Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ramblin' 

I don't have many exciting pictures of knitting progress to show you, so instead I'll distract you with pictures of dogs.

Smokey

This is Smokey, Cobra's brother's dog. When he was born, they originally named him Sinatra - Old Blue Eyes. He may look hard but he's actually a really loving dog. That is, unless you try to mess with Cobra's mom. Then, you'd better watch out, cuz you're going to get fucked up.

lilystealstoothbrush

This is Cobra's roommate's dog, Lily. Here you see her shortly after she stole my toothbrush, which I found really, really funny. She is the strangest dog I've ever encountered and not just because she stole my toothbrush.

Otherwise, I've made some decent headway into the second Retro Rib sock. Do you think I'll have enough yarn left to finish it?

yarnface

Clearly, I'm going to have a lot of this left when I finish the project. Here's the issue: I'm not actually a huge fan of the color. I really wouldn't want to wear anything in it. So, the leftovers are destined for some gift knitting. Maybe some socks from my dad since he liked the one I was making in this when I showed it to him. Lord knows he deserves some socks after the year he had. If I decide to make it, it surely won't be until later into next year.

Similarly sock related, I went to Stitch DC on Sunday and bought two little circulars to try socks that way. I looked around online and found some pretty good directions on how to do it and, frankly, it doesn't seem hard at all. Probably the last time I looked at the directions was before I'd even made socks and found the whole process intimidating. Now, I'm somewhat convinced I'm going to be able to whip them out in mere hours. I'm sure once I actually try it, my expectations will return to earthly proportions.

Speaking of expectations, as the year is now drawing to a close (holy fuck, how is tomorrow December?!?!), I'm also starting to think about projects I'd like to make in the coming year. I've been looking through some familiar sources lately, finding different patterns that I like and I'm trying to draw them together so I can at least have them all in one place; there's also a few yarns that I've been obsessed with setting a project for.

tessballs

I've also finished reballing my Tess' yarn from my failed Clapotis attempt. The process of winding it, touching it, looking at the colors gave me an awesome idea for a sweater with it...a sweater of my own design. So, in the next few weeks, I'm going to crib off of Julia and make a 2006 knitting resolutions/aspirations list - lay out some definite projects to make, definite yarns to use, make myself actually complete a design. Anyone care to join me? Let us know in the comments, we can see if we live up to our own aspirations.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Lovely Time 

Nothing better than blogging while lying on a couch with a belly fully of tofurkey, sweet potats, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Cobra and I had our first Thanxgiving together this year and spent it with his mom (AMAZING cook) and family. It was comfortable in its uneventfulness, although I'm pretty bitter about having to work tomorrow. There's definitely a lot to be thankful for this year though, it was nice to have a day to lounge and take that thought in.

Of course, I'm thankful for my friends including those I've made through this little enterprise. I was lucky enough to be able to get together with my buddy Lolly and her hubster Kris (or as I like to call him, the K-man) this past Saturday.

lolandkman

We are slick city folks riding in taxi cabs.

We ate some yummy Ethipoian food (which I guess is becoming a tradition for us when we get together) then headed downtown for a very special show: a lecture by This American Life host Ira Glass!

For those unfamiliar, This American Life is a radio show on NPR that uses fiction and nonfiction stories to explore a particular theme every week. The stories run the gamut from hilariously funny to tearjearkingly sad. No matter what the topic, most times I listen to the show, I have some thought or story introduced by the show to share. I probably started listening to the show in 1998-ish on WYEP in Pittsburgh, and I've made listening to it on Saturday afternoons a priority ever since.

The live show used some of the elements of the show, including well-placed music and quotes from radio stories, to talk about the heart of storytelling in their show, the state of current journalism, FCC restrictions and how a show gets put together each other. It was hilarious and thought provoking. Plus, I loved finally being able to spend some quality time with the ultra-busy Lolly. I hope that next time I can see her Klaaralund and tough the Silk Garden, if she lets me.

As for my knitting, as I alluded last time, I started a new project with my new handspun: the Valentine's mitten set from Stitch n Bitch Nation.

1mitten

They're awesome because the top is a flap, so I can still use my fingers when I need to.

wematch

The sweet part is when I pull the flap back, Cobra and I match. Two thumbs up, hehe. I shouldn't laugh at his misfortune, that's his hard cast from the accident and he still has to have it on for quite a few more weeks. It's not easy having your thumb immobilized but he's coped extremely well.

To help keep his spirits up, I finished his first Retro Rib sock.

1cobrasock

He put it on and said,"it's like the perfect sock." Friend, it's not like the perfect sock, it IS the perfect sock. You'd better recognize.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hooray for Goodness! 

Thank you so much for your good wishes and thoughts about my dad. The good thing is, all of the good thoughts worked! He came through the surgery with all of the best possible outcomes. He even did so well, they discharged him from the hospital in half the time that he was expected to stay! I really have to say that I didn’t realize how worried I was about the surgery until the nurse came out and said that everything was going well. I felt like I could really breathe again for the first time in weeks. It’s cliché, but I literally felt a weight off my shoulders. I feel really good, almost back to normal. And my dad is on his way to being an amazing cancer survivor.

In other good news, while hanging out at the hospital, I finally finished my Cutaway!

IMG_1657

I also like to wear it closed, especially on days when my hair looks really bad

Check out the back...and my bootay!

Cutaway Cardigan
ETA: The pattern is from ChicKnits.com, you can get it here.
Rowan Wool Cotton, Colorway Gypsy
Size 5 and 7 Needles

You may recall that the sleeves were too long and I needed to reknit the bottom ribbing. Since I needed to go back about 4 ½ inches on the sleeves, I ended up just lobbing about 2 inches off the bottom with scissors (yikes, that was scary), ripping from there and then reknitting. It actually saved me from a bit of a headache, but I wouldn’t recommend it for shorter amounts.

Overall, I wouldn’t mind it if the sweater had been a bit longer and fell more at my hips but otherwise, I think it turned out very well. The fiber combo (half cotton, half merino) makes it a nice layering weight and the lovely yarn made my stitches look very lovely and even. I’ve already gotten many compliments on this sweater and the ones from my fellow SnB’ers felt particularly good, as they knew what was involved in making it. It was a hassle in the end, but I feel that by making myself figure out the damn math for the sleeve caps and fix the length, it helped me become a more detail-oriented knitter. I’m so glad I stuck it out!

When I was in Pittsburgh, I celebrated my dad’s recovery as any good knitter would: by checking out the local yarn store scene. I was only able to quickly breeze through the new Knit 1 store, but it looked like it had the staple yarns that should be available in every city, including Cascade, Blue Sky Alpacas, and Rowan (can you believe Rowan wasn’t available there before this store opened??). While at Pittsburgh Knit and Bead, I did pick up a few goodies.

pghstash

At left, Noro Gisha #101 on sale, baby! That will probably be for a scarf because I don’t know what else two skeins of ribbon yarn can be.

At right, one of the coolest yarns I’ve ever seen – Skacel Cherio. As you can see, there are little flowers and leaves printed right on the yarn! Very innovative, it’s surprising no one has thought of this before. It’s a pretty stiff yarn, so it will certainly become some sort of accessory.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I made some impulse buys on handpaintedyarn.com before I left for my trip that arrived this past week.

IMG_1660

Three skeins of Novelty Boutone in color Pocitos, intended to be my second attempt at Clapotis. Next to it, two skeins of the handspun bulky (which is really more of a heavy worsted weight) in Scarlet Aqua. It is a totally soft, luscious, airy yarn. I love it so much, I cuddle with it every once in a while, and sometimes put it over my head. Yup, I said it, whatcha gonna do about it?

Perhaps this loveliness was so irresistible that I already started a project with it. Perhaps…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Never Ending Cardi 

Do you ever have those moments when you feel like you've committed some knitting sin that has thrown off your whole karma? Whether you have one simple project or many getting attention, they all seem to have some flaw. That's how I've been feeling lately, as none of my projects seem to be going quite right.

As you can see from the title, even though it only needed a few inches ripped out and one inch reknit in the sleeves, my Cutaway is still decidedly not finished. This is because ripping from a cast-on edge is not easy like ripping from the bound-off side is. In fact, it's very much uneasy. Particularly with ribbing. When I brought up my difficulty at last Thursday's Stitch N Bitch, one of the members said something about needing to cut my knitting when ripping from the beginning edge. Not wanting to pursue this course without other direction, I did a Google search. I found no information on the ripping (nothing to support the cutting, either), but a page did come up that showed that the Spiderweb Capelet pattern had a major error. Yeah, I'd say instructing the knitter to add 4 extra stitches with every motif that repeats at least 20 times every row is a major error.

byebyecape

So she will be ripped. Sigh, she'll look better on bigger needles anyway (did you notice she's posing with the crossword puzzle from the first issue of Men Knit?)

I then tried to focus my energy and attention on the Cutaway sleeves but found I had little to spare in both of those departments. Lately, I've been worrying, as my father has not been well. If my sentences have been stunted lately on this blog, this is probably the reason why. His prognosis is very optimistic and I’m certain that once the treatment process is over, he will be back to 100%, but getting there is difficult. He is having surgery tomorrow and I'm here with both him and my mom to support them as best I can. Trying to be strong for them in addition to myself has made me tired, though, and even takes a toll in my knitting.

So where have I found my solace lately? Certainly not in my Artfibers shawl, which may or may not be finished in this lifetime. It has come from my Socktoberfest socks, the Retro Ribs.

ribs in berries

This pattern is so much fun to knit. I don't even mind making the super-long cuff with them because they are so enjoyable. The stitch pattern keeps my fingers entertained while also being so easy to memorize that making it becomes so soothing.

IMG_1636

Pleasant autumn days, surrounded by leaves peaking in their amazing colors that make me feel that I'm immersed in a world of gold and red, accompanied by a tall, sweet boy, have also been keeping my spirits up. And, to be really honest and vain, the little review of my site on DC blogs made me smile all day.


I finally tackled one of the Cutaway sleeves last night and found it not to be too bad once I set my mind to it. I'll be finishing the other and enjoying the repetition of my sock tomorrow while waiting in the hospital for news of my father’s outcome. Please keep him in your thoughts, he needs lots of good vibes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Under the Wire 

Well, Socktoberfest is officially over.


I hadn't anticipated finishing a pair during the month, but definitely thought that I'd be making headway into some. Well, that was before Cutaway started being, oh, problematic. But just to officially show that I'm not a Socktoberfest poseur, I did cast on a pair during the month of October.

rib start

They are Retro Ribs in Opal Batik on size 3 needles. Because I must be truly nutty, they're going to be boot socks for Cobra - and his size 13 feet. Oy. With these, I'm making as many concessions to speed as possible, such as going with the slightly larger needles and not doing a pattern over the instep, so that I can finish before Socktoberfest 2006. I may need reminders along the way as to why I'm doing this, so please feel free to provide them (or, in lieu of that, sweet alcoholic drinks could suffice). Cobra'd better love me forever after making these for him.

As promised, I did continue working on my cutaway sleeves. After doing extensive, exhausting math, I figured out the appropriate pattern for my sleeve caps and re-knit. I spent Saturday finishing the seaming, tasting the sweet nectar of victory. Then I tried the sweater on.

sleeves too long

The sleeves aren't just a little too long, they are multiple inches too long. The cuffs either fall over my hands or the whole sleeve gets baggy and loose around my elbows and wrists. It throws off the whole tailored, fitted look of the sweater. And so, I will soldier on, rip up the bottom of the sleeves and reknit the ribbing. Sigh. This time, I will hope that I'm actually near the en, but won't be overly-anxious. My excitement is now tempered with the hardship of experience.

After this bit of disappointment on Saturday, Cobra and I decided to forget knitting woes by going to a show/costume party in Baltimore. I'll show you a picture of us in our costumes with the disclaimer that we looked much, much better in person.


halloween
Cobra as Jack Skellington, me as Patsy Cline. See all that cool stuff behind us; the candelabra, the giant gears hanging from the ceiling, the big "trucks" sign in back? The party was held at this amazing store called Housewerks. It used to be a natural gas plant/station, then a stained glass workshop, and now is a store where they sell all of these salvaged items from old houses, restaurants and factories. I wanted to buy so much in there, especially the big, old mantels. Plus, some of the bands who played that night were amazing. Gave me hope for music these days. What does it mean that every time I go to Baltimore, I have a really cool experience that I probably couldn't have had in DC? It's a true conundrum.

Alright, less pondering, back to knitting and, hopefully, actually finishing something!