Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Holiday Denial Rant AKA is it really the most wonderful time of the year? 

I'm going to take a chance by posting a potentially selfish rant, but here goes. I'm feeling really cranky about "the holidays" this year. This is partially because of the timing, in that it's falling in the same time frame as I'm preparing to move and take a two month international trip (which, in an attempt to be organized, I made a list for the other day of things I need to do previous to my leaving. It has 25 things on it, and it doesn't include the actual packing and putting items into storage process. Is anyone interested in some holiday work as a personal assistant?). I'll be working probably until a week or so before I leave, so I don't have a bunch of time. I sure as hell don't have a lot of money, as I'm saving it for the traveling and for my return, when I will be unemployed. I'm at a decent point stresswise right now, but will soon only be able to function because of it. So why do I have to add to my platter of things by agonizing over whether my mom will like a damn purse shaped like a chickadee, or what to get my dad period, or which of my friends I'm close enough to that it merits gift giving, or if I have to get Cobra's aunt and uncle presents. Really, it seems to me that the commercialism of the holidays is just getting worse and worse and it just puts on all this pressure to guy the perfect gift. Why is this stressful?? I'm supposed to be giving a gift, it's supposed to be an inherently generous gesture!
I think this especially applies for us knitters. A few weeks ago, there started being a rash of posts on blogs about how quickly Christmas and Hanukkah are creeping up and oh shit we gotta get moving on knitting presents and oh my it snuck up on me again this year. At first, I thought, why are you stressing out so much about this? For me, knitting is MY hobby. Of course I make things for other people, I would get really bored just doing shit for myself all the time and feel that many of the people I know are worthy of some hand knit goodness. But that doesn't mean that there should be an expectation that any gift I give for any occasion will be a knit one. I tend to think that if your hobby is starting to stress you out, there's something wrong in the balance there. If your knit gift list is getting to be too long, DON'T KNIT YOUR BLOODY GIFTS. My intentions for this season were just to cruise along on my Grasshopper like nothing special was happening, but when I felt like I was running out of ideas for things to buy, I caved. Luckily, it's only four simple items e.g. my mom requested a big knit square that she could wear as sassy scarf. Yeah, I'll hook you up with that. If it becomes too overwhelming, I swear to all of you out there that I will just buy the damn things.
OK, this is the really tough part. I hope you won't judge me harshly for saying so, but I..Well..I get sick of all of the Christmas stuff. First of all, we've started using the generic term "the holidays" but really, it's referring to X-mas while the rest of us get some token crap here and there. And you have to admit it's become a little excessive. There were commercials for X-mas stuff this year starting before Halloween. In October!! Whenever I saw them, I would yell at the TV, "It's not even Thanksgiving yet!" It's more than just on TV with the commercials and special X-mas episodes, but with the songs on the radio, the decorations everywhere, the special merchandise. Don't get me wrong, I think that the individual traditions that people have for any holidays are beautiful. I love to hear stories about what my friends' rituals and routines are. That's totally understandable, because I love it when we do Hanukkah at my house and my parents and I always forget the third prayer we're supposed to say. It's just that the in-your-face-you-must-be-a-freak-if-you-don't-celebrate-Xmas feeling starts to get annoying after a while.
I warned you that I was cranky. Really, I'm not trying to offend anyone, I'm just trying to bring a different perspective. I have encountered people who are surprised that movie theaters are open on X-mas because they never think that anyone isn't celebrating. Well, for some people, it's just like any other day except crappier because nothing's open.

Despite that, I am very grateful to have many warm and wonderful people in my life that I will have the pleasure of sharing Thanksgiving with. I hope the same is true for you and I wish you the happiest and safest of holidays.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sash-y! 

Sorry for the lame title, I've never been good with coming up with them. Anywhooz, I've been happily making some progress on Grasshopper lately. The best part is that I finally finished the sash, which took me just short of forever. Paired with the right top, I think this could actually be an cool accessory. Definitely a different kind of fashion statement, similar to those knitted corsets. I have another view of it, but I'll warn you that it's not the most flattering shot. Indeed, it's a prime example as to why you shouldn't let your goofy boyfriend take your blog pictures. Here it is.

Please pardon the big-style hair, I went to Bang today to get my hair cut. My stylist does a great job, but generally when I go to salons, they end up blow-drying my hair. Even with a diffuser, when a hair dryer gets near my locks, they end up big. Today, I feel like a member of Twisted Sister. What we suffer through for beauty.

Here's some more bits of Grasshopper. This absolutely thrilling square of stockinette stitch is destined to be the back of my sweater.


I've also started on one of the sleeves. I'll be working on these puppies for a while but hopefully I can get it during Thanksgiving (can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? I want my damn year back).

I posted some tips for this sweater over at Craftster the other day and I thought I would share them all with you, lovely readers.
  • If you want a warmer sweater, you can use Brown Sheep cotton Fleece, which has the same gauge
  • Check your gauge. I had to go up to size 6's to get the gauge called for in the pattern.
  • Check your bust measurement and leave a few inches of ease when choosing your size. The knitalong hostess has now been stalled with her kyoto for a while because the front sections are way too small
  • I wanted my sweater to have a longer length, so I added 2 inches to the sash. We'll see how this turns out.
  • If you put the stripes into the sash portion, you need to use the contrast color for at least 2 rows or else it just ends up looking weird in the seed stitch pattern. Also when adding the stripe, you should do it after your first row in the pattern sequence (i.e. after your first row of k1p1) so it looks less funny.
  • Measure your fronts. Mine were a few inches short of what the pattern said they should be, so I worked some additional rows

    At Stitch n Bitch last Sunday, one of the members asked me if I was daunted by the small needles. I really hadn't thought about it because I've felt like I've been plugging along on this project, but she planted a seed in me that I needed quick fulfillment. I needed something big and quick and dirty...Looking at my stash, I realized that I really loved the Ziti yarn I got at Artfibers. It became apparent that I need to give it its own project to show its unique qualities, plus I just loved squishing it, it's so pleasing. So I zoomed on over to Marnie's and utilized her Nearly Gloves pattern. Not only were they a great low level introduction to lace patterns, but they were so quick. I finished them in one day and I've been wearing them everyday since, even when it's been too chilly for open fingers.

    A close up.
What you cannot see in the pic is that the yarn has a slight variation of color in it, with some brown and purple tones popping up. They also have a great shimmer in those portions in between the zig zags, it's subtle but adds to my childlike fascination with the texture and composition of this yarn.
For all of you out there freaking out about holiday gifts, these would make fantastic gifts. Indeed, the lovely individual who is Becky Fluffa's secret pal utilized it to with a great result in some pretty mohair. I also think they'd look great in some thick and thin. Overall, biggest props for this pattern!

India Trip Progress
Mostly, my accomplishments with this week have been in parting with my money. I paid my portion of the program fee and I'll be buying my airline ticket this week. Even though I've been saving my money all year to do this, it's still very difficult to pay such large amounts at once. Otherwise, I have decided that I will do the week long stopover in Paris and I updated my resume to send to the organization. Next, I need to turn in my visa application and fill out the many forms for my volunteer placement.

On a separate note, I've been emailing with some really awesome bloggers this week. I wanted to thank them for their encouragement, it really means a lot to a lowly newbie like me. Peace out, all.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Come One! Come All! 

You've come to the one, the only, oft-imitated, never duplicated Captain Pink Monkey's World of Knitting FREAKS!! Step right up to see the most ghoulish, the most hideous, the most imperfectly perfect scarf on which your eyes have ever feasted! Keep the little ones close, friends, and feel free to shield your eyes if it's too intense. Prepare yourself to step into the the weird, wild world that is the HCPFR Scarf!

First, you'll see every knitter's nightmare: the dropped stitch ladder! Oh, but this was no accident, oh no, it was used to excellent effect to create a look that's the ultimate in punk rock fashion.


Round the corner and you'll come to the ultimate in inconsistent stitches: the Randomly Placed Purl Patch! This small part creates subtle visual interest while remaining unthinkable to the average knitter.


Next, we come to the ultimate in loose cannon knitting: the Krazy Ass Kable! Just when you think this kable goes in one direction, it veers in the opposite direction, twisting and turning at will. Just as horrifying: it starts in the middle and goes for just a bit, show itself to be a true individual.

Parents, you may want to turn your children away on this racy bit. To add a bit of naughtiness to this already off-color piece, what was added to the end? Why, none other than a choice bit of the feminine form! Oh yes friends, and it is fully anatomically correct (though not fully functional). You can look but you can't touch!



And now, if you can bear to look, if you can handle this magnificent horror, here's 1/3 of the entire scarf, laying out and basking in its truly awful nature!

Now friends, prepare yourself for the most dastardly of images. We don't recommend this one for those with weak hearts. Here it is, the freakish, the unthinkable...
The HCPFR Scarf worn by the outlandish COBRA BOY!!!

Don't stand too close! He's dangerous and not afraid to strike or whip! That venom is deadly!!

So that you, my friends, can get a better look, we'll just give him this little shot to calm him down.

He's naught but a sad clown.

Friends, I hope you have enjoyed this evening's show. Be sure to stay tuned for more trips through the World of Knitting FREAKS!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Sigh 


Indeed. And the world hates us.

Check out this post from Girlreaction. It's the rant about this country's impending theocracy that was brewing in my mind and stated in a better way than I can right now. I really have no words.

One bright side: our military resources are already stretched to the limit, which means we can't invade anymore countries!

My advice to everyone that's pissed: take your feelings and turn them into something constructive. Pick the issue that Bush makes you angriest about, then go organize, volunteer, join an organization that works on that issue, do all you can to counteract what he could do. As someone who works at a nonprofit and sees the toll that this economy takes on our programming and funding, I can honestly say that giving money can be a great help. This is our only strength for the next four years, so please do something!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Color Me Neglectful 

.It has been a while indeed. Partially, this is because I spent a week in California last week for work. Yes, I got to return to San Francisco and drive around that beautiful land that I'd like to call home someday. But that's a little far off. While there, I stayed with a friend that I met on my trip to Israel this summer who lives in the Haight. The weather was mostly beautiful and, in the times that I wasn't driving, I got to see some of the unique features of that area. Over the weekend, my friends brought me to Muir Woods, where I saw these:

Yup, those are some big ass trees. Redwoods, namely, which I'd never seen before. The rain that was coming down added to the feeling of growth and nature doing its natural thing all around me.

We also went to a great Bolivian resturant one night called Pena Pachamama. In addition to some delicious eats, they had a flamenco group performing in the middle of the restaurant. The music was so passionate and beautiful and I was not disappointed by my first live flamenco dance perfomance.

Look at that intensity and that posture. I also found it very pleasing that they actually do say "ole!" while they are dancing.

Of course, as any good knitter would do, I also made a stop at the most fantastic Artfibers. Seriously, I walked into that store and immediately want to make sweet love to their happy little cones of yarn, even though it would have been difficult and a bit inappropriate. Their silks have the most amazing sheens and color combinations, and there was just an amazing range of textures. After careful, thoughtful deliberation (taking my strict budget into account), here's what I purchased:


They're all in a similar black and grey color family, so I'm thinking of combining them to make striped Paris Loop style capelet or some sort of wrap. I wanted to photograph these in natural light but I forgot that it's pitch f'ing black at 5:30 PM. I hate daylight savings time, I hate winter!!! I want to go back to California!!

Alright, moving on. I also took some time to work on Grasshopper and I'm happy to say that I'm almost done with the sash.


In the comments, Carolina asked what I think about the Cotton Classic yarn. I've seen some complaints about it beng uncomfortable on their hands but I haven't had that problem. I love the range of colors and stitch definition that the yarn has yielded and it's affordable to boot. If you want a lightweight sweater, I'd highly recommend it. I'm making my sash portion a bit longer than the pattern, so I've only got about two more inches to go and I'm very determined to finish this portion this week. Hopefully, it will happen but it's uncertain as I've been devoting much of my free time to plowing through this. Hey, there's knitting content in there! Hermione has started knitting hats and socks for the house elves in her continuing effort to liberate them. She occasionally uses magic to knit them up though, which is totally cheating.

I got home just in time for Halloween as I wanted to spend this most favorite of holidays with my love. Of course, I have the obligatory pictures of us all all decked out. Here's me as early Madonna and here's Cobra as Tyler Durden from Fight Club (you know that part where he pretends his boss beat him up? That's him).

India Trip Progress
This week, I made the deposit for my trip. Yes, it's actually going to happen now! This week, I have to do is pay the organization another couple thousand bucks (literally) and start looking for plane tickets. The issue that comes up there is should I take a week to stop over in Paris and visit my friend who's studying there for a semester. It seems to only add on another $200 so it totally seems worth it. I have to discuss this with said friend. Some of the home front matters have been taken care of as well, as I found someone to take my room in my apartment.
If you're interested in taking a similar trip, I'm going through an organization called Cross-Cultural Solution. I'll be going to their Rajgarh location. Check it out, you too can do some good in this crazy, messed-up world!

Speaking of which, tomorrow is the election that will have such a dramatic impact our place in the world. Please, don't forget to vote! That is, unless you're planning on voting for Bush. In that case, please forget to vote!