Sometimes I have a hard time finding really good gifts for Matt, but this past Christmas I was excited about a chess set I found. It was from the Museum of Modern Art's online store. The one I wanted to get him was $225, but I ended up getting one deigned by Lanier Graham in 1966. It was much more affordable at only $60, and I have decided it is actually much cooler.
(Image from www.momastore.org)
The pieces are designed to "reflect their relative importance and how they move across the board. The mass of each piece indicates its level of influence, while the form of each piece reflects its range of mobility." As soon as I read about its design, I knew my husband would appreciate how the design fits the function.
The only problem with my gift selection is that it didn't come with a chessboard. Now, the real travesty here is that someone would sell a chess set without a board. Why? I just don't understand. But I wanted to get him this chess set so badly I knew I would have to just make other arrangements for a board. I started looking online at wooden chessboards, and all the ones I saw were either cheap and ugly, came with a chess set (duh) or super expensive.
So, I put on my creative thinking cap and quickly realized that I could make my own chessboard! I did some unsuccessful searching online for a pattern before I remembered seeing one in a knitting book I have called Weekend Knitting. As an aside, let me mention that this is the first knitting book I ever bought. I purchased it when I was a sophomore in college and had just started knitting scarves. I fell in love with the design of the book and the pictures – for lack of a better explanation, looking at it made me happy. Of course, I couldn't actually knit a thing in it (although I sure did try!) but I kept it around and now that I am a much better knitter, it has come in handy several times.
Pattern and yarn (Patons Classic Wool) in hand, with 24 days until Christmas I decided to start a new knitting project. That I could never knit around my husband. That was boring stockinette. That took forever. Sometimes I think us knitters are crazy, but I love it!
About 2 weeks into the project, this is all I had finished. So I kicked it into high gear, and got it done just in time for Christmas (except for blocking!) Oh, and did I mention that the pattern called for a crochet border? So I also had to teach myself to crochet. You know, no biggie.
The only drawback about this chess set is that the woods used to make them (cherry and maple) are very similar in color and therefore hard to differentiate. I think we've decided a quick stain on one of them will help with that.
Ravelry notes on chessboard here.