Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mini-Vacay 

Hooray, Cobra and I are off to the beeeeeeeeeeeeeach. Yes, we're returning to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, the beach area that he introduced me to last year and I absolutely fell in love with. It should be a long weekend filled with lounging, knitting, munching and, of course, driving on the beach. I can only hope that we won't get royally sun burnt as we did last year, although we shouldn't since we won't be driving around in a jeep without a top like before. We'll see. So, when I return, a report and the afore-promised free pattern. Hope your holiday weekend is grand!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

When a Pink Monkey Wants to Rock Out... 

...she turns to her pink MP3 player.

vision

As a pretty belated birthday present from my aunt and my parents (and with a contribution from my self, thank you very much) I got this Creative Zen Vision: M MP3 player. If you're considering investing in a player, I would highly recommend this as it has a whole bevy of features, comes in five fun colors and has really wonderful sound quality. It's made me so happy because it means I can drown out the two co-workers I share a tiny office space with and zone out in my own little world filled with wonderful songs all exactly to my taste. I don't know if I would call it Zen but it's definitely an improvement.

Writing about this reminds me that I never really talked about my birthday on here even though it was a HUGE one. Not numberwise, but definitely in terms of scale. I feel totally lame for blogging about this more than a month later, but it's got to get out there sometime, right?

My 24th birthday was on April 13, 2006. Here are the highlights, in bullet list form.

  • My aunt, with whom I have a wonderful relationship, came to stay with us for five days. She was our first guest in our new little place.
  • My co-workers totally surprised me by getting me a $30 gift certificate to Stitch DC. I guess the constant reminders about the impending big day worked, hehe. BTW, I still have yet to use the certificate.
  • After work, my aunt and I went to Stitch DC to hear Ann and Kay talk about their new book. I really enjoyed their talk; like their book, it was empowering to hear about a creative process in relation to knitting, like it's, you know, a real art! Here's proof that I met them!

    jennamdk
  • My aunt, Cobra and I went for a lovely dinner at Vegetate, the only all vegetarian fine dining restaurant in DC. Oh, very upscale, dahlings.
  • I ended what was more than a year long debacle by getting myself a swift and ballwinder.

    swift
  • On the Saturday after the b-day, I had a party with my good friends at Marrakesh, an authentic Moroccan restaurant here in DC. We had a delicious seven course meal where, as my friend put it, I ate like a whore.

    bday_dinner
    The blog contingency at my party: a corner of Eric's face, Lolly, me and her Kris. While we had loads of fun at the party and all my guests enjoyed themselves, a bit of a shadow was cast over it when the waiter made a HUGE mistake on the bill and made no concession to us as far as trying to correct it. Because of their sketchiness with the money, I can't recommend that anyone go to this restaurant. I'm sorry to say it.
  • I was made to dance with the belly dancer at the restaurant.

    jennabellydances
  • I got some presents.

    birthday gifts
    From left to right, we see a handwoven (!) bookmark made for me by Eric, 2 skeins of Manos del Uruguay in a beautiful variegated shade from Lolly, a pair of earrings from a friend, and a copy of The Knitting Goddess from my friend Susanne - all on top of my signed copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting (which I'd purchased previously). Yay, presents are fun.
So, that was mostly the birthday, it was jam-packed with goodness.

I don't really have a transition right now so I'm going to show you pictures of my knitting.

orangina

I started an Orangina in some of the Southwest Trading Company Bamboo I got at the Springwater Superbowl Sale. This is the 3rd or 4th design I tried with this yarn and it finally seems to be the right fit. The lace pattern is fun and VERY addicting. Because of the color, I think a better name for it would be Windex.

cable mystery

I'm also working on this. You may ask yourself, Jenna, what is this weird cabled, thing knit in the round? Well, you'll have to wait until later in the week when I post my first free pattern to find out. I will tell you that it's a belated Mother's day present, which my mom insisted that I send to her even though I told her that I'd dropped out of Mother's Day. Oh, those moms.

Enjoy your knitting all, I'll be cruising on mine.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gobsmacked 

This little piece of British Slang, as recounted by those lovely Mason-Dixon ladies in their book, is really a perfect description of my feeling towards knitbloggers at this moment. Their kindness and thoughtfulness can really surprise and remind you that there are still some salt of the earth people out there.

I have to give a shout-out to Zarah, who touched me so much with her generosity. You may recall that Cobra and I gave her a ride from DC most of the way up to MDS&W. You may also recall that we got stuck on the Beltway at a total standstill for an hour because of a bomb scare on a tour bus. Literally, the worst traffic situation I've ever been in during 6 years of living in DC. Could have been a hellesque situation but we made good company for each other, it was actually quite pleasant to have some space to chat. As a thank you for that ride, Zarah sent Cobra and I a gift card to the movies! She totally didn't have to but I'm so grateful to her for it. Zarah, you know that you're welcome back in the truck anytime you're back in DC!

Also, way way back, the lovely Claire (who you should go congratulate for just finishing law school) made a blog button for me totally of her own volition. You know, as if working, taking law school finals and preparing for the Bar weren't enough, she just up and decided to make me a button. It's over at the top right if you want to take it (using your own bandwidth, of course). Thank you so much, Claire!

The weather has been gloomy here lately (though not scary like it's been in New England) so Cobra and I have spent lots of time lounging around the ole apartimento. It's been nice, after having visitors and trips and excitement almost every weekend to just chill and do nothing. We're still slowly getting through Six Feet Under (just watched the first two episodes of season 4). Of course, this lounging has let me get lots of knitting time in, so I have many completions to parade in your computer screen.

trekking socks

Neapolitan Socks
Made from Trekking XXL, generously swapped to me by the Lovely Laura
size 1 needles
My basic improvised top down sock pattern with picot hemmed edge.

I actually finished the knitting on these about a month ago but I couldn't sew up the last toe because I lost my Chibi in the move. Stupid move. After some crazy shopping in the suburbs last weekend, I picked up another one and finished these puppies up. I find this colorway to be sort of unappealing, but I like it because of that. Is that weird?
Anyways, I wish that the picot had fallen on a different part of the patterning so you could see it better, but it's a nice top edge - it's a little stiff so it helps keep the socks from falling down.
I made a mistake with the second sock that you can see on the right one in the photo. Somehow, the gusset decrease ended up slanting up instead of down, and cut across my foot. I have no idea why that happened, any elucidation would be helpful.
Oh yeah, non-knitters were so. impressed. to see me making these because they thought it was some elaborate process to make the colors turn out that way. Suckas.

ballet t finished

Ballet T-shirt from Loop-d-Loop
Rowan Cotton Rope, Parma colorway
Size 10 (?) needles

I'd originally hoped to have this finished for MDS&W but my knitting was not speedy enough. Not confident the the 28" finished measurement would make it over my girls, I first re-gauged the pattern for my yarn then made it larger. Since this pattern is fairly intuitive, the modifcations were essentially math free and really easy. I used exactly 7 skeins and it's just at the length that I want. Cobra says it looks cute on me but I still haven't decided if it's flattering or fattering. It was fun to make sucha stripped-down, basic garment all in one piece. The Rowan Cotton Rope is a little splitty, but overall an underrated yarn - my guess is because the name has the word "rope" in it, and who wants to knit with that?

mdk washcloth

Mason-Dixon Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Lily Sugar and Cream yarn
Size 8 needles

I whipped this puppy out muy quickly, and it was a fun little project. My first washcloth! It's cute, colorful and pragmatic! I still have half a skein of yarn left, so another washcloth is certainly in my future. I used this to wipe off the counter tonight, it worked wonderfully and didn't get trashed afterwards like the paper towels I usually use. This one's for you, Earth.

My current projects should take a bit longer so that you'll actually see some progress, not just the finished result. My weekend starts early tomorrow as I get to leave work a few hours early, yes! Unfortunately, part of that time will be used to take a trip to the gyno, boo. I hope that your weekend doesn't involve your knee being pushed up to your ears - unless you want it to!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Big Haul 

After I'm sure what was much anticipation, I'm proud to present my most wonderful stash acquisitions from MDSW. Voila!

the haul

Sigh, I'm so pleased with what I got. The pink is superwash Merino fingering yarn from Three Waters Farm in Aunt Maude's Mauve Colorway. You may recognize this from over at Cara's; she saw mine and made a beeline directly for the booth to get a hank of her own! I also got a bar of this farm's goat's milk soap in the orange clove sent after I saw a recommendation for it over at the Knitter's Review Forum and it smells lovely.

Directly behind that is a skein of Tess' Super Sock yarn in turquoise and purple. I'm excited to try out this yarn as I've heard Lolly give it numerous compliments. I have to say that I'm a big proponent of Tess; I first discovered their yarns when I went on a business trip to Maine. The superwash merino is beautiful and such a great buy - 570 yard of handdyed goodness for $30! Plus, it smells really good and has managed to retain that good smell for almost two years. I used that pink yarn into my boobholder (which I'm now reworking, incidentally) and bought another skein last year for my first, failed Clapotis (I've thought carefully about what to do with this yarn, it will have its day sometime). I made a point of recommending the superwash to just about everyone that I ran into at the festival but didn't get any myself. Why is that? Honestly, the colors of the yarn this year just didn't really appeal to me that much. There didn't seem to be as many variagates as there were last year, more solids in shades I shrugged at. The sock yarn did deliver some fun combinations, at least.

Lastly, behind you see nine skeins of silk/mohair/wool blend from Botanical Shades in Indigo Blue. This company is cool because all of their yarns are greenspun and all of the dyes are from natural materials. This droolworthy haul will become a pretty, feminine sweater.

After buying these, I felt pretty satisfied with my purchases but also like I wanted a little something more. One more beautiful sock yarn, something. Over at Brooks Farm, I considered getting some Kid Mohair but I waffled, walked away, came back and saw the colorway I was interested in was gone.

"The yarn gods are telling me I'm finished. This is meant to be," I said more than once.

Then, we stopped in the Kiparoo Farms booth on our way to the exit. I turned around, my heart pitter -pattered, my stomach dropped and I felt a little faint.

I was in love. So much in love that I ran back to the ATM in the main hall in 5 minutes flat, and just about threw my money at the cashier. All so I could get this:


haul_2

Dontcha want to see a closeup of the yarn?

Seven skeins of their Midnight Sun in black and turquoise to make the Christiana's Path sweater. The sweater is styled kind of granny-esque in that photo but it's actually very vintagey, almost Victorian - very much like something Stefanie would design. I tried it on and even though the yarn is bulky, it accentuates my, ahem, assets. Mwah, I love it so much I want to kiss it. Also, I love how the label randomly says "skoll!" with an umlaut. This is definitely winter knitting as it's incredibly insulating.

All this buying made me realize I have a good bit of yarn now, so I'm off to knit it up at Stitch n Bitch!

Monday, May 08, 2006

This is the Dawning of the Age of the Sheep and Wool 

The age of the Sheep and Wool! I sang this to Cobra as we were waking up on Saturday morning out of pure excitement. And what an age it was! Last year was somewhat fraught with anxiety for me, both over not having money to make any purchases and over being nervous about meeting other bloggers. This year, I was just able to go with the flow, enjoy making some purchases and hanging out with folks and it really made the weekend turn out perfectly. I also went with a bit of a buying plan so I wasn't just overwhelmed by the pure amount of yarns there.

Unfortunately, the amount of fun I had was inversely proportional to the number of photos I took, so you'll have to take the bit that I've got here.

We started by picking up the lovely Zarah at the local metro station - she was vacationing in DC and, of course, couldn't miss out on this orgy of fiber! We got up to Columbia (after getting stuck in ridiculous Beltway traffic and sitting totally still for an hour) and met up with my girl Lolly. From there, it was a blur of fiber fondling, cash falling out of my wallet, yarn spontaneously jumping into my bag, and entering a bizarre universe where you see people whose faces and/or knitting you recognize and yet you don't really know them.

At the knit blogger meet up, there were So. Many. People. There was a big crew of us who gathered at one side of the lawn, then some folks that there was a whole other group on the other side. So, like 75-100 people all migrated over to join the huge groups of other bloggers on the other side and it was just one huge nest of bloggers. Huge!! I took a panoramic photo, perhaps it will get posted later.

the ladies looking

I finally got to meet Susanne, who lives just a few blocks from me in the city. I was so proud to introduce her to others as "my neighbor" and did so about 12 totally dorkish times. She joined us for our yarn finding adventures. I also had the pleasure of meeting two lovely ladies from North Carolina, Karen and Gray la Gran, who would have been fondling to Clapotis with abandon if only I'd worn it (it was too hot for a wool scarf). I also met Amanda and Jane, who were adorable with their blog business cards.

I had a little token of appreciation for Heather since she kindly gave us some high quali-tie boxes for the move. To thank her for the trouble she went to of dropping them off at Cobra's work, I presented her with this pink Buddha candle, pink so it will remind her of me.

heatherbuddha

She put it into her handknit sock for safe keeping.

After a few more hours of hardcore perusing, Lolly was kind enough to haul me to two more muy fun events; the first was the Knitbloggers Ball, kindly organized by MamaE. There I finally got to eat (I'd had some food earlier in the day but after all that standing and walking and overstimulation, I was tengoing mucho hambre!) and chat with MamaE's red-headed friend who's name I've forgotten(so sorry!), an up and coming knitwear designer named Griffin (blogless?) and the fabulous Jodi. I think that if I had worn my glasses, Jodi and I could have been semi-dopplegangers. We then headed off to a bit of a par-tay held in the ten person uber knitblogger suite including the MD crew and many out of town visitors. Unfortunately, we were too late for the presentation of sex toys but we did get to drink tasty appletinis, knit and chat. Again, I am grateful to Lolly for hauling my ass to the metro station so that I could get home safe and sound. Lolly, Jodi and I were all totally wiped out from the long day but I think we were dreaming happy sheep dreams that night.

I wasn't planning to return to the festival on Sunday but when I told Cobra about the culinary delights to be had there (particularly the kettle corn and eclairs) and about all the animals, he suggested we make a day of it. Of course, I didn't say no. Sunday was more focused on seeing the animals and other non-shopping activities. We got there just in time for the last sheep dog demo.

sheep dogs

Aggie is a pooch who is focused on her job.

rams

llama

You could tell that the animals were fairly agitated and freaked out by all the people around but they still charmed me. I could have watched/listened to the sheep baa-ing for hours, they way they stick their tongues out when they do it was very comical to me. It was interesting to touch the fleeces of the different breeds and feel the difference. For Cobra though, the bottom license plate frame made the whole trip worthwhile.

hooking

Sometimes it's hard to remember that I'm the younger one in the relationship.

So, if you've managed to read this far, you are probably hoping for a report on the stashing. Well, it will have to wait until tomorrow when I can get some pics in decent lighting. Be on the lookout for them, I got some great stuff...