Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blocking is Magic

So many people are afraid or intimidated by blocking when it is one of the techniques in knitting that is so easy to do. I think that is because that we use a specialized term instead of actually saying what it is we are doing. Blocking is simply washing your knitting and then laying it out to dry.

I think the reason why people (especially beginners) are afraid of blocking is that it is an extra step and people talk about how hard it is to block out shawls and other lacy things. I think that it is always a good thing to wash your knitting before you wear it (the exception for me is socks, they go straight on the feet) so it isn't really an extra step. It gets rid of all that extra dirt and evens out the stitches so that everything looks nice and neat.

The second point about blocking out lace is unfounded as long as you know what you are doing. Blocking lace is really extremely easy and simple to do. To prove that point, I'm going to walk you through it step by step.

First, you want to fill up your sink with warm water. Since my mom and I got a bottle of Soak wool wash, I like to squirt a little of that into the sink after the water has finished running and swish it around. That way it doesn't create lots of suds and because Soak is a brand of non-rinse wool wash I don't have to soak the shawl twice. 

I then lay my project on top of the water like it shows in the picture above. Yes, just sit it on top of the water and don't press it down. When the shawl sinks to the bottom that means it is completely wet and the water has penetrated all of the fiber.

 Leave it there for about 15 minutes or so and then it will look something like the picture above. It is completely wet. At this stage the fabric is really, really stretchy so be careful lifting it out of the water. You don't want to accidentally drag your nice clean project all over the floor.

 I do squeeze as much water as I can out of the project over the sink. Then I take a couple of towels and wrap my project up in it. Then I stand on the towel bundle. I figure if I can apply so much force with my hands, imagine what gravity can do with all of my weight.

After this last squeeze the project is still damp, but it isn't dripping everywhere. That is when the "difficult part" of blocking lace comes in.

 My mom has a set of blocking wires, but I still have to go through and thread the wires through the garter stitch bumps of the boarder. That took around 45 minutes to do so on each side. The shawl was still damp enough to let me go ahead and pin out the points at each end to keep the ends nice and scalloped. I pinned out the points quite drastically, but you could also use more pins and shape the scallops into nice gentle curves.

This is where the magic happens. You basically pin it out to the shape you want it to be and then you let it dry. I did it on the kitchen table because it has a nice fan overhead that I switched on. It was dry when I went to check on it an hour later, but it might not have even taken that long to dry.

When it was dry I went ahead and unpinned everything. The result is a shawl that was as long and wide as I wanted it to be. The stitches look even, the eyelets are nicely spaced out and "opened up" so you can see the lace pattern easier. The scallops are nice and pointy. And it is nice, clean, and oh so soft!

I have to wait until tomorrow before I can send it out so my fiance can help me with some more pictures. Hopefully, my friend Rebecca loves it as much as I loved making it for her. Now that the weather is turning cooler it will be perfect for tossing around her shoulders or neck to chase away the chill of the evening.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Knitting Confessions #1

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of agreed upon rules and conventions. As you grow as a knitter, you find yourself breaking more and more of them. You have a choice to either decide not to care and brag about it or stress yourself out so much that knitting just isn't fun anymore and becomes a chore.

Thankfully, I'm part of the former and have decided to share my own knitting confessions about the conventions I break. I guess I was never good about keeping to the status quo.

Knitting Confession #1: I don't swatch in the round.

For some reason, the way I knit is very even no matter if I knit flat or knit in the round. Because I knit in the "throwing style" instead of continental, it means my tension on both of my knits and my pearls are very even. I don't row out on my pearl rows and I don't knit overly tight.

I discovered this when I was working on my fiance's pair of Library Socks. I had just received a couple of new pairs of socks needles from Knit Picks and noticed that I had ordered them in a half size and decided to take a break and swatch them. When I got 9 stitches per inch (SPI) on those needles, I took gauge on the socks and discovered that I was knitting them at 10 SPI. I was a little skeptical because it was a flat swatch vs a round swatch, so when I made my Juice Box Socks with the Knit Picks needles, I took the gauge on them as well. They were still 9 SPI.

This means that I just don't feel the need to swatch in the round. What's the point if I am one of the lucky ones who has a good tension that doesn't change if I knit flat or in the round? 

Knitting Confessions

A big thank you to Brandy from the Stitched Up in Toronto blog for starting this link up. I will be doing my list of knitting confessions on Mondays and I don't know how many I will do, but feel free to go over to her blog and join in on the fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles!

Monty & The KnotI've been having some issues with the knitting front today. I went to wind a couple more balls of yarn and I encountered an enormous tangle in the first ball of Felici. Luckily, I managed to save most of the yarn and only had to cut 1/8th of an inch off of the ball of yarn.

Though, if I didn't spend two hours unwinding the and untangling the knot myself, I would have sworn that Monty had jumped up and broken the yarn himself. I adjusted his eyes today and he sure looks devious enough right now to do it himself!

So, instead of spending more time winding yarn, I decided to take a break and bake a little bit. When I was on the Loopy Ewe blog earlier this week, I managed to find a recipe for cream cheese filled pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies. They looked so good that I had to try them myself! Of course, that isn't the only reason why I wanted to make the cookies. They happen to be filled on the inside and I've never made a cookie with a filling before or even had a cookie with a filling. The closest to that I have ever had was a thumbprint cookie and you can see the filling on top of that one.

The verdict for the cookies is: tasty, but far too challenging to make.

They are big fluffy cookies with the cream cheese filling inside them. And I do mean big! Even when I tried to make them smaller they were still large cookies that took up at least half of a dessert plate. They are so fluffy that it is like eating pumpkin bread instead of pumpkin cookies.

The cookies were fairly difficult to make. The dough was so sticky that it would stick to everything even if you did chill it in the fridge for an hour. It made it really hard to flatten into pancake shapes and put the filling in the cookies. It is even more difficult if you tend to run warm and you can't get your hands cooled down enough to handle the dough without it sticking to everything. And the amount of filling you had to put in was too small an amount to actually see or really taste when you ate them.

I really, really love the idea of these cookies, but I don't think the recipe and I agreed with each other. I think I might take this as inspiration and try to make a more user friendly recipe. I would totally save the base cookie of this recipe though and just make them drop cookies for a big fluffy pumpkin cookie. They are good, but they just aren't what I was looking for.

 And as a final note about the yarn tangle disaster: I did manage to do a decent Russian Join on the two broken ends and then finish winding it into a ball. I think Monty approves too!

Did a Russian Join on the ball and finally got it all wound up into a center pull. Of course, Monty just had to help!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just a Relaxing Day

Today ended up being a pretty relaxing day. I took my brother to a hair appointment and ended up getting a little trim and style myself. My old hair stylist got another line of work at a better place (go girl!), but that means that I have to get a new one. I tried her replacement today and she is so much younger and styles differently. I'm not sure if I like the back yet, but I love how she styled the front. I don't think I'm going back to long hair for a little while.

I just love the berries out of the pattern I'm knitting for mom's sock. I never thought that doing little fake yarn over cables would be so easy and addicting. It is a little like magic. Pull one stitch over two others and then make a yarn over in the next row and ta da! A magic little cable with a hole in it.

This week:

Reading: The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey. Finally started the book and it is interesting. I'm reserving judgement until I read a few more chapters.

Watching: Orange is the New Black. Whoever knew that prison drama would be this interesting? Only one more episode left in the season and I am interested to see how this season will end. Then I'll have to decide if I want to start something different or just focus on reading for a little while.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fit, Ease, & Socks

I never used to care about my own personal gauge when I was knitting. I just followed the pattern with the needles called for or one size up when it came to socks. I made my socks fit and didn't care if they were too tight or anything. But something changed when I started learning more about my knitting and gauge and fit.

My current goal has been to get the perfect pair of socks. It even led me down the road to taking the gauge of all of my sock needles so I know exactly how I knit. The last two pairs of socks I knit fit well, but were a little slouchy and slipped off easily whenever I would take off my shoes. It was frustrating going from knitting socks that mostly fit but were a little loose around the ankle or too tight around the toes to socks that wouldn't stay on my foot when I wasn't wearing shoes.

That's when I starting reading up about ease.

The easiest way to describe ease is the space between your skin and your clothing. Imagine a loose fitting t-shirt. That item would have positive ease so that you can move around easily. Now, imagine a clingy slinky little black dress. That item would have zero ease. Now, imagine a simple ribbed stocking cap that you would wear in the winter. That item has negative ease and clings to you so that the hat won't fall off, but still fits.

Socks should have negative ease so that it clings to your foot and stays there so you can take off your shoes without your socks falling off. Reading around the Socks Knitters Anonymous (SKA) group, a lot of people like their socks with about 10-15% negative ease. That will make them small enough to cling, but big enough to stretch to fit your foot.

Yarn Over Cable Pattern by Charlene Schurch
So, what does that mean about the christmas socks that I'm knitting for my mom? Simply put, I have to do some math, but (luckily) the math is relatively easy thanks to the handy charts in Sensational Knitted Socks.

Her shoe size is seven which means that her leg will be about 8 1/8 inches around. With the five stitch pattern I'm doing with my personal gauge being 9 stitches per inch, that means I would have to cast on 70 stitches for a sock with zero ease. That means it would be a slouchy sock.

At 10% negative ease I would have to cast on  63 stitches. (10% of 70 is 7)
At 15% negative ease I would have to cast on 60 stitches. (15% of 70 is 10.5 round down to 10)

This means my goal cast-on number would be anywhere between 60-63 stitches. With the pattern that I'm using, sixty stitches turned out to be the perfect cast on number. This means that I should be knitting a sock that will fit mom's foot perfectly and not be too snug or too loose. But because this is a gift, I won't know for sure until Christmas day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ninety Days

I know you don't want to think about it, I know you don't want to hear about it, and I know that it is far too early to even start talking about Christmas, but knitters everywhere have to remember that Christmas is only ninety days away. This is the first year that I am really counting down the days until the big gift giving holiday of the year because it is the first time that I am only going to give handmade themed presents to my family this year. Of course, I am one of the lucky ones that my family doesn't read my blog so I can talk about my holiday knitting!

This year I am making my entire family (that is immediate family and my fiance) Christmas socks. No, they are not going to be all of the same pattern. That would just be too insane even for me and I would get really bored and stop knitting them. Instead, they are all going to have the same color palette but have different sock patterns. This way my family can't get them mixed up in the wash either.

Earlier in the year when Knit Picks announced that they were going to discontinue the Felici yarn line, I had a massive order that included ten skeins of Felici Jingle. I didn't think that I would like the color when I ordered it, but I did anyway because they were Christmas colors and perfect for gifts. It was a happy surprise when the yarn came in and the normal fire red, holly green, and snow white were instead replaced with a toned down rust red, forest green, and soft almost off white. This way they are nice winter themed socks at first glance instead of the obnoxious ugly Christmas holidays sweater tones that aren't really suitable for wear outside of the holidays.

The hardest part was actually planning the patterns that I wanted to use. Since Felici is a self-striping yarn it does play well with texure, but I also wanted to play with the stripe movement in some socks while still keeping the patterns simple and (hopefully) quick to make. Best of all, every single pattern I picked out are socks that I haven't made before, so there is no chance of me getting bored!

The line up is:
  1. Jaywalkers for Dad.
  2. Yarn Over Cable Socks for Mom. 
  3. Circle Socks for my brother Hunter.
  4. Vanilla Latte for Will (the fiance for any newer readers out there).
  5. And Hedera Socks for me.
Since my parents will be out of the house for a full week while they take their annual time-away-from-kids-empty-nesting trip, that means that I will have time to knit on their socks while they are away without them peeking. Between my work and looking after my brother to make sure he survives a week without the parents, I should have time to get at least one pair of socks done before they get back which will leave me just enough time to cast Will's socks on for my lounge around the family knitting project.

Are you doing any Christmas knitting this year?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Knitter turned Quilter: Measuring Hexipuffs

After you make a variety of hexagons (no matter if they are out of fabric or yarn), you start to wonder how many of these things that you will need. Blankets and quilts just don't spring to life after making a handful. They take hundreds of these things, but with the variables, it is hard to figure out what number to pick. Will making a blanket big enough to cover a queen sized bed take 300, 400, or 500 hexagons? Maybe more? What about a twin sized bed? Or maybe a decent sized lap blanket? After all, there are always bigger and smaller blankets to have and different  people like different sizes of blankets.

That is when I decided to turn to the quilting side of the internet. The clever quilters have been dealing with the age old debate of "how many do we need anyway?" for far longer than knitters. They deal with cutting out bits of fabric and putting them together all of the time. Of course, knitters to too, but there are far more square knitted blankets than there are hexagon shaped ones.

Since I am back at home now that my dog sitting days are over, I got a chance to measure my bed to see how big I would want it anyway. I am making a blanket and not a quilt so it doesn't have to be big enough to cover my bed and fold down over the sides. It just has to be big enough to cover the top of my queen sized mattress. That ends up being 60 inches wide and 80 inches long. A decent sized bed big enough for both me, my fiance, and my cat when she decides to sleep with us.

I found a spot on the internet called CD Designs that was made to help quilters figure out how many hexagons they would need for a quilt. After figuring out how they measured their hexagons, I broke out my handy measuring tape and one of my hexiflats to figure out how big I was making them anyway. Since they measure their hexagons by side, I did the same thing with my hexipuffs and it turns out that they are about one inch long on each side. That is probably why they are so adorable, because they are just big enough to fit into the palm of your hand. After entering in the numbers and hitting the button to let them crunch the numbers for me, it turns out that my goal hexiflat count will be a whopping 1,829 hexagons. They even calculated that I would need 52 half hexagons if I want to make the blanket completely square instead of wavy.

That is a massive amount of hexagons and I am very, very glad that I have a lot of leftover sock yarn along with a big bin of sock yarn that I can turn into socks and play with the leftovers with. I am also glad that I decided to make a complete leftover blanket instead of having a specific color scheme. This will definitely be a long term project.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sock Yarn Blanket vs Bee Keeper's Quilt

When I was still in high school, I stumbled upon the Shelly's Sock Yarn Blanket via the Yarn Harlot. I thought it was a thing of genius and beauty, but I didn't have any sock yarn at the time and the point of the blanket was to use up scraps. Being a baby knitter and a person determined to "follow directions exactly" I never made the blanket.

Skip ahead to now where the current viral blanket is the Bee Keeper's Quilt and the fact that I am actually making one to use up my sock yarn leftovers. Now, I love making these little hexipuffs and I'm not going to stop, but I have found that I have more leftovers than I thought with some yarns and I don't want to make thousands upon thousands of hexipuffs with some of those yarns.

Here lies the conundrum.

I am already making one scrap blanket, but I'm tired making hexipuffs in some colors. Those colors that I'm thinking of would not make good socks for scrappy monstersocks, but they might look fantastic in a garter stitch mitered square. But do I really need two long term blankets going on at one time made out of scrap sock yarn?

I don't see myself making anything else out of those yarns and I don't really want to just throw them away or donate them because of postage costs and the local places only want worsted weight yarn of a good quantity (aka not two partial balls of sock yarn).

But again, do I need two long term blanket projects?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Adventures in Dog Sitting

The days have slowly been getting darker earlier and the mornings are getting chillier, but I'm having a blast over here. Over the past week I have been dog sitting for a co-worker while she has been out with her husband on vacation. My dog died a little over a year ago, so it has been nice to spend time with a dog again. Especially a girl dog, because while I loved my dog, he was such a doggy dog dog instead of a little princess.

There are so many little things that you do while dog sitting that you don't notice at first. I have never really been a morning person, so imagine my surprise when I realized that I had been getting up early to go for walks. And not short little walks either, but a good medium length walk around their huge backyard and up and down the street. Not only were we getting up early, but I was enjoying it and I am starting to feel groggy when I let myself go back to sleep for "just thirty more minutes" on the days where I get to get up later. Oh my, I might be turning into a morning person over here.

Of course, there are also the little quirks that each dog has that are adorable. Daphne the Dog (aka the little princess) loves getting her belly rubbed and snuggling when it is time to go to bed. It is quite comforting at night when it starts getting a little chilly. I am also convinced that she thinks she is part cat. She is allowed to lounge on the furniture, but I have never seen a dog lay on the back of a couch like a cat would.

Since it is just the two of us during the day, there has been plenty of time to do what needs to get done and I still have plenty of time to play with my leftover yarn stash. Which means lots of hexipuffs until I get home to the rest of my yarn stash.

I have only managed to use up one ball of leftover yarn so far and that was one of my leftover balls of Knit Picks Felici in Spring Mix. I used the last bit of the dark green to embroider a little heart on one of the hexipuffs. I made it off center and I think it looks adorable! The puffs are not quite perfect yet, but they are almost there. I think I need to add one extra plain row and then they will be perfectly even on both sides.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shiver me Timbers, thar be Hexiflats Ahead!

Gather 'round the fire and grab a pint of ale as I tell ye all about the great white hexiflat. 'Twas only May when I first decided that I needed to make a Beekeeper's Quilt all for me wholesome. The puffs were too puffy for me taste an' I needed more of a blanket than a quilt. An' I had a leftover stash as big as Blackbeard's booty, I did!

But the puff was all wrong. Sure, it was cute, but cute wasn't goin' to cut it. The edges were all sloppy and loose. An' strugglin' with only three DPNs made my hands hurt worse than it did when lazy buccaneers earned their first peg leg. An' there was the lure of the great purple shawl (which I do proudly declare to be done with all but the blocking, which has to wait until I get back to port in me hometown) which made it impossible to even think about makin' another puff.

That's when I saw it. The great white hexiflat to end them all! It 'twas big an white with edges straight enough that you could use it to sharpen yer blade, but with a cast-on clever enough to hide any ridge with an equal neat and tidy bind off. Before I could sound the alarm to try to catch it, it dove off and escaped. But that hexiflat gave me hope to continue, and now my own puffs are almost as perfect as that great white hexiflat.

An' now, they be multiplyin'. So, have that be a lesson to ye all. Once you spot the great white hexiflat, ye will be drawn to making the perfect hexiflats forever!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day to ye all! Arrr!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Takeover: A Sims 4 Review

The Sims 4 has been out for about two weeks now and it has slowly taken over my free time.

If you have been following any news about The Sims 4 (TS4), then you will know that it has its fair share of controversy. Yes, it is a well known fact that there are no pools, toddlers, terrain manipulation tools, or create-a-style, but that doesn't make TS4 a bad game. What people need to remember is that TS4 wasn't made to be a clone of its predecessor TS3, so there will be different things that either got cut or survived the cut to make the entirety of the Sims game that we have now. But, I'm not here to lecture about what the game could have been or might have been. I'm here to share my take of the TS4 we have now as it stands currently and as a completely separate  Sims game.

Every Sims game does have three main features that make up the game: Create-A-Sim Mode, Build Mode/Buy Mode, and Live Mode. These are the tools that let you build the characters to live in your world, make the houses or lots for them to visit, and (most importantly) to watch your characters live, learn, grow old, and eventually die.


The Create-A-Sim mode (also known as CAS for short) is the part of the game that lets you create anybody you can think of. This time instead of having sliders to adjust how big your nose is or the shape of your jawbone, you can click on your sim and move their face around like putty. They also have pre-set face archetypes that let you start off with different face types. The face that you choose in the very beginning will help determine how your sim looks, so you can literally create anybody from real life in the sims and have their sim-self be convincing. Along with faces, you can also adjust their body types and make a curvy hourglass sim, a pear shaped sim, and every shape in between.

Genetics have also come back with a vengeance. No longer will you be guessing if the parents of the children are really their parents, or just a random sim generated by the game. The children look both youthful and like a convincing blend of their parents. In the picture above, you can clearly see that the child sim has the same jawline as his father, but his nose is slightly different (it matches the mother's nose perfectly). The features are more pronounced when they hit the teen age, but they are clearly visible in the child age. For those who love to play with one family generations down the family tree, genetics will be interesting for them to follow once again.

Build Mode/Buy Mode

If you can dream it, you can create it in TS4 with their improved build mode, up to a certain point. Yes, there are no pools or the ability to dig in and make basements at the moment, but those two features aren't the be-all, end-all of build mode. We can make houses up to three floors, add adjustable sized foundations after the fact, customizable roofs, adjustable wall heights, and (with a little patience) the ability to make sunken rooms to make living areas like the one you see in the picture. Even though I am not the best builder in the world, if I can make the picture above, then you can certainly. And for those that can't live without a big blue spot in the backyard, there is a fountain that you can make that looks just like a swimming pool. Your Sims just can't swim in it.

Build mode can be accessed at any time during your play, even on community lots. So you can have your Sims paint a picture and then send them to the art gallery. Then you can actually hang their picture up in the community lot because you aren't restricted from decorating community lots while playing a household.

There are some features in build mode that are lacking though. You can't change the colors of the plain inside doors event though there are a lot of door styles to choose from. It is hard to find a floor color that matches the sidewalks of some neighborhoods, so you are going to have to decide if you want to rely on terrain paints for your walkways or just ignore the fact that they don't match, and there are no small garden fences in the game yet. There is one smaller fence, but only certain styles of houses work well with wrought iron garden fences.

In buy mode, you can get everything your Sims could ever want ranging from toilets to kitchen cabinets. There is even a feature that lets you make custom rounded islands and different types of cabinets for your kitchen. This would be for the advanced interior designer in you, so the ability to add these things is a little hidden. You have to turn off the auto-counters and auto-cabinets in order to find all of the shapes, but I think that it is worth learning how everything goes together so you have more freedom to create exactly what you want.

The lack of Create-A-Style means that you are stuck with the pre-set colors again, but I have found that everything goes together really well if you are patient enough to match your colors and find the furniture sets that are meant to go together. But you won't find yourself lacking choices. There are a total of five different computers available right off of the bat and almost every item in the game has that range of choice.

The downside to buy mode is that there are items shown to you that are locked. They are the career reward items that you can unlock during gameplay and there is currently no official cheat to unlock them. So, if you just want to build and decorate, you will have to find a mod that unlocks these rewards for you.

Overall, I think build mode and buy mode makes it easy for the average builder to make and design impressive looking lots even if they don't have a lot of time. It does have a learning curve for everybody, so don't get frustrated if it is challenging at the beginning. But the ability to move around rooms on the fly, adjust the roof heights and shapes, and adding roof details like chimneys independent of fireplaces make building fun for the average builder while still being able to create amazing lots for the more experienced builder. Only your creativity restricts you in this area of the game.

Live Mode

Live Mode should be the easiest thing to describe, but it is actually the hardest to wrap your minds around because of the way the Sims act now. Until you experience it, it sounds cheesy to say that the Sims have emotions now because (to the average player) the Sims have always reacted to stuff. They cried when somebody died and got angry when somebody cheated on them. But it hasn't really had an impact on the game the way they do now. Sure, the player might have thought they did, but they really haven't and it is really difficult to explain why or how to somebody who just hasn't experienced it before.

So instead of trying to explain it, I'll take you through the life of a sim to explain the gameplay. Meet Alice Silverdust of my Silverdust Family Legacy. She is a blue sim with a distinctive slightly-eggagerated hourglass shaped figure. Her three traits are snob, family oriented, and bookworm. Her aspiration is family with a focus on seeing a growing family lineage. Her bonus trait lets her grow her relationship with her family quickly to help maintain a strong family tie. Her traits determine how she acts, the skills that she learns throughout her lifetime determine her interests, and even the career that she chooses plays a role in her interests as well.

Before she started her family, her family oriented trait had no effect on her at all. She was perfectly content to let me take her to the gym to run on a treadmill (upping her fitness skill and keeping her trim), watch the cooking channel (upping her cooking skill and raising fun), and talk to various sims around her (raising her social bar). The fact that she was able to gain two skills at once while still being able to grow a relationship with another person is something that really shines in the game. And she was able to work out for a longer period of time because she was doing all of this at once.

After she started her family, she had to be around them for at least an hour a day or else she would get a "missing family" sad moodlet. If she didn't have any other moodlet, this would make her get into an overall sad emotion. She could still earn skills, but they didn't grow very fast and she would be more likely to mope around. But, she was almost always happy because she was around her family all of the time. Her snob trait didn't really have much of an effect on her that I could see since they didn't have much in the way of entertainment and I simply didn't focus on it. Her last trait bookworm was invaluable to her career. Since she could analyze books for fun they also inspired her which also helped her grow her music career faster.

Her children were another story. Her daughter was the most like her so she was fairly easy to keep happy. One of her sons turned out to be hot-headed and mean so he takes pleasure out of being mean to other sims as well as being angry most of the time. Her other son was a slob, but also a perfectionist, so he gets really sad whenever he tries to paint, write a book, or cook because they aren't high quality thanks to his low skill levels. 

The only other big thing that you should know about live mode is that while babies are adorable, there isn't much to do with them. They are stuck to a cradle and go to an automatic daycare when both parents work. Alice's family oriented trait allowed her to grow a high relationship with her children when they were babies through playing with them and she often got "whims" to interact with them while they were babies. But don't expect them to be anything mind blowing at the moment. They are really easy to take care of though as long as you show them love and care.


Taking everything into account, I think TS4 is a wonderful step in the right direction. Yes, there are loading screens to get from place to place instead of a completely open world in TS3, but the Sims themselves are more lifelike and just more fun to play. There are tons of goals in the game for you to do if you have a hard time deciding what you want your Sims to do, but if you are somebody who just wants your Sims to do their own thing, there is nothing in the game that stops you from doing so.

If you have the money to spare and are too impatient to wait for a nice sale, TS4 is a really fun game to pick up and play. You will find yourself getting more attached to this generation of Sims and finding yourself amazed by how beautiful and detailed all of the normal everyday items look. There is just so much to do and there is so many little differences in TS4 that I am sure that I forgot to discuss some things. But I count that as a plus because it is the overall experience that you want to be good and that is exactly what you get from TS4. A good experience.

The only downside of the TS4 world is that TS3 exists. So if the lack of a completely open game kills the series for you, then nobody is forcing you to go onto the next generation. But if you are skeptical, wait for an expansion pack or two and see if there will be anything that will catch your eye in the future.

I will be sticking with the series because I find it really fun to play and I hope to see good things from it in the future. It just needs to learn how to share time with my other hobbies as well.

Picture Disclaimer: All pictures used in this blog post were shot in TS4 by MegWesley and uploaded unedited by MegWesley.