Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Spirit 

national_men_and_tree

Not so great camera phone shot of the National Menorah and Christmas Tree on December 25th. This is just before they turned off the lights...at 11PM! You would think they could at least have a little spirit and keep them on until midnight!

Well, I had some very nice holiday celebrations but, man, did it exhaust me! As I said before, we spent most of our holiday time with the family of Cobra, including his mother, brother, aunt, uncle, and lots of cousins. I felt privileged to once again be welcomed to their celebrations and be able to take part in their traditions. They all gather at C's mom's house on Christmas Eve for a decadently delicious dinner, then open presents later in the evening (usually it's at midnight but, with a little kid around, we moved it a bit earlier).

In their generosity, I received some modest but happily received gifts, including some soft long underwear, a lovely red silk dress and, best of all from Mr. Cobra himself, a ten class pass for a local yoga studio. This will go to good use, as I've had a lot of stiffness and soreness since the accident. When he gave it to me, Cobra said "See, I listen!" I never doubted it.

Cobra's brother also got me a gift: a copy of Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation. He was truly tickled by the title but told me that he was initially worried that I would be offended by it! I then informed him that I'd been a member of an SnB for almost two years and that I embraced the name. This was so thoughtful, I didn't have the heart to tell him that I already had a copy of the book. I thought I'd put it out to you readers out there. Would anyone like to trade a copy of Stitch n Bitch Nation for another book, yarn, etc of comparable value? Email me at jennaudrenATgmailDOTcom if you're interested.

On Christmas Day, we went to Cobra's aunt's house for yet ANOTHER decadent meal. I also had a nice chance to talk more in depth with some of his family members that I don't know as well. Later that evening, I brought out my little menorah that I've had since I was little and got one of the kids around to help me with the lighting. He asked some good questions, so I told him a bit about the story of Hanukkah. I have to admit that it felt a bit strange to participate so fully in a Christmas celebration. This is only the fourth I've participated in in my whole life, but before I always had a certain detachment. This year, I really felt like a part of the family and some of the barriers were let down (for better and for worse) so I was really involved in the celebration. It was nice and fun, but felt foreign as well. I hope that over the years, Cobra and I can develop our own traditions.

All the sitting around we did after the eating left me with lots of time to knit, and so I did.


sock

I'm practicing my cables with this sock pattern from Brainylady. The yarn is a lovely merino sport weight that I got at the Crafty Bastards craft fair from Woolarina. I'm calling it Northern Light because of the bright flashes against the field of black.

All of the stimulation really wore me out, so I slept in on Monday and decided to do something a little slow and cultural. I headed down to the National Mall and admired the ice skaters at the rink at the National Gallery of Art.

skaters

I then walked over to the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Asian Art to see an amazing exhibit of Kaftans from the Ottoman Empire.

kaftans

These garments were the definition of luxurious, as they were hand woven or appliqued in silks, satins and even gold and silver threads. Many were lined with fur and were made on a very large scale, which added to the wearer's regal appearance. Each item was truly breathtaking and I was glad to see them take their place as true works of art.

I'm back at work for a short week but I'm mentally gearing up for another long weekend and New Year's fun. I'm also pondering my knitting aspirations, look for them soon along with a pic of Cobra's socks!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Celebratory 

The holidays technically have not started yet (although tomorrow is the Winter Solstice and I'm ready to celebrate the days getting longer) but I was lucky to be able to do some early celebrating with friends and family. It started on Saturday when I got together with lovely knitblogger friends Lauren and Heather. They were celebrating the end of their school semesters, less stress and other positive changes for the new year. I met up with them in Chinatown for lunch, and we had a delicious Thai meal while discussing Heather's sweet daughter, penguins and, of course, knitting.

Then, we metroed down to Capital Hill to check out the scene.

lolandh

Lolly and H check out the treats at a cute dog boutique.

And, of course, we had to make the pilgrimage to the LYS, Stitch DC. I always find it funny that time just slips right through my fingers at a yarn store, even if it's a pretty small one. While there, we fondled many soft and lovely yarns.

jandlol

Which one is softer and lovelier (and do you like my new haircut and color)?

Even though none of us really needed to buy yarn, we were all about three minutes from pulling out the credit cards (I was eyeing a skein of Alchemy Pagoda in a pretty blue colorway to make the Glam Kerchief [scroll down]). But then, Oh crap, we realized we were late and needed to get back to Maryland so that I could meet up with Cobra and drive to Pittsburgh.

We got off a bit later than I'd hoped but managed to get there in time for the graduation party for my friend I.


ilona

Here's a picture of her during our last adventure in Paris. She was there for a semester and I stayed with her for a week. This is her in a charming Parisian cafe, taking a break from the February cold; un cafe au lait et un chocolat chaud, s'il vous plait. This time, she's traveling all around Asia for about ten weeks. Though I'll miss her while she's gone, I'm glad I got to celebrate with her.

Cobra and I also had a little pre-Hanukkah celebration with my parents. We lit the candles, said the prayers and exchanged some little gifts. I got a few small things (including some Kleenex boxes with holographic rollerskating monkeys on them from my mom. You can't say I don't come by the weirdness naturally) and later got to choose two books for myself at Barnes and Noble. I chose Katharina Buss' Big Book of Knitting and the Rowan Vintage Knits book and I am loving them both!

I was also able to gift Cobra with his finished Retro Rib socks. Unfortunately, I was not able to snap a pic but I promise I'll put one up next time, including some that show their largesse.

Because I knew I was going to a place with an easily accessible washing machine that I could felt easily with, I put my knitting nose to the grindstone. I was able to quickly whip up the Sophie bag (PDF) from Mag Knits. For those of you who still need some last minute gifts, I'd highly recommend this bag, it could be knit in probably four hours total.

sophie prefelt

Here it is in the pre-felting form. I used some tapestry yarn I acquired last winter at an antiques store and I love the distinctive brownish-mauve color. The yarn gave the bag a fun, curly texture in its felt form and looked really lovely.

momsophie

My mom admired it, and even though I'd already given her a few other gifts, I decided to give it to her. It was sad to part with it but fortunately, I have enough yarn left to make another one just like it. Then, I can be a purse twin with my mom. How hip.

Now I'm back in DC and looking forward to further celebrations in the coming week with Cobra's family. I hope that you have some fun times, too!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fixin' a Hole 

Really, I've just been trying to do some problem solving lately.

Problem: I haven't gotten anything barely resembling decent cell phone reception for the past, oh, three years - in which I've lived in three different places. So I replaces my ghetto old phone with a bling-blingin' new one.

phones

The new one is the one on the right. And it takes pictures, but seemingly only really bad ones. Expect to see some examples sometime soon right here on this very blog!

Problem: I went to the Black Cat on Saturday for Mousetrap, the best Brit Pop dance night around. At some point, I got a really fresh piece of gum stuck on my shoe that proceeded to pick up all the black dirty nastiness from the club floor. Then, it decided to stick itself to my ABSOLUTELY BRAND NEW, THREE HOUR OLD JEANS and my HANDKNIT SOCK. My beautiful Sockapal2za sock, that were made so lovingly and have kept me warm through the recent cold temps and comforted me during my father's recent illness. They both had huge black, stick spots on them. I tried putting them in the freezer and trying to pull off the freezing gum, but that only got part of it off (incidentally, I could still smell the flavor of the gum. Eww).

I pulled out my secret weapon: my Hogwash soap. When I bought this in Chicago, the salesperson at the store really convinced me by giving me a 10 minute story of what it had gotten out of her clothes with the soap, so I was convinced. I brought it home, used it to take out blood and red wine; I was super convinced. Folks, now I preach the gospel of Hogwash because it got this nasty chewing gum off of my stunning sock.

dirty sock

Those black globs are just a remnant of what was originally on there. Now, it's good as new! Buy the soap now, you will thank me!!

Problem: I think I may have a needle abuse problem that requires some sort of counseling. You may remember this past summer when I had a bit of a problem with my DPNs. Well, I was using my Denise needles under normal circumstances recently and had the connectors break on two of the cords. I wouldn't be surprised if I were using them to, you know, anchor sailboats or something, but for goodness sake, I was just picking up stitches. WTF? My hands must be 20 times stronger than the rest of my body. Maybe I'm like Wolverine and have a special metal alloy called adamantium covering only my hand bones that gives them extreme strength.

In any case, I decided to take advantage of the needles' lifetime guarantee and sent a letter along with the broken needles to the kind Denise folks. Within two weeks, I'd received my two replacements and this little message. Quick, efficient, reliable. Denise delivers (they are not paying me to say this).


deniseneedles

Problem: This one you need to help me make a decision. I start Teva Durham's Ballet T-shirt in some Cookie Monster blue mohair I purchased in Israel last summer. I like how it looks but it has become clear that there is now way I can finish the project with the amount of yarn I have and NO way I could get some more.


balletT

The colors look nice together but I'm worried that the extremely evident shaping in the bottom of the shirt will make a big ass bottom stripe look weird. That's where you come in.

Apparently,Blogger does not accept blog polls, so I'll give you four choices to vote on in the comments.

Should I knit the bottom of my Ballet T-shirt with the green yarn?

1. Yes, it will not look weird despite the garment's shaping
2. No, it will look stupid.
3. I don't know but you should give it a shot.
4. I don't know but you should just frog the project.

Also, write-in candidates are gladly accepted.

And, of course, because a certain pair of socks may be finished and a certain shawl ain't going nowhere, I cast on a new project: the Sophie bag.

sophie

Hopefully, I can finish and felt it Pittsburgh this weekend at the pre-Hanukkah celebration we're having with my parents. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Raspberry Hat Set 

Hat Set

Inspired by a genius piece of pop music

I was knittin' part time when my fingers
they started to feel icy
My mind was strayin' from my other projects
'cause they were a bit 2 leisurely

Seems I was set on getting some lovely handspun
different from the other yarns
that's when I knit it, ooo I knit it
my fingers went in and out a hole, out a hole

I made a raspberry hat set
including mittens that have a flap
raspberry hat set
if it's not warm, I will be wearing lots more
raspberry hat set
I think I love you

hat2

Built like they were
I had the nerve 2 ask them
If they planned 2 make my hands cold

So, look here
I put them on the back of my palms
And-a we went walking
Out in the frigid, snowy cold

I said now, overcast days never turned me on
But something about the clouds and they mixed

my idea was bright
I could tell from the way they wamed me
I knew I need a head cover

I made a raspberry hat set
the kind that looks like a pilgrim bonnet
raspberry hat set
if it's not warm, I will be wearing lots more
raspberry hat set
I think I love you


Hat Blur

Prince, oh my purple one, I hope I didn't do you wrong!

Handspun Bulky from handpaintedyarn.com in Scarlet Aqua.

Hat: Russian Winter Pattern from Stitch n Bitch Nation
Size 13 Needles

Mittens: Valentine's Mittens from Stitch n bitch Nation
Size 101/2 Needles.