Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wherein I Learned First Hand that New York is the City that Never Sleeps 

I've had to spend this whole week recovering from my trip to NYC. Well, not really but I will say that while I did many things on this trip, sleep was not really one.

My trip started last Friday, when I traveled to New Haven, CT to meet my friend Mono. After I arrived, we did a walking tour through the main part of town and passed by the scarily medieval-looking, fenced off Yale campus. For dinner, we had the best pizza I've ever had in my life; the flavors of our veggie toppings were so full and distinct. This pizza alone was worth the trip. The cannoli afterwards wasn't half bad, either. That evening, we headed over to a local art gallery to see an exhibit called "Don't Know Much about History." Definitely a good introduction to a city that I found to be bigger and more economically mixed than I originally expected.

We got up and were out the door by 7AM the next morning. Why would we subject ourselves to such torture on a Saturday? Well, my visit was very well-timed because I was in town the exact morning that a local landmark was going to be destroyed. Here's my footage:



Even though I'd never been to New Haven before, it was great to gather with (and freeze with) the locals. Some dudes even brought some beer to drink...at 7AM. If you ever get the chance to see a building implode, I'd highly recommend it as it's an amazing sight.

What I didn't anticipate (but should have if I really thought it through) was that a haze of debris and soot would sail over to our area just a few short seconds after the building fell.

debris 2

debris 3

The joke for the weekend was that whenever one of us coughed, we said something along the lines of "Sorry about that, I just have a little Coliseum stuck in my throat." Yum.

After the momentous implosion, we felt ready to move on to the big city - Brooklyn, here we come to meet up with Mono's sister, S! I was excited to be visiting Brooklyn for the first time, mostly because I suspected I could get kickass bagels there. And indeed, we did fill out bellies with warm carbiness topped with tofu spread soon after we arrived in town. Again, worth the trip (DC really doesn't have any good fresh bagel places).

After refueling, we headed into Manhattan to check out the Guggenheim, the first visit to the museum for all three of us.

Guggenheim Mosaic

I follow in my parents' footsteps by being a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, so of course I have to say that being inside this building is wonderful. Unfortuntely, they were renovating the outside, so we couldn't really see the beehive shape against the other New York buildings. Being inside, however, and finding all the various nooks was fun. The spiraling ramp really gives you the ability to explore many different perspectives. I loved being able to look at a painting, then step towards the barrier (but not too close - I have a little heights thing) and look back into the core of the building and all of the layers of people around me. We saw a wonderful exhibit of Spanish paintings from El Greco to Dali.

Because of my Knit from my Stash resolution, I didn't want to give in to the temptation of going to a yarn store. But, I did think it would be fun to feed one of my other craft stashes: buttons! So we headed down to the fashion district and began our search. I should note here that I totally dorked out when we walked past the Atlas building, where the Project Runway Contestants live. Our first stop was a wonderful bead store called Toho Shoji (apparantly their only location outside of Asia). I picked up this:

leaf pendant

This is a real leaf dipped/covered in a metallic silver material. I love how you can see all the veins on the life, and how it's multi-dimensional. I think it will make a great necklace, but the hole is really small and I haven't been able to get a chain through.

Heading up 6th Avenue, our next stop was M&J Trimming. They were closing shortly after we arrive, so we only got to look in the button section. That was enough, though and we all left with little packages filled with buttons to use in our crafts.

buttons

We were getting pretty hungry at that point, so we headed over to my favorite vegetarian restaurant in the city, Zen Palate. The food, and we ate enough of it to know, surpassed all of my memories. Sesame medallions, I love you.

For our evening entertainment, we decided to head back to Brooklyn and check out the Trash bar. They were having Rock Star Karaoke that night, which is karaoke with a live band. It sounded pretty rockin', so we decided to check it out.

friends at karaoke

karaoke

I ended getting a bit more involved than I originally anticipated. After about two hours of folks singing songs individually in normal karaoke fashion, the whole thing dissolved into a huge group singalong. So we all kept singing, and dancing, and generally rocking out (and for my friends, drinking). Next thing we knew, it was last call at the bar, which is 4AM in NY. Woops. By the time we got home and started chatting like little girls at a slumber party, it was dawn before we got to sleep. Again, totally worth the trip.

Sunday was definitely much more uneventful. We got a late start and grabbed a super cheap brunch at a local luncheonette. We checked out some of the shops on Bedford Ave in Brooklyn, and I found this awesome pin at the Mini Minimarket:

pin


We stopped back at the Bagelsmith for me to grab a hafl dozen to go, then we headed back to the city towards Port Authority so that I could catch a bus home.

My visit was short but packed with so much fun. I'm aching to get back at some point, but I have no idea when that will be. I'm sure the city holds many more suprises and delights for me.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What I've Begun 

I've really been trying for weeks to be able to put together a post about what I've finished, but the proper coordination of daylight, model and photographer has not yet happened. Annoying.
I can, however, show what I've started. I was very excited at the turn of the new year to start some new projects and they're indeed proving to be promising.

start brigitte

This is the Brigitte top from French Girl Designs; soft, feminine and lacey in a doubled strand of Karabella Lace Mohair. I'm a bit farther along now than I was when I took this picture and will be starting the waist shaping soon. This top will certainly be just a wisp of a thing, totally impractical. I hope I'll have some special occasion where I can sport it, however, and feel eminently touchable in the feathery fineness of this yarn. Let's hope I have enough of it!

jigsaw sock

Although not entirely clear in this picture, this is actually a sock (which I've now finished). When I stayed at my aunt's house for Thanksgiving, she specifically asked for a pair of hand knit socks as her Hanukkah present. I get few requests for hand knits from my family, so I was more than happy to oblige her, especially since she has been my lifelong spoiler. Her trip to Africa for two months has given me the opportunity to turn out a pair and have them waiting for her in time for her return. My progress has been slow, but I still have 3 or 4 more weeks until she comes back.

The stitch pattern I'm using necessitates a good blocking, but you can get a better look at it here. I originally saw this pattern in my copy of Barbara Abbey's Complete Book of Knitting. I fell in love with it immediately and thought it would make a great pair of socks. Unfortunately, when I tried to swatch with the pattern as written in the book, the stitch counts all seemed to be off and I couldn't make heads or tails of how to proceed. I was very disappointed until I stumbled onto this entry over at Ysolda's. With her clear chart, my sock dreams were resurrected. If I write the pattern up on the blog, would you be interested in having it?

I'm using the Tess' Super Sock and Baby that I got at MDS&W, and it is just as wonderful as I've heard it is. The colors aren't totally accurate in this picture, they are so much brighter in real life. The yarn is nice and stretchy but certainly feels like it will be resilient. The only downside is that the color is bleeding onto my hands, a problem I've had with their yarns before. Once these get a good rinse, however, I think it will be worth it.

liz ridge

I've been slowly working on this Lizard Ridge block as well. I just started it on Sunday because, after being inside for most of the day, I craved that beautiful burst of Noro color. This colorway (#90) is delivering with its mix of purples, greens, mauves and blues.

I may have gotten farther on these projects if not for some of the extracurriculars I did over this past long weekend. The most notable was the film screening Cobra and I went to on Sunday night; we went to see the new David Lynch movie Inland Empire at the AFI Silver Theater. I was particularly excited to see that particular showing because David Lynch was there in person to introduce the movie! Sorry, it was late and I forgot my camera. He did so by reciting a poem type thing while he and another fellow played a tune on some keyboards. Frankly, he could have gone up there and done a gymnastics routine, and it would have been an appropriate introduction for this film. I tend to like David Lynch because he puts random, dream (or nightmare)-like sequences in his movies to make them creepy, brutal, dark and burned into the memory. This film, however, had about 40 minutes of narrative, then was mostly composed of thematic yet random sequences. For another two hours and twenty minutes. It was a bit hard to take, but I tried to just let it wash over and roll with the Alice In Wonderland in Hollywood world it was presenting. Not a movie for everyone, but it was an experience to see it and Cobra and I have been talking about it all week. There's certainly fertile ground for debate of what it's actually about. The most notable aspect of this film, however, is that it captures the qualities of a dream more accurately than I've ever seen in any medium. You can hear a radio story about the movie here.

This weekend, I'll be visiting New York for the first time since March, 2001! Well, I had dinner in the city before I flew to Israel in June, 2004 but that doesn't quite count. I'm sure it will be a pretty different experience to be there now, but I'm really excited to return there. Whether I'll stop at any yarn stores is still up for debate; it may depend on where I go with my friends. I'll be sure to give you the full report next week.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ebb and Flow 

In 2005, I didn't have much expendable income, so knitting-wise, I mostly made due with what I had and bought yarn for specific projects. In 2006, things were a little better, and I had the opportunity to attend multiple fiber and knitting related events, the most orgy-like being MD Sheep and Wool and Stitches East. In 2006, I wanted to buy. I wanted to stash, and my backlog has grown. This is the year I want to whittle it back down.*

knitstash

In my stash, I have yarn for at least 7 sweaters, 3 tops, 8 pairs of socks, 7 various accessories with patterns in mind, plus lots of random bits and bobs that may or may not have projects assigned to them. Definitely enough to keep me occupied for a while! I'm sure most of you are familiar with the general rules of this project, but I'm going to add a few of my own modifications:

1) I will not buy yarn from January 1st until April 15th.
2) Sock yarn does count.
3)I am allowed to fall off the wagon one time, but only for a really unique yarn or great bargain.
4) A charitable donation must be made if I fall off the wagon.

There will certainly be some upcoming temptations, including the Springwater Superbowl Sale and an upcoming trip to New York, but I hope I can find the will the resist making purchases and use up what I have.

Luckily, I have some fun new skeins to start the project off with, so it shouldn't be too painful.

laura's gifts

I was the 1,000th commenter over at Laura's blog, and she sent me this wonderful package as a prize. In the back, you can see a wonderful little handknit purse, complete with lining and zipper. I plan to fill this with lavendar and flax seeds leftover from my eyebag and store it with my sweaters as a sachet. She also included a large measuring tape, a glass model of a Hershey's Kiss, ribbon with knitting hands on it (perfect for a needle case), and, best of all, a skein of laceweight, handdyed by Toni. Laura specially chose this yarn for me as it included all the colors I said I'm liking these days. These are all great treates; thanks so much, Laura!

Clearly, December was my lucky month as I also won a contest over at Chawne's blog.

chawne prizes

She sent a sample packet of Soak woolwash, her Moo (how fun would it be for knitbloggers to create and swap these?) and a skein of Yarn Pirate merino/tencel sock yarn in Semi-Precious. I've been secretly coveting this yarn for a while, so I'm very anxious to try it out.

I made one last purchase before the year ended to get me through the long slog (I blame it on Aija, who alerted me to the sale at Yarn4Socks).

kureyon 184

1 skein of Noro Kureyon in color 184, meaning I now have yarn for at least 3 more Lizard Ridge Squares.

black purl

Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Black Purl. I have long coveted this yarn in this colorway, so I couldn't resist when it went on sale. I'm looking forward to knitting with this well-reviewed yarn for the first time.

The stashbusting has already commenced! Long may it live!

*I also have a secret fear that a fire is going to start in my apartment and all my yarn will be destroyed. If I use up my stash, there's less to burn in the fire. Phew!