Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tea and Painkillers 

Last night I was planning to write a post about a felting experiment I did a few weeks back. Well, as my dad likes to say, If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Before I could write it, I went for a ride with Cobra and we ended up getting into a little motorcycle accident on the Rock Creek Parkway.

We are both fine.

We were both able to get up and walk away from the accident and got away from the whole thing relatively unscathed. Cobra has a hairline fracture on his arm near his wrist (which for him isn't a big deal, he's probably broken more bones than he hasn't in his time) and I pulled or bruised a muscle in my lower back and -sigh- right butt region, which is making my walking pretty slow. They're kind of complementary injuries, he'll do all the reaching and bending for me, I do the holding and smaller manuevering for him.

The worst part about this is that it has exhausted us both; we slept until almost 2PM today. Oh yeah, and the front end of his bike got knocked off and there may be other damage we couldn't see. He's figuring that all out. We were just so lucky with the whole thing, really.

And, of course, it reiterates some of the important motorcyle safety lessons we already know:
helmets, helmets, helmets: always wear one. I might not be typing this now if I didn't have one on. Other protective clothing, or at least long sleeves and pants should always be worn. Always wear proper, full coverage shoes or boots. My cheapy, fakey pleather boots probably helped keep my ankles intact. Most importantly, other drivers are fucking idiots, so always look out for them. Especially when they turn in front of you from the right lane. Ugh.

After the bike is fixed and we get some new gear, we will both ride again. It wasn't a pleasant experiencing, but I find myself singing Frank Sinatra: "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention."

Ironically, you may have noticed the new button on my sidebar marking me as an Extreme Knitter. This past week I put in an entry for this contest (hosted by Teri
) that featured me knitting on the back of a motorcycle (I was not doing this at the time of the accident, not do I ever - I'm not that stupid). (See how Cobra is trying to look so hard in that picture? It's all a put -on, we all know he's the King of Goof). Even if I hadn't entered the contest, I feel like this experience more than gives me the right to call myself an extreme knitter. I brushed myself off from the accident, walked away, and I'm still planning to go to Stitch n Bitch tonight! If that doesn't make me one hardcore knitter, I don't know what does.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

You got it, I got it, we all got it 

In addition to my Sockapal-2-za socks, some of my other knits were distributed to others recently. You may recall the pretty gold scarf I made for my mom a few months back. When I was visiting the ole parental homestead a few weekends back, I was able to capture a shot of her with it in its full glory.

Mom in a Scarf

This stunning accessory certainly highlights her Elvis impersonator suit, doesn't it?

You may also recall earlier in the summer that I was working on a secret project. Are you ready for the big reveal?

Gertie in a Scarf

The big secret was a multidirectional scarf made from Alchemy Reservoir yarn in colorway Breath of Fire that was a birthday present for my aunt. Here it is modeled by her dog/my ostensible cousin Gertrude. It turned out to be a really beautiful knit, I hope my aunt is able to make good use of it in the cold Chicago winters.

I was also lucky enough to receive some handknits this past week - my sockapal-2-za socks!

sock pal socks

See Them on my Feet!

Are they not positively stunning? They were made by a lovely woman named Jeanine who, despite her clear knitting skill, is unfortunately blogless. They're Broadripple socks made from trekking XXL yarn. They make me so happy with their lovely pastel colors and will keep me smiling even in the darkest of winter days. I really just want to wear them every day and just look and look at them. I've been carrying them around in my bag since I've received them in the mail and glance at them throughout the day (I know, totally nonsensical. It's too hot outside to wear wool socks and really, who uses logic when it come to beautiful handmade socks?). Thanks so much for these, Jeanine, and thank to Alison for organizing this whole crazy thing!

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As we're entering autumn and so many new patterns and yarns are coming out, it's hard not to have too many project options. I've come across a few sites lately, many from the lovely members of the DC Stitch n Bitch, that may provide a bit of inspiration to you if you're finding yourself in the middle of a dryspell.

Want to create a randomly striped item that doesn't look like crap? Check out this random stripe generator!

If you're into glittery eyelash yarn (and I kinda hope you're not, but nevertheless), get a free ball of Bernat Disco yarn.

Knitters in Cork have used satellites to create a knitted map art installation.

And finally, I had to buy some stamps for work and I was struck by these Rio Grande Blanket images. They may just be postage, but I think that diamond shape done in intrasia with a self-striping yarn would make a gorgeous sweater. I'm not usually a big fan of orange, but I the combination with those yellows is just beautiful. It's funny how a totally run of the mill act can bring on a great knitting idea. Keep your eyes and your mind open for them, all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Socker Mom 

Mostly, I've heard people mocking socker moms for their lame vehicles and whatnot. I won't deny that I've joined in on occasion. Well, my mocking days are over because I have now have becoome a socker mom and let me tell you, it is a busy, difficult life. As if one little progeny wasn't enough, it turns out I'm caring for twins!

My afternoon started when I went to pick them up after school. They were already very impatient when I got there, and were sliding around on this little hill, leaving them covered in grass stains.

school


These two are actually quite impressive athletes (I think itsports are a good outlet for their energy) but, unfortunately, the soccer season hasn't started yet. Much to their chagrin, I had to bring the twins to their least favorite after school activity - religious school.

religious school

They're being raised Unitarian. Despite the lively debate that was brewing between Jesus and Lord Krishna on the nature of the soul, Lilly was almost falling asleep.

After I picked them up from religious school, I could tell that the twins were antsy and cranky from having to sit still for so long. When they got home, these feelings erupted. Lilly got angry that Riley took one of her Yugioh cards and called him a stupid head. Riley tackled Lilly and started pulling her hair. I hate it when he does that.

fighting

After separating them, I punished them by putting them in their special time out chairs and put them in separate corners. After five minutes, they seemed to have calmed down sufficiently.

timeout

At this point, it was getting late in the evening and the twins were clearly agitated from hunger. I made them a healthy meal, but they really cannot eat without making a huge mess of themselves.

mealtime messy

So, naturally, I gave them their bath.

bath

After this long day, we were all very tired. So, with their favorite friend Betty Madagascar, I tucked them into bed, read them their favorite story ("Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing") and gratefully watched them go to sleep.

bedtime


I was so tired, I didn't even get a chance to knit before bed! Being a socker mom is really exhausting. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the free time that I'll have when I ship them off to their auntie's on the West Coast tomorrow for a little visit. Sometimes, during those little moments, I remember that the socks are worth it and that I'll miss the little buggers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Some Katrina Thoughts 

Are you oversaturated with this yet?

I feel like I am but at the same time, I keep finding that my thoughts and conversations keep returning to it.

Today, I went to the Census website and looked up some information about New Orleans. As they've finally started to point out in the news, the city is majority Black - 67.3%. The information that I was really looking for, however, is a bit farther down the page. Only 57.8% of the population was in the labor force. The per capita income was over $4,000 less than the national average. Most dramatic, 23.7% of families and 27.9% of individuals were beow the poverty line. I won't put up too many numbers but I will say that that's quite a bit higher than the national rate.

Looking at these statistics, I really feel that for every death that has resulted from this tragedy, the swirling mass of warm water was responsible, as was the incredible, absolute incompetence of our federal government. But povery and ignorance, they have a stake in it, too. They make it impossible for individuals to evacuate, even when officials say that it's mandatory. They make it an unthinkable choice to leave the only home one has ever known, containing the things that one has worked so hard to have.

Just like everyone else, I'm amazed at the amount that has been raised nationwide and by our knitting friends (over $65,000!!) and, of course, there are so many immediate needs that must be met. (I saw on the Ellen Show on Monday that if you donate through her site, the contribution will be match by Warner Brothers. I, however, was unable to find the link on there - anyone see it?) For the long term, when New Orleans is rebuilt and its citizens have returned or dispersed, I hope that just as buildings are re-constructed, efforts are made to lift all of its citizens out of poverty. This is the real hope for the city's longevity. As you're opening your heart and your wallet, remember there are so many others in every community across the country who face many daily struggles, so give them a bit to them if you can as well. My personal recommendation? My aunt's scholarship fund.

Remain grateful for all you have, folks, and don't forget those who were victims of other tragedies (whatever happened to all those left homeless by the tunami? Hurricane Andrew?). Remember that it's all connected. I've never been to New Orleans, so I'll continue to hope that I'll get there someday and see it in all its beauty.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Very Knitterly Weekend 

Of course, everyone goes in waves with their knitting. This past month, the heat and humidity has been a big deterrent for people to want to work on their projects. Even though much of this month has been absolutely, horrifically hot, I've been more connected with my knitting than I've felt in a while (perhaps it has something to do with the A/C Cobra brought me). This week, I've found myself in a bunch of knitterly situations.

It all kicked off on Thursday when I went to my first SnB in a long time and spent a solid two hours working on my sock. This time really paid off because the next night while watching the old Willy Wonka, I finished it!



IMG_1259

Marge disapproves of it but I think it's beautiful. And you can't even really say where I might have messed up the lace pattern. There are a few little mistakes holes unique design elements near the heel but a bit of blocking should fix it just fine. More amazingly, can you believe Cobra had never seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory before?

The next day, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting up with lovely Lauren and her best bud Becca. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died that day so you'll either have to check out the Lolly blog for some images or imagine it all in your mind. You already know what we look like, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Our first destination was Stitch DC, as Lauren had never been there before and wanted to check it out, especially when they were having a great end of summer sale. We each took some time to ponder our potential projects and appropriate yarns, and made some great purchases. Check out Lolly for her pretty blue yarn bargain! I’ve still been obsessed with making Bonne Marie's awesome Cutaway cardigan, so when I came across ten balls of Rowan Wool Cotton hiding in a sale basket, I couldn't resist.



IMG_1270

This color has an interesting brown undertone and looks chocolately in certain lights. It's a standout color on its own, but is dark and even a bit neutral enough to mix well with other shades. I'm so excited to make this and will swatch for it soon...very soon.

To round out our day, Lauren, Becca and I headed to RFD for a yummy dinner, which was topped off by a beer float for dessert. Ok, this probably sounds gross; if someone described it to me like that, as someone who hates beer, I'd be nauseated. The twist is that instead of using a typical beer, they use St. Louis Framboise, which tastes like a slightly malty raspberry cordial. It's delicious on its own and even better with vanilla ice cream. For our last hurrah, we headed up to the Warehouse Cafe to sit and knit. Yes, Lauren and I actually knit this time instead of intending to and just blabbing away the whole night instead. There was a punk show going on next door and the 16-year-old kids dressed in spikes reminded me of the good old days; they made Lauren want to tell them to get a job.

On Sunday, I took some time to try to untangle the two major yarn knots I have neglected. I made a decent amount of progress with the Tess' yarn but I'm still in a jam with the Harmony ladder yarn.



IMG_1266

Later, I headed back to the Warehouse for afternoon SnB, which I hadn't been to in a really long time. I had received a special request from a member to provide technical assistance with her Clapotis; since I've already been there, ripped that she thought I could be her knitting Yoda. Of course, it was nice as usual to be in the presence of a fun, opinionated crew.

The upshot of this long, fairly pictureless post? My knitting life has helped me to have a full life in this city right now. Over the past few years, I have gained many great friends just as a result of picking up the sticks and seeking others who do the same. Having that wonderfully full weekend followed by a week filled with good times with friends (including teaching one to knit) affirms that my life is indeed on the right track. It feels positively blissful and fills me with a sense of contentedness I didn't have even when I made the decision to return to this city after my India trip. Knitters, you've shown me that I made the right decision.