Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tai Shan and the Horrible Debacle of the Couch 


A few months back, Cobra's aunt got a new couch for her living room and moved the old one down to her basement, telling Cobra that she was saving it for him. As we prepared for the move in, we thought that it would be good to take it as the cushions on my couch had a propensity for drooping to the point of implosion. Yes, it would be nice to start our new adult living situation together with a new, adult-style couch (as you can see, it's got a bit of a LOUD pattern but who says that doesn't suit us?)

In an effort to take one trip off the list for moving day, we decided to go pick up the new couch in Northern Virginia and load it into Cobra's truck on Sunday. It turned out that my good friend was also having a birthday dinner that night at a nearby restaurant, so we strapped the couch into the bed of the truck and headed off for a yummy Chinese meal. I had a bit of internal hesistation about leaving it outside unguarded but I thought it was my cynical side coming through and that the sofa would be fine.

We ate dinner and stopped afterwards to get gas. As I was sitting in the passenger side, waiting for Cobra to fill up, he suddenly tried to roll down my window and open my door very impatiently. "What is it?" I said.

"Someone fucking PUKED on our couch!"

I turned around and there was indeed a white puddle of puke on part of the couch's skirt and even more so in a significant part of the truck bed! Luckily for you, I'm not a bad (good?) enough blogger to take a picture of it to show to you. We weren't near any bars or anything, it's not like someone could have just stumbled over and WOOPS, I just spewed on your expensive piece of furniture. This had to have been intentional. Cobra kept saying how once again, people just prove themselves to be really shitty at heart. The crazy part is that we were parked in a strip mall in a pretty rich part of the area, so you know it was just some stupid fucking overprivileged teenager who has so much access to money he doesn't know what to do, so he goes around huffing paint fumes and PUKING ON FURNITURE THAT PEOPLE LEAVE IN THEIR CARS IN PARKING LOTS.

So, we angled the couch off the back of the truckbed and grabbed the garden hose that was luckily right near by at the gas station. We hosed the vomity area and luckily, the fabric appeared to be scotchguarded and all of the offending materials pretty much came right off. We later sprayed it with fabric cleaner and it think it's mostly back to normal. Some people, really...

The kicker is that we were trying to do a bit of a switcheroo to smooth the moving process: we took my old couch out of my apartment and brought it over to my friend Eric's house (Eric is such a fiber addict that he spins while sitting on the fountain in the middle of Dupont Circle. Ballsy, yes?). We then tried to move the new couch in to its temporary home in my apartment then will move it to the new place with the rest of the things next week. Tried being the operative word as it was too damn big to fit through the door of my new place. After trying many strategies to move it in, we just decided to let it hang out in the hall until moving day comes and it will surely fit into the new apartment. I just hope no one decides to pee on it in the meantime.

In happier news, during my lunch break on Tuesday, a few coworkers and I went to see Tai Shan, the baby panda at the National Zoo. All three of the pandas, baby, mom and dad, were passed the fuck out for pretty much the whole time we were there. They must have just been on a bamboo binge or something.

tai shan

This is the only picture I got of the little guy before my camera batteries died. He pretty much didn't move from this precarious spot except when we rubbed his face a bit later on when it started snowing a few minutes (yes, I said snow, I know I was all ecstatic about the flip flop weather a few weeks ago. The spring is just a little slow this year). He moved his little paw up to cover his nose and keep it from being too cold. It was pretty cute but we were a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see them being particularly active.

I wore my Northern Lights socks to the zoo.

Basic Cable Socks

Northen Lights Socks
Made from this Basic Cable Sock Pattern over at Brainylady's
made from Woolarina Merino Sportweight
Size 2 needles

These socks are nothing short of a treat for my feet. The bright colors stand out against the black background of the fabric and really pop, hence the Northern Lights name. The yarn is simply luscious and is holding up pretty well from the wear on my feet. Support your local dyers and spinners by buying some!

These socks were also my first on 2 circs and they secured my love for this technique. I'm not sure if it's actually faster than DPNs but it feels that way because you have to fiddle with the needles and yarn less. It makes for a smooth transition. Plus, it was particularly handy for this pattern because the danglind needle ends were particularly useful as cable needles. Overall, this is probably my favorite pair of socks yet. Fun and entertaining to make with a beautiful result.

As I alluded earlier, moving day is Tuesday. I think we should be getting some faster internet in right away but we'll see and I may be, you know, a little busy. Anyone want to help life a box or two?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Birthday Month 

Monday marked the one month countdown to my birthday and I already know that it's shaping up to be a good one. I love having a spring birthday and having all of the new blooms and rejuvenation around me; it always makes me feel like the coming year will bring good things. This year I already know that I will be settling into my lovely new apartment with my love monkey, my aunt will be visiting and I'll be celebrating Passover (although not really celebrating because that would mean that I couldn't eat birthday cake. Yeah, I'm observant like that).

Many other bloggers have had contests to give away yarn and other fun prizes to countdown the weeks until their birthdays. Their generosity was certainly inspiring but I was struck by a different kind of giving. A few weeks ago, I cruised over to the afghans for Afghans website and saw the announcement that they are in desperate need of baby items for Afghani midwives. Wanting to stay true to my goal of having a giving project on the needles at all times and overwhelmed by the new stash I've gotten over the past few months, I thought I'd pitch in. I've decided to knit at least five items for this project before my birthday on April 13th. This may not seem like a lot but I'm not sure how much knitting time I'm going to have with a darn move stuck in the middle of it. I'm making decent progress already, with one hat finished.

Afghans for Afghans hat

I made this with the scraps from my Cutaway cardigan and Northern Lights socks. It's cute, but is it morbid to make a baby item with black? I mean, it's not the main color so it should be ok, right?

Speaking of finishing...

Hot Lava Cardigan

I finished my Hot Lava Cardigan a while back!
Clickez ici to see the back!

There are a few issues with this cardigan that make me feel a little self-conscious when I wear it, mainly the big poof in the back where the shrug section meets the front curved part. I still haven't blocked the sweater yet, mainly because I'm a little worried that it will make it too big but it might help with the poofiness. It's probably flattering, multiple people have told me that it is but I'm still a little unsure when I look in the mirror. On the positive side, I love the yarn, it is a soft dream to wear. It's a comfortable sweater that I can throw on with a simple outfit to make it instantly funky. It was also a very quick and fun knit - I really don't even remember doing a lot of the knitting on it because it went so smoothly (apart from a bit of a concern over a slightly large row gauge). If I were to make it again, I wouldn't make it with the knuckle length sleeves - I've made a few sweaters now with big/long sleeves and find them to be a pain when I'm eating or doing other messy things.

I also finished the first of my Trekking Socks:

First Trekking Sock

It's important that I note that I totally ripped off Claudia's idea for these socks when she made hers in the identical yarn. What can I say, I thought the picot edge was totally cute. The forecasters are predicting a rainy/snowy mix early this week despite the fact that spring will have officially started. So, I hope to make progress on the sock mate for this so I can get a little wear out of them before they have to hibernate for the warm season.

Next time, I hope to have my final bit of catch up by showing my other finished projects and what all is currently on the needles. Hopefully, there will also be more charity things and more boxes filled with my thoroughly organized and cleaned up stuff. Off to nurse the wee, wee, very wee cold I've caught, yuck.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Loves Me Some Spring! 


Friends, today was the kind of day in our nation's capital that makes me really love this city. It was warm (I even broke a little sweat walking to work) and windy and clear. I would stop myself when I was outside just to breathe in the fresh air and smile. The good feeling was contagious, people were outside and were talkative and interactive with their fellow residents. It was really the kind of day that makes you feel good about humankind. When I was in college, I always loved days like this because everyone would just be outside in the central quad. In between classes, people would grab some food and sit and outside with friends, and you would run into everyone you know and have a little chat. Everyone strolled in late to class because they just wanted to stay outside and see everyone in their whole social network, play frisbee or even nap- like little kids who don't want to go to bed in the summertime because they want to stay outside and play all night. Ahh, spring. The wool sock that I'm knitting from these Trekking yarn (kindly sent to me by Laura) seemed grossly inappropriate on this flip flop day but hopefully if I finish the pair quickly, I can get a wear or two out of them.

My spirits were additionally buoyed today by the fact that I only had to work a half day and was actually able to have some time to enjoy the lovely day. Additional good news: my tax refund is going to be pretty decent this year and will help me pay off a big chunk of my credit card debt. I can hardly describe how much of a relief it is to know that I won't have to constantly be worrying about money - plus, I should be right about done by the time Sheep and Wool rolls around, so I can make some sweet purchases there (although not so many that I'll be right back in debt again!). I'll also be able to get some nice things for our new apartment. Yes, Cobra and I found a great place and we're going to sign the lease on it tonight! It was so easy, only the second place that we saw! It has a separate den/office and, best of all, access to a backyard. I'm so excited that I want to be living there now (although the prospect of the actual move and culling down of our unnecessary stuff is not fun). I feel like my life is starting to make the real upswing that I've been waiting for for what seems like a really long time.

The other really, really good thing, knitwise is that, as a result of the Springwater Superbowl sale and a recent stash swap held at Ann Fidget's house, where I got to meet many wonderful, exuberant local bloggers, I got a lot of yarn. Like, so much that I may have exceeded the stash expectations I set out for myself this year. Here's the booty:

lots of yarn!

Dang. Clockwise, starting at the bottom left corner.
2 skeins Reynolds Lie-Lope, black
1 and most of a 2nd skein GGH Soft Kid, light blue
3 skeins Noro Kureyon, colorway 100
1 skein cool Japanese pea green mohair
7 skeins Rowan Cotton Rope, Parma colorway
1 skein Wool in the Woods Duet, Playground colorway
1 Skein Muench Black Forest Yarns Naturwolle, aquarell colorway
1 skein SWTC Oasis soy silk, turquoise
1 Skein Rowan Summer Tweed, Denim colorway
1 skein Colinette Skye, not sure on colorway but it's probably on the website
1 skein brilliantly shiny silk/mohair blend, white
7 skeins GGH Domino, black and white
2 and a bit skeins Lambs Pride Worsted, raspberry colorway
And finally, in the center, 5 skeins SWTC Bamboo, electric blue colorway.

And, of course, the Catalina pattern book was a personal gift from the lovely Heather, to provide with some inspiration for all of this raw material! Some of the yarn was purchased with a particular project in mind, so it wasn't all blind greed. I exhausted myself just typing out that list but I would like to make it clear that I will redeem myself for having all this yarn by using some of it to knit for charity. More on that another time. Oh, by the way, this pic didn't include some of the yarn I got at Springwater because I already used it to whip up a scarf for my dad!

Dad's Scarf

Pardon the weird lighting, I have to go to some lengths to take a photo with any natural light in my current abode. With his current medical treatments, the cold is really affecting my dad adversely, so I willingly stepped up to create him a lovingly handmade item to warm him as he maintains his strength and good outlook. It was made with 2 strands of Harrisville Designs Orchid Line yarn in a 5x6 basketweave. This yarn was nice to work with, although it did have some planty bits in it and broke very easily. It blocked beautifully, however, and probably about doubled in length in the process. Sweet, wooly magic.

It's almost time to go sign that lease, but I'll complete the book meme that the lovely bugheart, illustrious founder of the DC Stitch n Bitch, tagged me.

Name 5 of your favorite books:
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Naked by David Sedaris
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
What was the last book(s) you bought (or brought home from the library)?
I rarely buy pleasure reading books anymore because I already have so many that I haven't read and feel I should get through a bit first. Recently, however, I did get The Matter of Desire by Edmundo Paz Soldan, a Bolivian -American writer. From the library, I last got The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Anne Budd, Real Simple: The Organized Home (which is like total house porn, I'm obsessed with it) and one I'm a bit ashamed but I got because I'm really trying to improve myself: Speed Cleaning 101 by Laura Dellutri (the Healthy Housekeeper). Am I obsessed with moving much?
What was the last 3 books you read?
Paula by Isabel Allende
Straight Man by Richard Russo
The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
List 5 books that have been particularly meaningful to you.
Stitch n Bitch by Debbie Stoller
Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodges Burnett
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Diary of Anne Frank
by Anne Frank
I think that the fact that these were all written by women is significant in and of itself.
Name three books you've been dying to read but just haven't gotten around to it.
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
Amazing Adventures of the Escapist by Michael Chabon (all volumes)
The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams
I find that as I've entered more and more into the "adult" world of independence, I'm less inclined to want to read non-fiction that's about, like, topical issues, not knitting or food. Because, you know, my life is already so full of complications.

I hope you're enjoying your own beautiful weather!