Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Socktoberfest Marches On... 

(Pun not intended)

Socktoberfest has passed the halfway mark and, I'm proud to say, so have my Arch-Shaped stockings!
Finished first Arch-shaped stocking

One More View

I've completed the first in the pair, and honestly I must say that I have mixed feelings. On some level, I feel like they're my knitting masterpiece because they've taken so much time and concentration. I felt so proud last week at SnB where I got many compliments for them. On the other hand, I also visually pick out many flaws, some of which I was able to correct as I went along and some I wasn't. I'm hoping a firm blocking will flatten my tension, smooth my stitches and help the stocking take the right shape. Deep down, I know that I'm being critical of my work, but I guess the flaws stick out to me more than the more positive attributes.

One part that even I can say turned out well was the arch shaping. The directions for this in both the published magazine and the corrections are wrong, but luckily I consulted this knowledgeable lady and she pointed me and my stitches in the right direction. This shaping really make the stocking stand out, and I'm sure I'll show more views of it when I complete the pair.

As my portable project, I also cast on a sock for Cobra.

green sock started

This is Cascade Fixation, which I certainly needed some time to acclimate to. I had to rip out and start over about four times because the sock kept ending up being too big (one of the major advantages to knitting with two circs - you can try on as you go!). Even after I'd achieved the right tension, I wasn't happy with the first pattern I tried with the yarn. The cotton in the yarn gives the stitches a funky, inherent texture which just didn't jive with the two stitch twist. I'm now using this pattern only 56 stitches (for Cobra's big foot!), and the alternating knits and purls show up much better.

I think that one of the better ways one can celebrate this special time of year is by procuring some unique yarn for socks, especially from local artisans. I did just this way back on the first of the month at the Crafty Bastards Craft Festival. This is the only pic I got there, because my camera battery died.

crafty bastards breakdancer

Don't get kicked in the face at the B-boy battle, boyeeee. I met Lolly at the festival and had a great time looking at the creative handmade and refashioned clothing, ogling the sparkly jewelry and cooing over the fun plush animals. Luckily, I found a few really special items to purchase:
Goodies from Crafty Bastards

On the left, we see the really gorgeous yarns I decided to indulge in. On the left is some handspun from Woolarina that I'd seen over the summer and loved. I didn't buy it then but I figured that the fact that it was still there was a sign that it needed to be mine. I'm 99% sure that I'm going to make some EZ Moccasin socks from this skein, inspired by this lovely pair by Adrian.
The skein on the right with the vibrant, rich colors Studio Sock Superwash Merino sock yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co. All of the colorways are named after neighborhoods here in DC, so of course I knew the one named Mt. Pleasant, my area of residence, would have to be mine. I procured this at the Stitch DC booth and was told that it's a new venture by some former employees of theirs. If you're in the shop or see any of their skeins on the website, buy some!! It's gorgeous!!

I got some other non-yarn goodies, too including a SOAK starter pack, a cute apple pin from Art School Dropout, and a Soul Kiss lip balm from Biggs and Featherbelle, which makes me feel like I'm wearing vanilla frosting on my lips, yum. I've been going to Crafty Bastards since the first year, and each time it just keeps getting bigger and better. I hope this trend continues.

Cobra and I also made it down to a different kind of fair this past weekend: The Green Festival. I found this event to be both inspiring and overwhelming at the same time. Unfortunately, I did not get to see any of the talks but we did take in many of the booths in the exhibition area. There was a lot to see, including people getting tattooed (with soy ink) at the Dr. Bronner's booth, naturally dyed carpets from Nepal, fairly traded knitted garments, and every type of natural food and drink you can imagine (we particularly liked the Pixie Mate). It was nice to see the huge variety of eco-friendlier products available (although not all were great options, since there was an ethanol booth there), I felt that the festival made it seem like one can be a good environmentalist just by buying the right, expensive, biodegradable products. There wasn't much information on incorporating more ecofriendly practices into our lives or news on current eco issues. Overall, we did have a good time, enjoyed the many free samples and like that they had a free bicycle valet service that allowed us to get in with a discount.

Why can't more places have bike valets?