Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Taking a Break from Building My Ark 

We're having some crazy flooding here in DC this week, starting last night after we received about 5 inches of rain. Thankfully, I haven't experienced much of the aftermath firsthand since my commute consists of a fifteen minute walk. Cobra just told me that a creek that's less than mile from my house flooded, causing a major parkway to close down. Traffic this morning was backed up past my place, so I believe it. My disclaimer: if I do have to use my ark, I will only be taking two of the cuddliest, cutest animals aboard. Sorry snakes, spiders, and mosquitoes. Hop on in, Tai Shan.

Why are we having such extreme weather here in DC and all over the country? Cobra and I found out part of the reason why on Saturday night when we saw An Inconvenient Truth. I enjoyed this movie not only because the scientific facts were presented in a very digestible and understandable way, but because the paints were couched in the story of Al Gore's passion for this issue. Rather than being boring or depressing, it made climate change into an engaging story. It inspired me to come right home and turn my A/C up!

I also escaped from the threat of storms on Saturday by getting off my lazy butt and taking a swim at the indoor pool at the local JCC. It was quiet, relaxing yet invigorating. I grew up in South Florida (sucks), so swimming pools were my second home for many years. I hope that once the weather clears up, I take advantage of the free DC public pools and get some more good water time in.

The biggest knitting news is that I finished my Father's Day Socks!
Socks for Father's Day

You can see detail of the seed stitch rib right HERE

They only arrived, ya know, a week late. I'm happy to say that my dad really appreciated my workmanship and the subtle shading of the handpainted yarn (although he did make a few cracks first - like "where's my lipstick." I ignored said comment). The next step is to make sure they fit, I'll check that for sure when I visit the family next month.

I also FINALLY finished the first side of Blue Windex and cast on for the second. Here, you can see that Busty Magee modeling it.

orangina1

I told her it looked kinda slutty when she wears it without a tank underneath but she didn't listen to me. So headstrong. She's also wearing my boobholder, which I'm kinda sorta working on again. I'll talk about that sometime when I'm concentrating on it more.

Although I feel like Windex is taking so long, the positive thing about it is that I've gotten some muscle memory with knitting the pattern that I didn't expect. I always thought that I would have to at least half-consciously say the pattern to myself as I was knitting, but it's truly become second nature. This gives me hope that not only are my skills improving, but that I can move into more complex stitch pattern territory. Rockin'.

In the interest of full disclosure, I also wanted to show some recent stash acquisitions.

summerstashy

Ok, it looks like a lot but much of it was given to me as a gift. That huge ball of purple "yarn" (really, more like roving rope) and six skeins of America's alpacaa Classic Alpaca DK were given to me by an incredibly nice coworker. She was on an alpaca farm while on vacation in Oregon and knew she couldn't leave without getting me some yarn. This is in exchange for giving her some knitting lessons, which I'll do with pleasure! I have a perfect amount of alpaca in just the right gauge to make Ms. Marigold.

The Rowan Cotton Tape and Kidsilk Haze were obtained at a 2nd anniversary sale at Stitch DC. Lolly's gorgeous Carla sweater is so hip and inspiring that I decided to get the Cotton Tape at a closeout discount to...well, you know what they say about imitation. I'll hold off on casting on until August, for a Project Spectrum neutral-colored knit.

The book is Barbara Abbey's Complete Book of Knitting, which was a total score at a local used bookstore. It mostly has instruction but there are two sections that are particularly interesting: a whole part on knitting with ribbon and a fairly comprehensive stitch dictionary. That latter part has got the wheels moving in my head for some cool designs...

I'll hope that I have time to create all the designs I have in my head soon. Until then, I'm goin' back to knitting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Two Yay for Me Moments! 

In my dad's many work collaborations with Texans, he has picked up a phrase: "It ain't braggin' if ya done it." I got two little moments of recognition that I wanted to share.

The first: My Project Spectrum blue photocollage was featured on DC Blogs daily DC Blogs Noted for being a "clever take" on the city. Cool!

The second: My suggestion for Mama E's July Project Spectrum Yarn is one of the finalists! As of this posting, my suggestion, "Violet Femmes," is in second place by only one vote! If I win, I get a free skein of the yarn! If you read this posting before 9PM and haven't voted yet, be sure to vote for VIOLET FEMMES!!

In knitting, I finished my socks for dad and I'm thisclose to finishing the first side of Blue Windex. I'll show them to you soon.

ETA: I didn't quite win the whole shebang but I'm getting a wonderful consolation prize of Mama E's handdyed sock yarn! Yay!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Looking for the Blues 

As I walked around DC looking through the Project Spectrum lens, I found that I live in a very blue city. This is true in more ways than one, as you can see from the overwhelming results of the 2004 election. Indeed, we know that we're going to have a Democratic mayor in the upcoming election, it's just a matter of which of the twelve or so Democratic candidates will win the primary.

From politics to aesthetics, here's some DC blues.

Project Spectrum Blue Mosaic

In other fun, I did these meme that I saw over at Mindy's and had to post the results.

1-Put your music player on shuffle.
2-Press forward for each question.
3-Use the song title as the answer to the question.

How am I feeling today?
Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley

Will I get far in life?
Moving, Supergrass

How do my friends see me?
M.O.R, Blur (In the song, this stands for middle of the road. Do my friends see me as a force of moderation?)

When will I get Married?
Eon, Supergrass (Ha! Yeah, I'm comfortable with that timeline)

What is my best friend's theme song?
The Red Telephone, Love

What is the story of my life?
Last Nite, The Strokes

What was high school like?
Du E For Fin For Mig, Dungen (yes, this was a very confusing time for me)

How am I going to get ahead in life?
No. 13 Baby, the Pixies (no, I will not be having 13 babies and no that will not help me get ahead!!!!)

What is the best thing about me?
Writing to Reach you, Travis (Not true, I am a poor correspondent)

How is today going to be?
Me and a Gun, Tori Amos (It wasn't THAT bad, I hope I can keep my anger in check)

What is in store for this weekend?
Cosmic Dancer, T.Rex (I did go dancing the day after I did this meme)

What song describes my parents?
Tombstone, Peaches (Um, thank God no)

What song describes your grandparents?
Lucky, Radiohead (? Because they're all dead?)

How is my life going?
Margin Walker, Fugazi

What song will they play at my funeral?
Panic, The Smiths

How does the world see me?
Buggin' Out, A Tribe Called Quest

Will I have a happy life?
Meet Ze Monsta, PJ Harvey (I'll take that as a no)

What do my friends really think of me?
Stretch Out and Wait, The Smiths

Do people secretly lust after me?
Jeepster, T.Rex (whaaaat?)

How can I make myself happy?
Rock the House, Gorillaz

What should I do with my life?
Monkey Gone to Heaven, the Pixies (Morbid advice)

Will I ever have children?
The Cage, Travis (That's what having kids will put you in, ha!)

What is some good advice for me?

Why Don't We Do It in the Road? The Beatles (indeed)

What is my signature dancing song?
Here Comes Your Man, the Pixies

What do I think my current theme song is?
Is This It? The Strokes (so, so true)

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
I Wish I Had an Evil Twin, the Magnetic Fields

What type of men/women do you like?
Girl, Tori Amos (should I tell Cobra about this?)

What kind of kisser are you?
What? A Tribe Called Quest

What's your style?
Belle and Sebastian, Belle and Sebastian

What kind of lover are you?
Desculpe, Babe, Os Mutantes (I think this means "forgive me"...yeah, that doesn't sound too good)

What would be playing on a first date?
I'm Tongue-Tied, The Magnetic Fields

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Strange News from Another Star, Blur (I should talk to Heather about how I can hook up with NASA on this one)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Catch-Up 

Sometimes I feel like this blog could be subtitled "summary of my weekends with no mention of the time in between," which I don't necessarily like but, ya know, I work during the week and stuff. Unfortunately this post will perpetuate that aspect but hey, a girl's got to show what she has pictures of, right?
You may have seen over at the aforementioned Lolly's place that we had a lovely time together getting a tasty lunch at Teaism and partaking in the Celebration of Textiles at the Textile Museum a bit back.

IMG_2579

One of our commonalities: we cannot pass a doggie by without saying hello.

We got to the museum a bit late in the day so we unfortunately didn't have time to take in the current exhibitions. However, we did spend plenty of time in the tents set up in the back garden taking in and pondering the exhibitions of the different forms of textile craft, including weaving, dyeing, spinning, knitting and Oriental rug restoration. I was most fascinated by the Oriental rugs, as I had no idea that each individual tuft must be handknotted, causing each rug to take months to make. The tiny, precise work amazed me.

IMG_2583

This weaving may appear to be a jumble of fibers and colors, but it actually contains a code for those who know how to look for it. A special loom that puts braille text into woven fabric was invented by a woman who works at a school for the blind in Maryland, as she was there explaining how it worked and how to decode the message. I didn't hear the full explanation but learned that this fabric says "Peace." Cool, eh?

Lolly and I made a quick stop Future Green to marvel at all of the eco-friendly home supplies and pick up a few gifts (including one for myself, a lovely set of Peace Fleece needles). That weekend was rounded out by a quick visit to a little health and neighborhood fair at a local park and a Sunday visit to Stitch n Bitch.

Zooming ahead to this past weekend (and ignoring the dinners out with co-workers, Thursday SnB at Caribou Coffee, and Shabbat dinner at Eric's house on Friday night), I got to do some amazing shopping on Saturday morning. It was extra special shopping, because there were about five yard sales going on around my neighborhood. Of course, I totally scored some cheap loot.

yard sale finds

A red leather jacket, a pin and an awesome adjustable dressmaker's (or knitter's) dummy, all for $26! I like to call the dummy my twin because it's mostly set to my measurement. I look to throw her in Cobra's face and freak him out. He says I totally have a better rack, though.

I also scored a great deal on a desk, which we spent most of Sunday setting up in our little office. It makes for a nice little workspace from where I'm now blogging. I'll put up some pics of that room and our whole little place when it's a bit more organized.

Of course, knitting has been progressing over at Casa Pink Monkey. Orangina is further along than when you last saw her, although I'm still on the front. I don't know if it's the lace or the needle size or what, but that project is a bit of a knitting black hole.

orangina progress

It looks different from everyone else's because it's made in the SWTC Bamboo yarn. At first I had a bit of a complex about this but now I like it.

My knitting monogamous ways have been challenged lately and my progress on this top was hampered by the fact that I - lo and behold - started another project.

dad's sock

I'm not feeling guilty for starting this because it's really an act of generosity - I'm knitting a pair of socks for my dad for father's day. They're the Thuja socks and they're made with a very subtly shaded color of Artyarns Supermerino. If you're looking for the best sock pattern EVER, I'd recommend this one. It goes so quickly and has some texture to it, but is very simple. It's like you knit thoughtlessly for a while and Woo, you end up with a sock.

Unfortunately, they're not going quite fast enough as I just cast on the second one today, so I think that this gift, like my mother's day one, will be tardy. It's the thought that counts, right? Especially with a handknit, right???

Um, before I quickly go back to knitting on the sock, I'll point your attention to the fact that both of these projects are blue. So, in an announcement that I'm sure will please Lolly to the bottom of her heart, I've decided to join the last 2 1/2 months of Project Spectrum. Hooray for being a joiner!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Banks Where You Can't Make Withdrawals 

OBX mosaic

The title refers to the pun my father made when he was talking to me about our trip. Although we couldn't make any withdrawals at the Outer Banks, Cobra and I had a really wonderful time there just like last year.

When we first drove down that Saturday night, it seemed like there might be a hitch to the trip. I was hoping we'd be able to stay with a friend who lives along the way that night but I never heard from her, so we just decided to haul all the way down. When we arrived around midnight, we took a few minutes to do Cobra's favorite OBX activity: driving on the beach. It was an amazing moment because the stars were so bright and clear, we could actually see the Milky Way. Plus, there were some bioluminescent creatures in the sand so that everytime we took a step, it glowed. There were just beautiful glowing sparkles all around us. By the time we tore ourselves away from this spectacle, it was way late and, being a huge travel weekend, there was no vacancy at any of the motels or campsites we visited. It became comical after a while, we would pull into a place, see a "no vacancy" sign and turn right around. After seeing that the Cape Hatteras campsite was full along with the 10 other places we looked, we just drove back out onto the beach and luckily, found a group of vans parked out there. We pulled into the middle of the cars, pulled out our blankets, and slept in the bed of the pick-up. Surprisingly, more comfortable than it sounds.
After securing a motel room for the next night, the real fun began. The good part about this trip was that, in addition to the fun on the beach, the weather and the discovery of some new parts of the area got us to do some more varied activities. We played lots of Aerobie Sprint to get ourselves warmed up before going in the water. I read most of this book, and we also took some time to play up on the famous dunes that made the Wright Brothers famous. the two sand pictures above are from there, and here's a shot of the students at the hang gliding school practicing their take offs.

hang gliding school

We also spent some time at the attractions on Roanoke Island, which historically was the site of the first English colony in the New World in the late 1500's. We ate dinner, checked out some of the shops and wandered a bit around the waterfront park in Manteo. We also saw the beautiful flora at the Elizabethan Gardens and fauna at the NC Aquarium. Weren't we just the perfect tourists? We even had the perfect tourist fakey we're-having-so-much-fun smiles!

fakey pic

After a relaxing and delicioius stay at the Island House of Wanchese, we felt like we were gone from home for way more than three days. The area has some pretty strong contradictions - people there have money, but there's also a strong shall we say, lacking in class element. It has some really cheesy parts and there are cars all over parts of the beach, but it also has much protected natural beauty. Plus, I will never get over how strange the huge wooden beach "cottages" on stilts look, with strange balconies justting our everywhere and their unpainted wooden shingles. Despite all of this, the area turned me into a beach vacation lover, which I never was before.

Oh yeah, I did a few rows on my Orangina, but didn't make too much progress. I'll hopefully get some pics up this weekend. Have a good one.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Luxurious Lavender-filled Eyebag Pattern 

eyebag edit

Having experienced the relaxing qualities of a lavender-filled eye bag in my yoga classes, I decided to test my nascent design skills by making one myself. In addition to being simply constructed and a great introduction to cables, this pattern is also a great excuse to buy or use only one skein of a luxurious yarn; a small skein of handspun would fit this pattern perfectly!

Yarn: 1 ball Karabella Aurora 8 (100% merino wool, 50 g/98 yards) I only used 1/2 - 2/3 of the ball

Needles: size 8. DPNS, 2 circulars or 1 long circular to use for your preferred method of knitting in the round. I recommend 2 circulars because you can use the resting needle as a cable needle.

Notions: Darning needle, cable needle or dpn, non-wool waste yarn, old pair of pantyhose or trouser socks, approximately 1 cup flax seeds or small beans (mung, split peas, etc), approximately 1/4 cup lavender flowers

Gauge: Mine turned out to be 5.5 sts/in, but it isn't very important. Use a needle appropriate for the yarn.

Finished dimensions: Approximately 2.5" by 9"

IMG_2554

Instructions:
CO 16 st and work 4 rows in St st, starting with a RS row. Next row: K 16, pick up 4 sts on left side of knitted piece, pu 16 sts on CO edge, pu 4 sts on right side. PM and begin knitting in the round, working 1 row in St st.

Start Cable pattern:

Rows 1-8: *K8, P2, K8, P2, repeat from *

Row 9: *C8B, P2, C8F, P2, repeat from *

Row 10: *K8, P2, K8, P2, repeat from *

C8F = Slip 4 sts. onto a cable needle and hold to front of work. K4, then K the 4 sts. off cable needle.

C8B = Slip 4 sts. onto a cable needle and hold to back of work. K4, then K the 4 sts. off cable needle.

Work Cable Pattern 6 times or until pouch is desired length. Slip next 24 sts onto non-wool waste yarn. Returning to straight knitting, work next 16 sts in St st for 5 rows, then slip those sts onto waste yarn. Cut yarn, leaving about a foot long tail.

Wash and block pouch to desired dimensions. Cut pantyhose or sock to about 3/4" shorter than pouch length. Mix seeds or beans and lavender flowers, and fill pantyhose or sock about three-quarters full. Knot the top securely and carefully stuff sock into knitted pouch. Using yarn tail, put in a few back stitches on right side of knitted piece, graft stitches on waste yarn and put in a few more back stitches on left side.

Lay back, put the bag over your eyes, breath in the fresh scent and push all those thoughts out of your mind. Aaaahhhh.....



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