Good, Good Dice Bags for Those Good, Good Boys

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I have previously spoken of my love of the McElroy brothers, and if you are new to my special breed of knitting-based insanity, I highly suggest you click that link and read all about it. When I wrote that particular post, I was merely only full of the Candlenights spirit, and had no idea of what was to come the following year.

One frantic morning, I spent the better part of an hour sitting in front of my computer and cell phone, all hopped up on not yet having slept after a 14-hour night shift, alternating refreshing each screen and texting back and forth with my friend Bailee’s friend Chelsea as we attempted a coordinated strike to obtain precious tickets for two McElroy shows in a row.

Let me back up a little bit. The McElroy brothers, and their charming father Clint, announced that they would be recording two separate live podcasts in Austin at the end of May. Opportunities to see BOTH My Brother, My Brother, and Me and The Adventure Zone, the greatest D&D podcast that I have ever had the honor to listen to, dangled in front of me. (It’s actually the only one I listen to, but when it’s THAT good? You only need one.) My friend Bailee and I knew that we had to get tickets, but the problem was that each show was only being sold separately, and both lots of tickets went on sale at the same time, at about 10am central time when I would normally be sleeping (because night shift makes you a vampire-person) and Bailee would be working as a productive non-vampiric member of society.

What to do?

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You make it wooooooooork. You enlist Chelsea, one of the greatest and most devoted supporters of other people’s silliness (and just freaking awesome person), to purchase TAZ tickets at the exact same time while Jinger is sitting at her computer, still awake after 14 hours of screaming, vomiting children, poised to click as fast as possible to get those good, good MBMBAM tickets.

You join the hundreds (thousands?) of other rabid McElroy fans that have the exact same brilliant plan that you do. And then you crash the damn website.

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That’s right. So many people were ravenous to see these ridiculous podcasters that the ticket website was completely overwhelmed, which resulted in everyone getting “stuck” in the queue for tickets for over an hour while everything stalled. What to do when that happens? Chelsea, that brilliant girl, gets on the phone directly to the theatre, and actually gets through. She bypasses the system and scores orchestra seats! And then you do the same! Miraculously! Much dancing about in your chair occurs, as well as joyous proclaiming of your mutual awesomeness splattered all over Twitter for rational people to ignore. Seriously, Chelsea, you’re my hero.

After all the excitement settles, you’re left with a question. What on earth do you make to give to these wonderful podcasters, especially since they will be the first ones in history to receive two (2!) handknit gifts from you that are not directly related to you? Or Dan?

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Dice bags? Dice bags!

We all know that I hold a special place in my heart for acting-intensive roleplaying games. And every roleplaying person worth their salt needs a good, sturdy dice bag to hold all of their special treasures, right?

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I chose Knit Picks Dishie for these, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Lovely saturated colors (Ash, Eggplant, Navy, and Silver, if you want to know…), a hint of a sheen, great stitch definition, and sturdiness that somehow also remains soft and pliable. Good, good stuff.

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But you can’t just let things be simple, right? Of course not! It’s just not a Jinger-project for famous strangers unless it involves a silly amount of duplicate stitch.

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I sat down with a glass of wine and a screenshot of the Lord of the Rings handwriting font (click here if you’re interested in the exact one, for some weird reason), translating them into knitter’s graph paper to make custom monograms. Like a completely sane person.

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Yep.

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All kidding aside, there are few things I love more than well-executed duplicate stitch. It’s so satisfying to do when you hit a really good stitching rhythm, and it’s really fun to sit down with the graph paper and chart out something lovely, especially when it turns out exactly the way you saw it in your head. These letters, in particular, please me, due to the varying line-weights in the strokes, and how those things actually still come across in the final, embroidered version. It felt really good watching them “develop” right in front of me while I was working on them. When I finish writing up the pattern so that everyone can make one, I’ll be sure to chart out the other letters in the LOTR alphabet style so that you can enjoy it, too.

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It seems like you have a lot of dice until you lay them all out. Maybe some clever cropping?

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Better!

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Do we think Justin, Travis, Griffin, and Clint might like them? I hope so. I hope that they like the new dice that I picked out to go with them, too, because what’s good is a new dice bag if it’s empty?

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I tried to pick colors to coordinate with their bags, and also just ones that were pretty. Because opening up your dice bag should feel like looking at little precious stones. Little precious stones that could make you a triumphant hero. Or they could make you trip on your shield and split your tongue in two so that you have disadvantage on all spell-casting, and you’re a cleric.

I might have a little bit of experience in critical failures, you guys.

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To the McElroys: Wengelbertina Slapdeback, my all-time favorite character I’ve ever played, a holy cleric of Pelor who also looks like a German beermaid who could beat your ass down with her flaming longsword, prays that all your attack rolls are crits with max damage. And I hope you guys don’t get overwhelmed with all of the aggressive nerdiness coming your way this weekend in Austin.

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Amen.

A Very Merry Candlenights to You…and You…and You

I am in love with the McElroy Brothers.

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Yes, all three of them. At the same time.

Not romantic love, no. But a deeper, truer love. The love that you feel for the kind of people that make you explode with laughter while you are trying to keep your shit together and look cool on the elliptical machine, simply struggling to breathe in general and now having to deal with hilarious antics at the same time.

Please tell me that you guys have listened to at least one of their amazing podcasts. If you haven’t, please do so. Right now. I’ll wait. Just pick one at random, you won’t be disappointed.

Done? Good.

I have been listening to My Brother, My Brother, and Me for the longest (Since 2012, I think? The days just run together now in my sad weird night-shift life.), and I highly recommend it as a way to introduce the McElroys into your world. You will soon be unable to resist adding more podcasts to your rotation — I myself have now listened to every single episode of Sawbones (which makes my little nursing brain so happy), The Adventure Zone (which makes me pine for the long ago days when I played D&D like a goddamn boss, even sometimes across the country), and ‘Til Death Do Us Blart (of which there are only two so far, but if you listened as well…you would know that this is an accomplishment to be celebrated).

Justin, Travis, and Griffin are, quite possibly, the most charming set of three brothers alive. They are insanely quick and clever. They are ridiculously vulgar. They play D&D with their adorably curmudgeonly father. They love horses. And haunted dolls. And Jimmy Buffett. They talk about ASMR in a non-insulting manner, which is quite a thing and warms my heart.

So, as most of you know, if there are people in the world that I admire and feel the need to let them know about how much they make my life better, and, let’s be for real here, remotely tolerable in this towering garbage fire of a year, I have to knit something for them. In this case, both Travis and Griffin, the middlest and babiest brothers respectively, have recently become fathers to some ridiculously beautiful babies, who will be celebrating their first Candlenights this year, along with Justin’s wonderful two-year-old. (And can I take a moment to mention the fabulous wives of these guys? Sydnee, Teresa, and Rachel are also hilarious, wonderful people, and…I don’t mean to single anyone out specifically, but I kind of want to be Sydnee when I grow up. I guess my going back to school to get my DNP starting in January is a first step towards that. [Yeah, I’m going to put myself through the torture of school again. More on that later.])

What’s Candlenights, you say? Well, in the McElroys’ own words, it’s “a pan-religious, pan-sexual, personal pan winter holiday…Candlenights starts and ends for each person at different times, is about different things for each person, and is celebrated differently by each person. People from all countries of all religions and those without religion alike can celebrate their own Candlenights in their own way.”

It sounds lovely, right? So, as my Candlenights gift to them, I decided to knit the first ever (probably?) Candlenights stockings to shower upon the three babies McElroy, to hang wherever and fill with whatever to celebrate their first winter together.

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These stockings are super heavily-modified versions of the Keepsake Baby Stocking from Interweave’s Christmas Stockings, which is the greatest Christmas stocking book of all time, and sadly, out of print. Just try to pry it out of my cold dead hands.

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They’ve got super-sexy Latvian braid, always a favorite.

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They’ve got my very silly duplicate stitching and tiny stars embroidery, just to add to the Candlenights spirit.

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They unintentionally look a lot like the Amnesty International logo, now that I’m looking at them. Whoops.

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They are also completely coincidentally the colors of the Chipmunks’ shirts, as I am now realizing. That’s what happens when you decide that the perfect yarn is from the leftovers from LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow scarf, I guess.

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Oh, and Justin, Travis, and Griffin, if you’re reading this…yes, that was totally a shameless name-drop. I made a scarf for LeVar Burton and handed it to him! Seriously! And I made an owl for David Sedaris! This is just how awesome I think you guys are! I think I can quit it with the exclamation points now!

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Anyway, these lovelies are headed over to your respective P.O. boxes soon, so please keep an eye out for them so that all of your wonderful babies can share something silly and fun and handmade this year, made with love and hugs from down here in New Orleans.

You guys are great. And you help keep me sane in trying times. And also make me look like a deranged person at the gym. Keep up the good work.