Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Taking Advantage 

Over the last month, I became increasingly aware that my time here in DC was limited. There are so many wonderful cultural and political resources in this area, many of which I've never been to in my six and a half years of living here, that I knew that I had to take advantage of before I left. The first on my list was the...
visionary art sign

AVAM in Baltimore. Lolly had never been there either, so I was able to convince her to come along with me. This museum is unlike any other art museum I've ever been to. It's entirely devoted to artwork from untrained artists. many of whom were mentally ill, had religious visions or just had an innate urge to create. Any crafter can understand this need to see your ideas turn into tangible objects. What may distinguish these artists from others is their intense devotion to seeing their artistic visions realized, despite limitations of time and materials. I wasn't able to take pictures inside but here are some shots from the sculpture garden.

animal sculpture

mirror portrait

While some of the artwork had a humorous side to it (taxidermied prairie dogs covered in sequins!), much of it was deeply moving in a way I'd never experienced in an art museum. I admired the dedication of the artists, like the one who created a richly detailed model of the Lusitania from 193,000 matchsticks and the anonymous mental patient who whittled a self portrait from a piece of cherry wood before committing suicide two years later. The works at this museum are unconventional and spring from true emotions - I highly recommend a visit.

This week also marked the beginning of the fifth year of the American occupation of Iraq. To commemorate this date and express my continued disdain for this country's policies in Iraq, I joined in the march to the Pentagon last weekend. While participating in this event may have taken me away from some of the packing I needed to do, it was important to me to publicly express my views to our leaders. It won't be so easy for me to to join a political march in the middle of the Nation's Capitol anymore!
march3

Those papers on the ground were tax forms, and they covered the highway in Virginia. I didn't know if it was part of the protest or if someone was really pissed about doing their taxes.

march2

Across the street, you can see some of the counter-protesters who joined us at the Lincoln Memorial that day. While media accounts portrayed them as having a cohesive argument in support of the president, I didn't find them too eloquent when they started yelling gay epithets at the gentleman pictured when he started waving his flag. Nor did I think showing them my tits, as they entreated, would add to the dialogue about the justness of this war.

Bush and Cheney Love

I've participated in many events and marches over the years, so I'm sad I won't be able to attend these events with too much frequency in the future. Fortunately, it looks like they're pretty good at protesting in Seattle, too.

Of course, the knitting continues despites these diversions. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed my newest handknit in Lolly's post about our trip to the museum.


Lacy Rib Cowl

Lace Rib Cowl from The Purl Bee.
Unknown skein of white 100% Silk
Size 6 Denise Needles

First of all, if you are interested in any fiber arts, you must check out the Purl Bee immediately. I've found so many wonderful ideas and patterns on there in the short time it's been around.

Instead of using the suggested cashmere yarn, I used a skein of white 100% silk that was calling to me from the stash. Hooray for stash busting! Because the yarn was a heavier gauge than suggested, I simply guessed at the cast-on number. Unfortunately, the number I chose, 150, was still a bit too much and the cowl is a bit too big. I like it pinned like this, however, because it makes it look like a cravat.

When I first started knitting this, it was a bit like a battle. The inelasticity of the yarn and the lace pattern did not go together well. My hand would be sore after knitting a few rounds. Finally, my hands loosened and this became much more enjoyable to knit. I finished it with EZ's sewn cast off to ensure proper stretchiness.
It's the perfect spring accessory and adds a touch of class to any outfit!

While I'm fitting in time to see some more friends this week, my time to take advantage of all that's in DC is running short. I'm getting through most of the packing in the next two or three days. Cobra flies back tomorrow, yay! The plan as of right now is that we'll be heading out of town on Thursday morning, have a two day stay with my aunt in Chicago, and arrive in Seattle by early next week. Wow, it still all seems so unreal.

I have no idea what my life is going to be like for the next few weeks, but I'll try to get back here as soon as possible. I'll definitely try to at least post pictures on my Flickr page, so check there to see where I'm at.

I hope you all find renewal and hope in this time of Spring and that your needles keep on clicking!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Project Spectrum Ups and Downs 

First of all, I want to thank everyone who left such wonderful wishes for my move and compliments on my stockings. The positive feedback that I've gotten about the move, particularly from current Seattlites, is so encouraging and really makes me feel like we made the right decision. Not to mention that everyone who's contacted me seeems so nice and has been so willing to provide information. It certainly speaks well of a community when the residents are so giving to newcomers. I've also had an opportunity to check out many new-to-me blogs from first-time commenters, and it feels great to expand my virtual knitting circle.

The latest Seattle news is that Cobra has found us an apartment! It's smaller than our place in DC but it costs way less and, best of all, has a balcony with a view! I'm so excited to sit out there, knit and look at the mountains. You can see a picture from C's camera phone here. He's had a very postive experience at his new job so far and has even gotten to meet his motorcycling hero, Helge Pedersen.

I've had some successes of my own, though they are more of the knitting variety. Back in February, my mom mentioned that she could use some mittens to warm her very cold hands. Her and my dad started a regiment of walking around their neighborhood while he was in cancer treatment, and have stuck with this almost daily exercise, even though my dad is well and could return to his usual running schedule. Her evening walks were becoming more of a chore because she wasn't adequately outfitted for the elements. Knitter daughter to the rescue!

I dug through my stash and found a beautiful, hand dyed ball of Colinette Skye, a sturdy wool yarn that I got at last year's blogger yarn swap. I consulted the work of the high priestess, Knitting Without Tears, and whipped out a pair of 36 Stitch Mittens.

Mittens

While these were certainly functional and warm, Mom said that she wanted some that were extra warm and extra soft. Plus, I wanted to wanted to give them some Project Spectrum flavor. So, I went back to the stash and found a ball of light blue GGH Kid Mohair I got at the same stash swap.

Mitten Lining

I picked up stitches from the cast-on edge and knit a lining for the mittens. And, they are perfect. These are the cupcake of the knitting world. They whip up quickly, have infinite potential for individuality and satisfy the craving for a small treat. Knitting the lining was like putting on the essential frosting layer that makes it so much sweeter.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the same good luck with another Project Spectrum knit that I embarked on. You may recall that I started a mohair version of a French Girl Pattern. Well, that project has been completed, in a way...

crop top


You may notice that the top looks pretty short in comparions to its width. Well, that's because it is. Even though the pattern indicated that 570 yards would be enough for a top in my size, it fell grossly short. I would like to reuse this yarn, possibly for the layered tube shawl/scarf from Alterknits, but I'm not too thrilled with the idea of trying to rip out double-stranded mohair.

By the way, what's the easiest way to wind a double-stranded yarn back into a single-stranded ball? I've had some trouble trying to do that before.

Despite this set-back, I am knitting on, because life does indeed go on.

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