Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Everyone is a Winner

I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed the different styles incorporated by each of my contest entrants. Lisa, the Bitter Knitter, used a contemporary string of images and phrases to plead her case:

brazen monkey emboldened by the
bottle you clasp
hoist eagerly to your
dipful sipful lips full of booze
bestow on me that mass of string
that Trekking which eludes my grasp
that my toes might clench its colors
my fingers delight as it passes through
onto my most pointy of sticks

Plus, she called me a brazen monkey. That's always good for something.

Lisa will receive two balls of Knit Picks Sock Memories in the Carnival colorway. 100% Merino, 50 grams/192 yards each.


Leone, of the
Land Unknown Blog, took a different approach. She also used a great deal of images, but this time they are used to create first a sense of overwhelming frustration followed by the order and comfort she feels knowing that her knitting is there to calm her.


I cannot be still
here in my bed
with my cats
curled at my feet
I can't sleep

My mind is torn up in fragments
I hear my angry voice outloud
the past scraps of my day,
this past week
are tangled tight and fierce

The moth-eaten sweat-stained acrylic jerk
who tells others lies about me-
the mind numbing garter stitch afghan of work-
the messy tangled nylon fright that is my bedroom-
the ends are all lost
inside of my head.

And then I remember and
I turn on my lamp and
I rise and walk over
to my knitting.
It's all there.

My Mother's turquoise mohair spun soft.
My Father's patriotic red and white scarf.
My sister's purple silk and my best friend's
pure white eygtian cotton shawl.

These form the mosiac shell
that illuminate against my needles
covers me as I rest
slide stitches into memories
keeps me here
my finger's can't forget
and I sleep.


I love that. My knitting is such a comfort to me, too, even if I'm not even working on anything, I know it is there, and I know the love and care that has gone into each piece.

For her efforts, Leone will receive a ball of OnLine Supersocke 100, which is 45% Baumwolle, 40% Schurwolle, and 15% Polyamid. It's 100 grams/380 meters. I love this rainbow colorway, and I hope she does, too.


I'll post the remaining two entries soon. I'll leave you with this:

Chaka says there's nothing quite like a box.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Contest Prizes Re-Thunk

I'll tell you what. If there had been any more contest entries, I would have had to declare a mistrial-contest-failure and cancel the entire thing, crawl into my closet, pull a Red Heart brand, 20 year old afghan over my head and cry till the cows came home.

As it was, there were only five entries. I think my favorite part of this contest was how each of the five entry-ers went about writing their story differently. Honestly, even with only five entries, the decision was/is very difficult. In fact, in the majority of entries, the story/explanation that goes along with the poem (YAY! They're all poems!) is just as intriguing as the poem itself.

So I've made my decision. Well, sort of. Everyone who entered will win a prize. Only one person, of course, can win the Trekking. That will be my grand prize. However, tonight I am going to peruse the stash for four more prizes. (I did just lose my job, you know. I can't just go out and buy you all prizes. hehe.)

However, since I promised to announce the Trekking winner today, I will do so. The winning entry was sent to me by an email address belonging to Todd Brockmeier, though I'm going to have to say (based on the content of the email) that the actual sender of the email is someone related to Todd Brockmeier, and not Todd Brockmeier himself. So, user-of-Todd-Brockmeier's-email-address, you win! Here's the winning entry (in its entirety):

Here's my entry for your contest. Hope you like it! I've never had the privilege of working with Trekking, I've never even been into a Yarn Store (if you don't count Michael's and Hobby Lobby). Anyways, without further ado, here's my poem:

There was a young woman
Who lived in a shoe
She loved spindling and knitting
And making socks too.
(She also had so many kids she didn't know what to do, lol)

She needed some yarn
To make her next pair.
She found a blog contest
With some Trekking to share.

She decided to enter
With a little ditty
"I bet that Trekking yarn
Sure is pretty!"

I hope the Drunken Monkey
Will approve of my rhyme
'Cause my baby is cryin'
And I've run outta time!!!! (:


You see why I have to award her the Trekking, don't you? Sure, the poem is great, but she's NEVER used Trekking! NEVER even been in a real live yarn store!!! Oh my. I weep for you as I pack up your yarn. And yet, my tears are not only of pain, but also of joy, as I send your first (of hopefully many!) ball of REAL sock yarn. Go forth, my lovely, and knit socks!

So all of you... Joy, Leone, Brenda, Lisa, and Todd-Brockmeier-impersonator, send your snail mail addresses to my email: brooketyler2002 AT yahoo DOT com and your prizes will get to you some time next week.

Also next week, I'll share their poems and the prizes they'll receive.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Moving On

Thanks so much for all of your great comments and suggestions yesterday. I will certainly look into all of your ideas. I appreciate them very much. Hopefully the kids will, too.

I haven't talked much about my real job on my blog, because I knew that would lead down the path of whining and OBNOXOS-ness. I've been looking for a new job for at least a year and a half, with a couple of interviews and no success. Yesterday, however, I got the kick in the pants of the "We have to let you go" speech, and now I'm at the library increasing the speed of the job search wagon.

All that to say this: the posting has been sporadic enough already, and with no computer at home now, it may be even more sporadic. I'll be in Wooster starting Saturday for a week or so, and can blog and/or post pictures from there, but I'm not sure of the best way to get pictures online from the library. I'll do my best to keep in touch, though.

No worries, the Trekking contest is still on. Send in those entries, people!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trekking On

So here it is, the prize at hand, the lovely gift for s/he who comes up with the best reason for it. I've received several almost-convincing stories already, cleverly written and somewhat intriguing. Remember, the deadline for the contest is Thursday at midnight. The winner/winning story will be announced on Friday.

Here's another view (since Blogger is letting me) to assure you that it is, indeed, Trekking that you're vying for.

There is knitting progress happening. Unfortunately, the project in progress is of "giftish" nature, remaining reclusive for the time being. Slight progress is being made on a small number of other projects, but not enough to be of any visual interest or astonishment in blogland. So you'll have to content yourself with the picture of the Trekking for now.

What I really want to do, more than anything else, is start a new pair of socks.

"But, Brooke!" you say, imploringly. "A NEW sock?"

"Yes," I nod, my eyes focused on a small floor speck.

"Really?" you inquire again, "even with all the socks you already have started?"

"It's not that many!" I retort, guilty as charged.

"Brooke..." you give me That Look.

"Okay, so it's enough... but I have all this great sock yarn that's just begging to be..."

"Seriously! Get a grip! Crazy drunky monkey!" You hop up and down a bit as you say this, a slightly drunky-monkey look in your eye as well.

"But look!" I pull out my basket o' sock yarn, and begin showing you the pretty colors.

"Hmm..." you ponder, seeing rainbows of possibilities dance before your eyes. "Got a good pattern?"

"HA! See? I can't help it!"

Hmm, okay, when I start talking to myself on my blog, perhaps it's time to put the pointy sticks away for a few minutes or so.


In non-knitting news, I've always considered myself somewhat handy. Not
rip-out-the-old-sink-put-in-a-new-one-in-and-redo-the-bathroom-in-a-day-as-a-surprise kind of handy, but you know, if there's a little fix to be made, I can probably do it.

So I have this little problem, see? One of my three darling kitties decided a while back that just inside my front door would be the perfect spot for a litter box. The only problem with that is... there's no litter box there. Did that stop the little sweetheart? No, not at all. The other problem is that the door swings inward, so if the little precious decides to leave her gifts while I'm out, I can't help but spread them over the carpet when I open the door to come in.

About a month ago, I cut out the square of carpet just in front of the door. I had big plans to put down some tile or some vinyl something so that it wouldn't look bad but would at least get rid of the nasty carpet and be easy to clean if the little shnookums couldn't control herself. Then life happened and I got lazy and didn't do anything, and soon... the carpet pad was in bad shape.

So this weekend I cut out the square of carpet pad, tossed it in the dumpster, and trundled off to Lowe's to fix this deal once and for all. You know how Home Depot has the great slogan "You can do it, We can help."? Yeah, well, Lowe's has the following slogan: "You can do it, we can... wait, what? No, I don't think you can do it. Really. You can't do it. Go home."

After 20 minutes of trying to explain what I wanted to do, and a further 15 minutes of being shown stuff and then being told, no, you can't use that, I bought two rubber mats to put in the square, a can of cat-be-gone, and went home. I probably don't have to tell you that neither the rubber mats nor the spray were effective.

Any ideas?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Milestones and Musings

Dear lovies,

On behalf of all of us here at Drunken Monkey Knits, I'd like to announce the 100th post!

I've been knitting for just over four years now, and it doesn't look like things will be slowing down anytime soon. The last year has proven to be quite eventful on the knitting front. I've had two patterns published, I've been teaching at a yarn store, I've met many knitting authors and designers, I've taught a number of friends to knit, and I've kept this blog. That sure seems like a lot of work for "just a hobby"!

I have also attended two fiber events (can I say that and not be ingenuous, Brenda?) in the past month, and I was totally awed by both experiences. I had seen the signs for the Great Lakes Fiber Fest at the Wayne County fairgrounds in the past, but hadn't attended. I'm glad now that I waited, even though it wasn't intentional. I've learned so much in four years of knitting, but I know there remains a great deal that I have yet to accomplish. I'm still eager to try new things (sometimes to the detriment of previously begun projects), but I think it's my desire to constantly learn and experiment and create new things that helps me be successful.

If I had to pick a favorite yarn or a favorite pattern or a favorite project or a favorite technique, I don't think I could do it. I love many of the materials I've worked with, but I know there are hundreds more out there waiting to be sampled. There are many projects I have truly enjoyed making (or starting), but there are so many more to be dreamt of, discovered, and created.

To sum up, I can't wait to learn more, teach more, create more, share more, read more, and I'm so glad I have you along for the ride.

And so, beloved readers, random passerby, and contest stalkers (you know who you are), I've decided we need a contest to mark the passing of this, the 100th entry. It will be a completely subjective contest, as I am ruler of this blog and I deem it so.

The spoils:
One ball of Trekking, colorway #102, shades of gray. It's been rewound because I had started a sock that I later deemed.... unfinishable. I guarantee the entire skein is there.

(BLAST! Blogger isn't letting me upload pictures today. The picture below was uploaded yesterday, and even changing the code is of no use. I'll post a picture of the prize yarn as soon as I can!)

The contest:
Write a short story, real or fictional, about why you deserve to win this yarn. Or, it could be about why you NEEEEEEED this yarn. If you don't already know this, I'm a sucker for creativity. And poems. Just a thought. I'll choose my favorite story and award the prize. There are no limits on how many times you can enter. Leave your stories in comments or email me at brooketyler2002 AT yahoo DOT com.

A winner will be chosen on Friday, June 23. All stories must be entered by 11:59pm on June 22. Best of luck!


Lastly, a brief glimpse into the home life of the Drunken Monkey...

What can I say? We were meant to be together.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Newest Needle Addiction

So I know everyone has been on pins and needles awaiting news of my trip to The National NeedleArts Association trade show...

(insert polite applause and mild laughter here as everyone gets the intended pun)

... and far be it for me to disappoint. And for some of my fans friends who seem to be slightly concerned about my fiber-festival attendance, let me assure you that the TNNA trade show was NOT a fiber festival. It was a trade show where wholesalers and fiber companies sell to retailers. It was not a cash and carry show. All the money I spent in Indianapolis related to food, drinks, snacks, or gasoline.

(pause for raucous audience applause, shouting, and whooping)

That's right, folks. You can't say I need an intervention when I didn't spend any money on needlearts related paraphernalia. That's not to say I came away empty handed.

Before I get to the loot complimentary needlearts-related materials, there were some definite highlights to the trip.

I met Amy, the editor of Knitty! There she is, signing a book! (MY book, even.) And look, there I am, grinning like an idiot because I got to meet her.

She also gave me two Knitty pins: i(heart)knitty and Knit Big! Amy wants a big girl version of Reid. I need to get working on that.

I also got to meet Ann and Kay of
Mason-Dixon Knitting. They also wrote a book! Shockingly enough, it's called Mason-Dixon Knitting. I spent about 15 minutes talking to the both of them before I realized who they were. It was really great to meet both of them and spend time talking with them.

I also got to meet Frank from
Trading Spaces! His wife owns a crafting business and had a booth at the show. He wrote an autograph and drew a self-portrait for my mom. How cool is that?

I really enjoyed the whole weekend. The show was held at the Indianapolis Convention Center and was absolutely massive. It was exhausting yet inspiring to see the vast number of fiber vendors, publishers, notions wholesalers, needlepoint vendors, and other related things (t-shirts, nail files, magnifying glasses, crafting bags, needle holders, oh my goodness).

Goodies anyone?

Like I said, even though it wasn't a cash and carry show and only retailers could place orders with any of the vendors, I didn't come away empty handed.

There were plenty of book signings with authors signing complimentary copies of their books. If you were willing to stand in line for anywhere from 5-45 minutes, and if the booth didn't run out of books, you could walk away with a treasure. There was no way you could get to every signing, but we did our best.

From top to bottom [items marked with an * are signed by the author(s)/ editor(s)}:

1. The Knitting Answer Book*
2. OneSkein*
3. Natural Knits for Babies and Moms*
4. Knitted Flowers
5. Knitting Over the Edge*
6. Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2*
7. Modular Knits
8. Knitovation*
9. Knitting Nature*
10. Simple Crochet
11. Home Knits* (this is an uncorrected proof copy)
12. Mason-Dixon Knitting*
13. Big Girl Knits*
I also picked up two free magazines: Rebecca Baby and Kids & Creative Knitting.

I also picked up a bunch of gadgets and notions.

In no particular order:

1. Two different tape measures (can you ever have enough?)
2. A scoop of bulk buttons in a bag
3. Knitter's hand balm
4. A yarn daisy (for winding balls of yarn)
5. Regia gummy socks
6. Knitted catnip mouse kit
7. Two how-to CDs
8. Knitty button pins
9. A TNNA conference pen AND pin
10. A knitted flower pin

Then, of course, some yarn. From the left:
1. Kraemer Yarns Summit Hill (100% Merino Superwash)
2. Kraemer Yarns Littls Lehigh (45% Cotton, 55% Acrylic)
3. Dancing Fibers Serendipity (60% Superfine Alpaca, 40% Merino Wool)
4. Same as #3, different color
5. Random fuzzy red yarn with a big sticker over the label.
6. (in front) Diekeito (100% wool)
7. Artyarns Supermerino
8. (underneath) Some crazy white and purple-sparkly fancy eyelash yarn.

Did I enjoy it? Of course. Would I go back again next year? Definitely, if invited. Would I recommend it to anyone else able to go? Most certainly. Thanks again, Lori, for the opportunity!

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Going Away

Can't talk now. Packing for the TNNA show in Indianapolis this weekend.

I promise I'll behave myself.

...As well as can be expected anyway.

P.S. See those pants? I'm making those pants. Eventually the whole outfit, yeah, but those pants? I'm making them. (They ROCK!)

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend, Part III

If it takes any longer between posts, I might as well start calling it the Fourth of July Weekend series. Work has kept me reeling the past week or so, which is why I haven't been quicker to the punch.

I know you're on pins and noodles to hear what else happened, though, so... off we go.

Sunday night saw the completion and felting of my entrelac bag. Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful, with an almost dry market bag. (It has since become completely dry, and goes most everyplace with me. It's next to perfect. I've already picked colors for my next one.)

We had a slow start to the morning, with delicious home-made French toast made with delicious home-made bread (thanks, Mom!), then packed up to head to Amish Country. Since Sew-Krazy wasn't open on Memorial Day, Nicole had suggested Berlin, instead.

We wandered the shops looking for yarn and fabric and souvenirs, perusing crafts and antiques and just about everything you might think you'd find in kitschy craft stores.

Mom and Kimmie were right at home and remained quite patient while...

Nicole and I went back to the antique barn to check out this spinning wheel, which Nicole bought. Pretty spiffy, no? We got it home to find out that one piece was broken, and it was missing two other pieces. However, the broken part has already been fixed and Nicole is looking for the missing pieces on the internet. Even though it has its problems, it's a beautiful wheel and I can't wait to hear how the spinning goes.

I found some really cool grape lights, which Mom bought for me. (Thanks again, Mom!) My biggest concern now is what to put them in, and where to put them so that the kids won't try to eat them. I thought these were really neat. Maybe I ought to invest in a wine rack to drape them over, like the display in the store. And then I could buy some wine to put in the wine rack, and I'd be all yuppy and stuff. Or maybe not.

We ate lunch in a fancy Amish-style place, then skipped the cheese factory (Awwwww!) so that we could head back to Wooster and Cincinnati in a timely fashion.

It was a fantastic weekend surrounded by fantastic people in fantastic places. There were certain key people missing (you know who you are), but I doubt I could have had a better time.

For an alternate and additionally clever view of the weekend (and a CUTE picture of Midget), check out
Kimmie's blog for her perspective. Can you believe she finished her bag, too? (And Nicole started her bag on Monday and finished it the following Thursday. Overachiever. :)

Stay tuned. More good stuff soon.

P.B. Check this out. Yellow Springs. September 16 & 17. A Wool Gathering. I am SO there.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend, Part II

Let's try for those pictures again, shall we? (Warning: Picture heavy post. May take time to load, but it's totally worth it.)

Here's my plan, by the way. Today I shall give you the photos of the animals and the spoils from the fiber festival. My next post will give you the events of Monday the 29th, and the post after that will give you my reflections on the weekend, so you don't think it was all frivolous and that I didn't learn anything.

We saw sheep.

We saw more sheep. (It was a sheep and fiber show, remember?)

We could have eaten sheep, too, had we not all decided that was a baa-d idea.

We saw alpacas. I especially liked this one because he was freshly shorn and looked like he had an afro.

This alpaca and his buddies were maybe about 5 feet tall or a little taller.

This guy was about 6'5", had a tent to himself, and was quite obviously enjoying his lunch. I love this picture.

Then we saw the bunnies. Cute, cute bunnies. I could have bought one for $25. I didn't think the kids would approve.

Here's Nicole and Kimmie, looking incredibly happy to be at a sheep and fiber show.

Here's a picture of me that Nicole took in one of the vendor booths. Could I look any crankier? I promise I wasn't that cranky.

One of the vendors had made these beautiful dolls. They are handmade except for the little stuffed sheep (Hi, Meekins!). Look at the knitting in the basket! They were so beautiful. I would have bought one but they were $75 a piece. The lady was kind enough to allow me to photograph a few of them. This was my favorite. If you want to know her contact information, leave a note in the comments.

Now for the spoils/loot/booty/treasure/purchases!

This was my first purchase. It's a Blue Faced Leicester wool roving, ready for spinning. I had bought a drop spindle last November or December when I bought another one for Brenda for Christmas, but the roving that came with it was rather uninspiring. I thought that if I had something inspiring, that I might actually try the spindle. These bright, bright greens are definitely inspiring. I can't wait to try it now.

This was a purchase I thought about ALL day. It's Wildfoote brand sock yarn in the Elderberry colorway. I bought two skeins of it. This picture shows the colors best. It's almost a laceweight yarn, it's so fine. Hmm, that might give me some ideas (since to make it into socks would likely take some US0s).

Here's some more sock yarn, only this is from Fleece Artist, in shades of bright red. It's absolutely gorgeous, and I can't wait to find the perfect pattern for it. I've not used Fleece Artist before, but I've read a lot about it on other blogs and have wanted to try it.

I bought some casein knitting needles as well. Go check out the website for more information. They're from Australia and made of some sort of dairy product. I'll give my review of them after I've used them for something. I also got some handmade soap in a Bay Lime scent. It smells good and it made all the yarn in the bag smell good, too.

My favorite purchase of the day has to be my 100% angora bunny wool. It's SO soft, and so nice, and SO soft, and so wonderful. I'm planning on a lace scarf with it. Luxury defined.

I also bought some kool-aid dyed green wool, but apparently I forgot to take a picture of it. Shame on me.

Oh! And Saturday night at my mom's house, I finished my entrelac bag, shown here with Kimmie's flip flops. At this point it sort of looked like clown pants with green suspenders. I had to keep Kimmie from trying it on. Felted pictures tomorrow!


On the way to Wooster we met a lot of bugs head-on during the last 25 minutes of the trip. I tried to use the windshield washer fluid to get some of them off, but it was a rather futile attempt. This little anecdote reminds me of my dad because he always called the windshield washer fluid "puppy pee". If you think about it, it makes sense.