinosaurs for anyone from our group who GOES TO GENCON (*cough* DANIEL *cough*).
Steve: I just wish I could have an excuse to make you guys fight dinosaurs.
Stephanie: When we go to hell….
Stephanie: There are devil-saurs.
Steve: Ooooh. I have a better idea.
Stephanie: I know better than to ask.
Steve: Not going to tell 😛
Stephanie: Like how I said “when” we go to hell.
Steve: I haven’t decided on when that’ll happen.

And there it was. The bribe was laid out. Privately, I asked each of my players what their favorite dinosaurs were.

Daniel: Ankylosaurus.

Tyler: Ankylosaurus.

Steve (already noted): Ankylosaurus.

Alex: Plesiosaur. Ankylosaurus is good, too.

My mind boggled. I don’t re-knit the same pattern over and over again! And now I was signed up for 3 or 4 of the same ankylosaurus?!?

I set to work. Fortunately, I already had the patterns, from Knitted Dinosaurs by Tina Barrett.

The first task was picking yarn. I would need 4 colors for the ankylosauruses, and I wanted to make them all coordinate. I picked light green, dark green, orange, and an off-white. Daniel asked for orange– that was the only color request that was specific. The rest just didn’t want pink.

Dragon Plushie
Gratuitous Dragon Picture

I decided on Knit Picks City Tweed DK, because the tweed would give some “texture” to the dinosaurs and make them look more “realistic.”

I couldn’t decide how much to buy, and the pattern notes aren’t very specific about how much of the ball you’ll actually use. Since I was making three ankylosauruses, I wanted to mix and match colors– one would be orange back with dark green belly, another would be dark green with light green belly, etc. I decided to buy 2 balls each of the white, dark green, and orange, and four of the light green. I’ve ended up with a smidge of light green left, a full ball of white, and about a fourth of a ball of the orange and dark green, and I also made a dragon with the leftovers, so I think I did pretty well.

Anyway, I’ve been working on these dinosaurs, intermingling the dinosaurs with other projects, like some Grumpasauruses for an online swap on Reddit, and the dragon, and there was a scarf mixed in there. I haven’t been knitting on any socks lately, which is my next project.

There was surprisingly little drama with the dinosaurs. I lost one of the ankylosaurus tail clubs, but it’s a small ball that was easily re-made.

I started with the dark green and light green guy (Ravelry link):

Dark Green Ankylosaurus
Dark green with light green belly
Ankylosaurus backside
Club tailed ankylosaurus

I then did the light green and orange one:

Light Green Ankylosaurus
Light green with orange belly

These are going to either Steve or Tyler, depending on who wants a light green or dark green ankylosaurus.

The third one, the orange one, took me a bit longer, as I was starting to get burned out and needed to take a break for some swap knitting (the dragon and some Grumpasauruses for the reddit /r/knitting/ swap):

20140611_072126 20140701_103743 20140531_140053


The Grumpasauruses are a bit of a speed-knitting challenge, as it was an assassiknit challenge. At this point, you can imagine that I might be a bit burned out from making stuffed animals.

Nonetheless, I charged forward with the third, orange ankylosaurus:



All together, they’re pretty adorable, aren’t they?

My final project was the plesiosaur. Not technically a dinosaur, the plesiosaur is the aquatic reptile from the Jurassic period, the inspiration for the Loch Ness monster and similar “large sea monsters” cryptoid myths. Alex wanted one of these, and I did not want to disappoint.

I had a lot of the white left over, as well as quite a bit of the light green, so I cast on for a light green with white belly guy. The construction of the plesiosaur is much simpler than the ankylosaurus. There are four limbs which stick out to the sides (unlike the ankylosaurus, with its tail club, two front legs that are mounted perpendicular to the chest and back legs that are mounted on the sides so it can stand upright). The head, body, and tail are all one piece. There are no ears or wings or flappy fiddly bits (coming off the dragon, this was a huge relief).

I decided to make things “easier” on myself and do all the top/back embroidery and embellishments before sutffing and assembling the body. I stuffed the limbs and stitched them to the top. I positioned the eyes and stitched them on. And then….

The sequins. This toy has sequins sewn to the back, but I don’t have off-white sequins and didn’t feel like rushing out to the store for a $1.79 pack of sequins. I do, however, have more beads than any human ought to own if she’s not “a beader,” so I dug through and picked out a bunch of pearlish vintage beads from a reclaimed necklace I got somewhere along the way. These beads are antique-looking pearls in off white and green, which went perfectly with the plesiosaur.


Finally, I got all the gamer dinosaurs together for a quick photo shoot:

Dinosaurs playing D&D
Roll for initiative!
Stephanie and the Dinosaurs
I call this my DM, or “Dino Master” shot.

And that’s it! The dinosaurs are done!

Well, there is a coda. One of my players isn’t sure he can make it to GenCon. In Washington, Daniel is the furthest away– far enough that a bus ticket isn’t feasible. However, he was in Las Vegas for a family visit this month (with the possibility of flying to GenCon in August from here), and I gave him his dinosaur anyway. Yeah, sure. It was supposed to be a bribe. But who can resist sharing the dinosaur love?

"Frank" the orange dinosaur finds a new home!
“Frank” the orange dinosaur finds a new home!