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15 Minutes of Fame: Knitting together a gaming life

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Yes, grandmas who knit play World of Warcraft, too -- and to prove it, we offer you this week's 15 Minutes of Fame with Pointilliste of Nesingway (US-A). Pointilliste is not only a knitting grandma, but a librarian as well. (She holds a master's degree in library science.) Nerdy-sweet enough for you yet? There's more -- this grandmother of four started playing Dungeons & Dragons in her forties, got her first PC nearly 20 years ago at age 50 ... and of course, she plays World of Warcraft.

Main character Pointilliste
Guild Petopia
Realm Nesingwary (US) ("Where else would pet-collecting hunters gather?")

15 Minutes of Fame: How long have you been knitting, Pointilliste, and what sorts of projects inspire you?

Pointilliste: I have knitted off and on since I started college in 1958. I finally got my B.A. in 2005, followed by a master's in library science in 2008. When I finished my MLS in the fall of 2008, I suddenly had an unusual amount of time on my hands -- the homework void. So I decided to take up knitting again.

Tell us how in the world you came to end up playing World of Warcraft with a bunch of knitters.

My daughter gave me a book by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, otherwise known as the Yarn Harlot. The Harlot is a real knitting nerd -- who else (except her and her followers) would knit stockings with a "Viper" fighter pattern to wear while watching the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica?

Reading the Yarn Harlot blog introduced me to the Ravelry web forum. In the summer of 2009, my daughter introduced me to WoW. In the meantime, I had taken up sock knitting as a specialty and was getting ready to attend the first Sock Summit in August of 2009.

So, wait -- how does knitting and WoW actually come together? Is guild chat full of knitters talking knit chat? Do you share WoW-related patterns on your guild forums?

While browsing in the various sock forums of Ravelry, I thought, "I wonder if there is a Ravelry WoW group?" There certainly is. There is the general "World of Warcrafters: Dual Wielding Needles Since Level One" and the more specific "Warcrafting on Draenor" especially for members of the guilds Dropped Stitches (Alliance) and Twisted Stitches (For the Horde!).

I had a lot of fun creating my first character Kyashmere the nelf with Dropped Stitches, then switching to Twisted Stitches with Pointilliste (Pointy) the belf. I wouldn't say that the guild chat is "full of knitting chat," but it is not absent, either.

I had lots of fun with the Stitches guildies -- I managed to get a picture of two of us rescuing baby Murlocs; that's Pointy in the Dropped Stitches tabard (see image) -- and my guildies helped me ding 80 during a Culling of Stratholme.

The forum space for Recently Shared Projects often has WoW-related items such as hats and scarves, even tea cozies. Blizzard doesn't mind if we make items with WoW images, as long as they are for personal use and not for sale.

I knitted a Horde symbol and sent it to another Ravelry member as part of the Ravelry Nerd Wars competition. I meant it to be part of a headband but was a little off on scale; I think she will use it as a scarf end.

Do you ever knit while you play?

I have heard on chat about people knitting while on long flights; however, I usually need that time for bio breaks. Also, since I mainly knit socks and baby clothes, I have to pay fairly close attention to the actual knitting.

It sounds like collecting pets is taking the focus of your game time now, is that right? What's going on there?

My daughter found out about Petopia, and as soon as she told me, Pointilliste nagged and nagged me to switch. (She also nagged me to get exalted with Undercity just so she could have a bony pony.) The belf whine finally got to me -- do you know that a female belf will wipe her nose on her sleeve when she cries?

Although Pointy's usual pet is Gambi the Gorilla, within a few days of joining Petopia, guildies helped her find the spirit kitty Loque (who named herself PeggySue; don't know where that came from) and Arcturus the spirit bear. PeggySue is much more welcome in dungeons than Gambi is. Something about Thunder Stomp, I think.

Have you brought your WoW-playing daughter into the knitting fold, as well?

She does some crocheting, which qualified her for the Ravelry forum, but she is also a painter and set designer (and WoW player) and doesn't have as much time for the fiber arts as I do.

As a member of Ravelry and someone who's played with fellow knitters in WoW, have you found any other resources to cross-fertilize your two hobbies?

Not really. I tried to meet some WoW people at the Sock Summit 2009 in Portland, Oregon, but I was very new to WoW at the time and wasn't able to connect. And the other Twisted Stitches knitting grandma I played with most often lives in Alaska.

Do you belong to any real-life knitting groups? If so, have you found any knitters there who also play World of Warcraft?

You know, I am such a nerd (shy about groups). But they didn't start playing Dungeons & Dragons until I was in my forties -- hard to find a D&D group eager to include a 40-year-old woman. Then I had to wait till I was 50 (1992) to get my first PC. I tried EverQuest but didn't get into it. Finally, I found WoW, the Best Game Ever (an unsolicited testimonial)!

But to return to my nerdiness, when I started knitting again, especially when I got serious about socks, I tried the Local Yarn Store (LYS) groups in the Los Angeles area where I live, but they seem to be a different species of nerd -- a more fluffy variety. I just couldn't click.

Online groups on Ravelry -- yes! Did you know there are a variety of groups for nerds and gamers on Ravelry? Once I found the one for programmers; they are way above my nerd pay grade.

And I am sure there are other knitting grandmas in Dropped and/or Twisted Stitches.

Are you looking forward to any new knitting- or gaming-related projects?

I had to miss this year's Sock Summit, but if I can go to the next one, I bet I will be able to hook up with some WoW people. I am also hoping that some WoW knitters in the LA area will read about the knitting grandma, and maybe we can get together.

You can reach this friendly knitting grandma as Mannixdr on Ravelry or in-game on Pointilliste.

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to an Olympic medalist and a quadriplegic raider. Know someone else we should feature? Email lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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