Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Not so much ironic, more on the funny side 

Before I mention anything else, especially related to India, I would like to urge you to go to this site to see a variety of organizations to which you can give for disaster relief. The death toll for this unbelievable tragedy is now at 56,000. To give you a sense of scale, thats over 18 times the number of people who perished in the 9/11 attacks.

As of now, my trip is still on because the area that I'm going to is in the way north part of the country. After much anticipation and wondering, I finally received my volunteer placement over the weekend. I'll be working in a local women's center teaching. No, not teaching English or computers or hygiene. I'll be teaching KNITTING AND SEWING. I'm traveling half way around the world to teach the hobby that I sit on my couch and do every night. I just think about it and laugh and think how it's good I've given myself so much time to practice this year. I'm a little sad that I'm not going to work in reproductive health but apparantly this is what they need me for. Truly, I think there will be no better medium for to bond with these women and find some common ground. This will also be a great opportunity to gain a new perspective on this craft, which will serve as an income generating activity that could improve their quality of life. Ha, but I'm going to India to teach knitting!
**Edited to add: The center where I'll be teaching requested that I bring any supplies that would be helpful. If you're in the DC area or can mail me stuff really, really quickly and you have any supplies that you would like to donate, please email me at the address in the sidebar. **

Otherwise, I'm feeling a bit stressed from all of my preparations. The Christmas weekend, however, was a nice respite. I tagged along with Cobra to his mom's house on X-mas eve and his aunt's on X-mas day. Man, these women can cook like none other. Plus, I got to have some quality time with Cobra's lovely fam, who are just so welcoming, warm and accepting. Both nights after the family time, we headed out to the Black Cat and stayed until closing time. Nothing to top off long hours of family time than a rock n roll bar. And it was there that I realized that all of the men in his family are hot. Individually, I'd of course recognized that they're all good looking, but, man, I was just overwhelmed by the force of their good lookingness. And I hadn't even been drinking! Maybe I'll get a good pic to put up one day so that you too can swoon. It was a fun weekend but deep down, I still kinda miss my Jew x-mas tradition of movies and chinese food. To somewhat make up for it, we went to see The Life Aquatic on Sunday, which was lovely in its Wes Anderson sad-funniness.

Anywhooz, as that side of Cobra's family is Bolivian, they do their gift-giving on X-mas eve. I made this scarf for Cobra's awesome mom. She loved its softness and said it was "very special."

It's Patons Divine in Denim Storm, knit up in Feather and Fan lace. Click here for the close-up.

I should have some exciting knits to show off later this week. Stay tuned and be less stressed than I am!

Oh yeah, and send good vibes out to my brother. He got engaged on Sunday! And the sweetest part? His mother-in-law to be is a knitter AND works at a yarn store. Aw yeah.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Whoa 

I just got off the phone with the woman from the organization with which I'm volunteering. Turns out that I am the only volunteer going to my location.

The. Only. Volunteer.

I'll have the staff members at home-base to hang out with and the folks I'm volunteering with, so I won't be alone per se. Additionally, all of the programming will be tailored just to me - language classes, yoga, cooking, cultural and social issues. I will be the only American in the area. For four weeks. Hhmm. If I really wanted more people to hang out with, I could change to be in Delhi. As far as location goes, I'd much prefer to be in Rajgarh and it would result in much more culturally pure experience. I have about a week to change my mind. Right now, all I can say is "huh."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Country Road, Take Me Home 

F'ing f. F'ing Blogger ate the post I've been working on all weekend. I knew I should've started writing them in word. So this post will only feature the gist of the previous one.

With me leaving in less than three weeks and generally running around like a crazy woman while dealing with the daily grind plus all of my trip preparations, time is at a premium. So in lieu of giving gifts to each other, Cobra and I decided to pool our cash and go away to a quaint little country cabin last weekend. Having time together just to relax is much more valuable to me right now than any particular object. On Saturday, after running around to get all of the necessary supplies (because they don't carry Tofurkey at no country Wal-Mart), we headed off to Luray, right in the Shenandoah valley. By the time we turned onto Power Dam Road, it was dark and we couldn't make out our surrondings. For the two city dwellers, it was a novelty in and of itself to be in a place with more than 3 rooms in one building by ourselves.

When we got up in the monring, we looked outside and it looked like this:




Our neighbors were goats, dogs and sheep. Cobra and I had fun walking and driving in the mountains, eating, sitting by the fireplace and shopping at antiques stores. We also enjoyed using this classy thing:


Whirly jets are fun. Here's some of the stuff I bought:


400 yards of wool plus an unfinished tapestry I got for $5. In the front, antique buttons, a few choices from the many that were there in the huge antique emporium. Also, some bamboo DPNs and Socka yarn.

Why new sock yarn when I shouldn't be spending any money?

I decided that sock will be my traveling in India project! Small, portable, not as big a deal if they get a bit dirty, will learn me some new skills. The big question: how many pairs can I make in two months? How much yarn should I buy before I leave?

India progress continues, big important things done, going to reserve a storage space this week and find out volunteer placement next week.

I'm going to try not to get bogged down in craziness this week, same to you.

Oh year, and after making a nefarious association between Lauren and Ralph Nader? I saw them both up close and personal on Friday. Very strange.

Friday, December 10, 2004

My Proteges 

My office has become a very knitterly place over the past few months. It all started waaaay back in February or March when I would bring in my current projects to work on during lunch or while making phone calls to our members when we had this stupid "Thank You Calls" program going on. Catherine, my co-worker who I share an office with, was very intrigued so I thought I would teach her when we were camped out in the cafeteria of one of the House office buildings all day. I brought some needles and yarn in for her to try and very quickly, she had it! She worked on her little practice piece for a few weeks but didn't do much for a while because she didn't have supplies.

Fast-forward to September and I decided to redistribute a few balls from my stash to her along with some fun Kool-Aid dyed wool and a pair of needles. She immediately starts on her first garter stitch scarf, remembers right away how to do the stitches and just kicks it out like a champ. Now, she's a very - eh - particular person so she would get very concerned about little fiddly things (small but very important, right Catherine?) but it came out wonderfully. She was then inspired to make hats for all of her little cousins/nieces/nephews so after she procured some goods at Knit Happens I taught her to increase, gave her my favorite Craftster hat pattern and she was on her way. Despite some slightly traumatic incidents, including having to rip back about 4 rows when she had almost completed her first hat and some mattress stitch mishaps, she's been cranking them out and they are soooo cute. So, knitting world, meet Catherine and a baby hat!


I believe the yarn is some Jaeger baby yarn. She's redoing this one in a different pattern.


Here she is checking the size of another hat. It fits her so it should be good for a five year old, right? I thought so. One last thing about Catherine: she's the tightest knitter I've EVER seen. To the point where strangers on the Metro point it out to her. Over Thanksgiving, she broke her plastic circular needles while knitting.

Around this time, Meagan, who's an experienced crocheter and had some basic knitting knowledge, wanted to expand her skills. She practiced the knit stitch, got that done pretty well, but was having trouble purling. We spent lunch one day working on it and it was a bit of a challenge. I had trouble adequately explaining how to do it and my demonstrations weren't entirely helpful. She started getting really frustrated and declared that she would never be able to purl. Five minutes later, she was doing it like a pro. Since then, she's been working on this gift set for her boyfriend's new niece. It's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.



Well, having three women who would come into lunch everyday with out projects inspired some of our other coworkers. So a few months back, with a little free lunch bribe, Catherine and I taught three of our other colleagues with their newly procured supplies.

As you can imagine, this makes the office an even more fun place than it already was. In between talking about the importance of family planning, our plans for our activists for next year, we also talk about fibers and techniques. It's the perfect combination of my interests! Although I've felt some frustrations with this job, as most people tend to at various points, I'm starting to feel very sad about leaving. It's a really great environment and the friends I've made there have been a great support for me in addition to being great fun. It's going to be hard not seeing them everyday (since of course, we hang out on weekends, too), especially since Meagan is moving to Norfolk at the end of the month. This little history might not be interesting to everyone, but it's my tribute to some people who are dear to me. I'll be thinking of you guys when I'm in India and I'll miss you lots!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Poor Little Sheepy... 


Click here to see the transformation...

Did anyone else feel a little guilty about that cute little sheep getting sheared in the short film before The Incredibles?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Guess who I saw today... 

Go ahead, take a little guess. It won't hurt now, will it?

No, it wasn't Ralph Nader, although I see him from time to time as his office is below mine.

No, it wasn't Dick Cheney either, although I saw him in his motorcade last week and really regretted not giving some sort of gesture.

It was a certain someone who just started working right around the corner from my office. A certain very cute blonde from Maryland...

Why, it was none other than Ms. Lolly Lauren! As I said, she works about 3 blocks from me now so we finally got together for a lovely lunch date. We just had such a pleasant time chatting, chatting, chatting -to the point where it distracted us while we were walking to get our burritos, going through the line, and eating! Strangely, we ended up touching on religion and politics, those big no-nos, but barely mentioned knitting. That's ok though because it means that we'll have lots of ground to cover in the future. If I'm lucky, she'll have her schoolwork done so that we can go see Debbie Stoller at Politics and Prose tomorrow. I'll probably go either way but it would make me extra happy if she joins me. As if you couldn't tell from her blog, she rocks. Period.

Like I said in my rant last time, I too have fallen prey to making some knitted gifts. Since the intended recipients don't even know this little corner of the internet exists, I'm glad to show them to you. First is the neck scarf I'm making for my mama.

Believe it or not, this is Lion Bran. Looks pretty nice, eh? I like the shimmer. It's Imagine, which is a fairly new ribbon yarn of theirs. The big downside to this yarn is that the transitions between the colors are very sloppy and there are drips of the dyes onto the opposing color. You can't really see that when it's knit up, however.

These are 2 needle mittens I'm making for my dad. After a recent fraternity reunion, he's had a big resurgence of his Sparten spirit and specifically requested items not only in their colors but also with the Sparten on them. Cobra drew up a fantastic chart which turned out looking pretty good in my opinion. Here's the problem. See that ribbing on the bottom? Well, I have trouble getting it around my little wrist. It's pretty close to fitting all the way around Cobra's wrist. So I'm torn: do I finish it, block the HELL out of it, see if it fits, then try the other one, or just give up on it and save it for another occasion? I'm leaning towards the latter, as it's starting to cross that line into too much of a hassle, but it looks good. Oy. Please offer opinions....(I'm really thinking of going and getting a DVD instead here, folks).

Of course, this is my little neglected sleeve for Grasshopper. I've worked on it a tad but you know how personal projects go during this time of year. I want to finish this baby, though, perhaps another reason why the mitten may be put aside...hhhmmm

A quick note that I would have posted earlier this week but over Thanksgiving, my friends introduced me to Twin Peaks, which I was too young to enjoy the first time around. Well, I'm into it, HC. My office closed early on Monday because the power went out (hotness), so I went to rent the last two episodes of the first season. Oh snap, that shit is good. The second season appears to be available to rent at the local indie video store, so that will be 22 episodes of deeply creepy goodness. Nice to find another obsession to add to the ever growing list.