Pink Monkey Knits

Using my opposable thumbs to knit up a storm!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Saw the Flock, I Took the Fiber 

As I alluded previously, I did make some very nice purchases at OFFF. Before I show you those, however, I have to give a big thank you to Voxless over on Ravelry. Over in the Cast On, Rock Out group(which is always looking for new members!), I hosted a Rock Out with your Socks Out Yarn and CD swap. Voxless was my partner and provided me with enough beautiful, handdyed yarn to make two pairs of socks.

Shibui Sock

Two skeins Shibui Knits Sock in Sky.

Jitterbug

One Skein of Colinette Jitterbug in Mist.

Thanks so much, Voxless, for this beautiful yarn, the rockin' CD and the delicious mini Hershey's bars (that are now gone).

Receiving these yarns capped off what had already been a big week in fiber for me. Here's what I had gotten just a few days previously at the festival.

Rare Gems

STR Lightweight in Rare Gems.

Clover Honey

Blue Moon Seduction in Oregon Red Clover Honey. Lots of blog folks have been into this particular colorway. I liked it, but didn't feel compelled to take it home with me until I saw it in this tencel blend yarn. The sheen just makes it truly honey-esque.

Cobalt

Chameleon Colorworks Evolution in Cobalt, 3 skeins. Are you familiar with Optim stretched Merino? I wasn't until I met this yarn. Essentially, the fiber goes through a process where it's stretched to the fineness of cashmere (here's a review of a similar, more expensive yarn). Seek the Optim stretching and make it your friend, for it makes an already soft merino into a delight.

Sweet Grass Wool

Sweet Grass Wool 2ply in Medium Natural Blend, 7 skeins. This yarn is made from Targhee fleece, which is a squooshy yet hardy wool. I have plans for this yarn that I'll discuss later.

The one goodie that I didn't get a photo of is a soft and beautiful caramel-colored 4 oz of 50% camel/50% Tussah silk roving from Crown Mountain Farms. Now, you may remember that I don't spin, which raises the question of why I would buy such a thing, as beautiful as it may be.

The answer lies in a strange confluence of knit bloggerdom. Earlier that work, I'd started my new job. My new boss found out that I was a knitter, so when she was showing me around on my first day, she told me there was a like-minded person I should meet. She introduced me to Elaine, who instantly introduced herself to me as someone who knits, spins, dyes yarn and works in a yarn shop. How wonderful to have an ally like this at work!

Elaine introduced me to some of my work duties later on that day. After we finished talking business, we of course had to discuss our particular knitting affinities. We then got to talking about online knitting content and blogs. She said that she used to keep a blog but has since moved on, and I divulged that I, too, have one. Well, it turns out that in my search for other Seattlites, I had read her blog before! I was just meeting her, but I already knew her!

We share an office, so we now have morning show and tell sessions of our projects (she's much more prolific than I am). We discuss blogs and yarn and fiber and plenty of other life things, too. I told her I'd pick up something for her from the festival, if she liked, and she sent me on a mission for an exotic fiber. Thankfully, she was pleased with my choice.

Not only do I have a new friend, but I feel that this coincidence underlies my good decision-making in taking this job and coming to this beautiful corner of the world. I hope to have more great acquisitions and opportunities for friendship at next year's festival.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flocking to the Fiber 

On Saturday, Melissa and I headed down to the cute town of Canby, OR for the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. After missing MD Sheep and Wool so narrowly this year, I was glad I could get my cute-barnyard-animals-and-fresh-from-the-producer-yarn fix at some point this year.

Melissa

The festival was a very manageable size and perfect for a day trip like ours; there were two large buildings filled with vendors and a few additional ones outside. Of course, the glut of yarn choices was a bit overwhelming, but we had plenty of time to shop and take in the sights in the five or so hours we were there.

One of the best parts about an event like this is the chance it gives to socialize with other wool-obsessed crafters. We ran into Valerie and Katrina, who we previously met at a Seattle Ravelry meetup, in the crowded Blue Moon booth. They later generously provided me with some refreshment in the form of kettle corn.

Val and Kat

They also informed me that you can buy Sofia Coppola brand Champagne in small pink cans that come with straws. Surprising and important information.
I also said hi to Sarah in the Crown Mountain Farms booth; during a quick jaunt down to Portland the previous week, I'd actually briefly met her at Knit/Purl. Still, exciting to meet the Zimmermania founder!

We spent a good amount of time wandering the barns and seeing all of the precious fiber animals, including sheep, goats, rabbits, llamas, alpacas and even camels and yaks.

Young Yak

Sheep

Peeking Goat

Bunny Love

Sheep Butts

Unfortunately, none of my pictures of the bizarre alpaca agility competition came out. We stumbled upon this while grabbing some lunch. This was somewhat similar to dog agility in that the animals' owners led them through a series of obstacles, but it was way slower and had some strange tasks. For instance, the alpacas had to stand with just their front legs in a big bowl of fleece. Does anyone know why they would do this?

To answer the obvious question, I did buy yarn, all unique and beautiful. I'll have to share that another day, however, since some of my purchases have stories to go along with them.

The day was made additionally special because I was able to wear a fresh off the needles knit for all to see.

Sizzle at 4H

sizzle side

Delicious Sizzle
Artfibers Galicia, colorway 6
Size 7 needles

When I say fresh off the needles, I mean I knit the last armband and wove in the ends on the car ride down! Despite my last minute rush, I was actually sad to see this project end. I can't say enough good things about this yarn; seriously, it's the best yarn ever. The color is beautiful and given some depth by the differing shades of each of the three strands that compose the yarn. The hand and drape are divine. The wool and mohair give a slight bit of warmth and halo while the silk has a beautiful sheen. The yarn is truly the best of all worlds. I have a good amount left over and will be searching for a beautiful pattern with which to use it.

Wendy's pattern is clear, well-written and produces a beautiful staple garment. On Ravelry, a few people had said that theirs turned out too large. I was between sizes, so I knit the smaller one and put additional increases in for the bust. This strategy helped me achieve a really wonderful fit.

Galicia Stitches

You may notice that I put a small keyhole into the neckband. This was once of those mistakes-becoming-a-design-feature moments. I didn't go deep enough into the neck "v" when I was picking up stitches, so I ended up with a lining that was quite short of an overlap. I decided just to stitch up the top and call it a day. Since I increased the length of the band to make the top a bit more modest, I think the keyhole gives a bit of sexiness to the top. This was a great knit to debut at the fest!

Hopefully, I'll get to return next year for another day of fun, with another great fitting sweater.

Rodeo Queens

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taking in the Surrondings 

I've spent the last few weeks trying to make the most of the beautiful Seattle summer days, hence why I've been so quiet over here on the blog. My parents came to visit me for the first time here in my new home and I managed to show them a pretty good time beyond some of the usual tourist attractions. Since they were here over Labor Day weekend, we decided to spend a day at Bumbershoot, the city's monumental arts and music festival. My dad is into classical music and my mom listens to AM talk radio and occasionally Neil Diamond, so bringing them around to rock shows was definitely a novelty.

Mom and Dad at their first Stadium Rock Show

Tiny Shins!

I'm proud to say I brought them to their first stadium rock show to see The Shins. My mom got a migraine a few minutes into it and had to leave, but dad said he actually like some of it. The Shins must possess some magic rock power to turn my dad into a fan.

The following day, we decided we wanted to get a different perspective on the city, so we took a Seaplane ride around the city. If you ever have the chance to do this, don't hesitate!

Seattle Center

Downtown and Cruise Ship

We Survived

The ride was short but breathtaking. The planes take off from and land in Lake Union in the middle of the city, so instead of feeling like you're flying, it's really like you're taking a special route that no one else knows about that just happens to have great views of the whole area. You can see more of my pictures from both the ride and Bumbershoot here.

I also took my parents down to the International District, where we spent some time in Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore. Of course, I had to check out the excellent craft section and I found a wonderful new pattern book. Unfortunately, it's all in Japanese, so I can't even tell you what it's called! I created a set showing all of the patterns, but here are some of my favorites.

Design 3

Design 17

Design 20

Showing my parents around and telling them about my life here really reiterated to me how lucky I feel to be living here and how much I like it. I was filled with so much pride that I had to knit up a grand object to show my love.

New Home Pride

I'm representing WA now.
Knitted Washington Square
Lily Sugar'n Creme Yarn
Size 8 Needles

Inspired by Sandra's creation, I knit this up in one day. It's resting here right before I used it to clean up some maple syrup that spilled all over my fridge and kitchen floor. Ah, the useful knitted item.

I'm in the middle of a busy week. I started my new job on Monday (and oh boy, it's a good one) and on Saturday, Melissa and I are heading down to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Going there will certainly be a great way to cap off a week of big transition. If you're going and you see me, be sure to say hi!