Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

To celebrate the ringing in of the new year, Drunken Monkey Knits presents a poll and a contest. First? The poll (just cuz I'm curious). If you need a refresher on any of the shells, check out the link list in the sidebar on the right.


Second, the contest.

Everyone's favorite Knit Knack has received 14 shells over the past 13 months covering many of the major holidays and a number of other special events throughout the year. So... what's in store for the new year?

Well, that could be up to YOU! This is a contest with a deadline of one year. I'm looking for ideas for shells to make for Knit Knack in 2008, and if I make your shell idea, you win a prize! (Prize to be determined, but I'll make it good, I promise.)

I do have a small list of ideas already, but I'm always looking for more ideas. You can either leave your ideas in the comments or email them to me at brooketyler2002 AT yahoo DOT com. I can't wait to hear what you come up with!

Have a very happy new year, everybody!

Swan King of Bavaria

My favorite online quiz ever. Which historical lunatic are you?

I'm Ludvig II, the Swan King of Bavaria!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Born with the name of Otto, you became Ludwig at the request of your grandfather, King Ludwig I, because you were born on his birthday. You became Crown Prince at the tender age of 3, and soon after stole a purse from a shop on the basis that everything in Bavaria belonged to you. Tragedy struck when your pet tortoise was taken away; relatives thought the six-year-old prince was too attached to it. Your childhood was lonely and formal. Once, you were prevented from beheading your younger brother by the timeous arrival of a court official. From the age of 14 you suffered from hallucinations.

Despite striking an imposing figure with your great height and good looks, your speeches were pompous to the point of incomprehensibility. You became even more of a recluse, often spending hours reading poetry in a seashell-shaped boat in your electrically-illuminated underground grotto.

You are most famous for building three fairytale castles - Linderhof, Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee - at tremendous public expense. Declared insane and confined to your bedroom by concerned (and embarrassed) subjects, you escaped on 13 June 1886, but were later found drowned with your physician in Lake Stamberg in mysterious circumstances.


This explains a lot. The tortoise? Come on, direct connection. Bavaria/Batavia? Potayto/Potahto, folks. Great height? Good looks? Incomprehensible speeches? That's SO me. It's amazing what you can learn about yourself on the internet.

So.. which historical lunatic are you?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Let It Snow, Man!

I made a little snowman
He had a cheery smile

I dressed him in a hat and scarf
then went inside a while

A storm came up, the wind was fierce
My snowman was so chilly!

He said he'd love to come inside
but wouldn't that be silly?

I told him he was made of snow
and though he felt befuddled,

If I agreed and brought him in
he'd turn into a puddle!

Poem found on the internets, author unknown.


We hope you're having a happy holiday season!
Love, Knit Knack and the Drunken Monkey

p.s. I hope he's wearing his long underwear under there!!!

December Socks

Raise your hand if anyone has ever knitted a pair of socks for you.

Aren't they wonderful?

I received my very first pair of handknit socks (not knitted by me!) for Christmas this year. My friend Lisa made these for me* out of Colinette Jitterbug yarn.

Eeeee! I love them! I've already worn them a half a dozen times. Do you recognize the yarn? It's the same yarn I finished my teal Pomatomus socks with, so now Morgan and I have matching toesies! It's all very exciting.

That movie Happy Feet has nothing on me! Thank you, Lisa!

*I secretly suspect that Lisa didn't necessarily have me in mind when she was making these socks. I just think that I finally wore her down with the following conversation:

Me: Lisa! Those look like they would fit me!
Lisa: No.
Me: Oh, just let me try them on!
Lisa: No.
Me: But they look like they would fit me!
Lisa: No.
Me: I bet they...
Lisa: No.

And so on.

Ooh, Lisa also found my favorite Tofutsies colorway, too. It's the lime-and-white I've been kicking myself over since last May's fiber festival. I saw it at the beginning of the day, and by the time I went back for it, it was gone. But now it is in my clutches! I can't wait to knit with it. (It's way more beautiful in person than in this little picture.) Thank you thank you thank you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knit Knack's Cabinet of Curiosities

We are approaching the first anniversary of Knit Knack's arrival into our lives, and this is a momentous occasion. We will be celebrating in various ways over the next couple of weeks, and today, I'd like to share with you Knit Knack's Cabinet of Curiosities.

Cabinets of curiosities (according to are encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries are yet to be defined. I first became acquainted with these museums of wonder through the book The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

You've seen the basic
Sheldon pattern. My copy is quite dog-eared and goes with me wherever I go. Over the past year I've made many modifications to the original shell pattern and created a number of accoutrements to go along with the outfits. There's a link-list in my sidebar if you would like to refresh your memory. It shouldn't be a surprise, however, that not everything my turtle-addled brain comes up with manifests perfectly the first time. Or the second time, in some cases.

The first time I decided to stray significantly from the pattern was in March, for St. Patrick's Day. Wouldn't it be awesome, I thought, if I could make the whole shell a pattern of
tessellatedshamrocks? I think it was only a couple of days and a ream or two of graph paper later that I realized that you can't tessellate shamrocks. So instead I decided to chart them.

I posted this picture last February to show the mess I made one Sunday. If you look carefully in the upper right-hand corner, you can see the intarsia shamrocks that I started for the top of a shell. This has since been ripped out, since I discovered that knitting a flat shell instead of using the shaping in the original pattern makes for a piece of knitting that's the wrong size. (If you look carefully at the mess of pastel yarns just to the left of those shamrocks, that's my first attempt at the Easter shell. Nothing like working in advance, you know?)

The first time I decided to knit something for Knit Knack's feet was for the sheep shell from last Memorial Day. However, since Knit Knack lives three hours away from me, how would I know if his sheep feet would actually fit him? Solution: prosthetic leg.

Leggius Prosthesia is shown here modeling a keychain sock my friend Nicole made for me a while ago. It has tried on sheep feet, turkey feet, wings, tires, and more! It is a wonder that I can continue to find it when I need it.

For Tractor Knack, the key was really the tires. Tractors have little, skinny front tires and big, fat back tires.

Tireous Too Fatteous was my first attempt at a front tire. You can't really tell in this picture, but it is stuffed with fiberfill. Tractor Knack's front tires have a circle of cardboard in them, so they are very skinny. The hole in this tire wasn't large enough to fit around Leggius Prosthesia either, so it was relegated to the cabinet.

Tires : Tractor as Skull & Crossbones : Pirate.

However, Pirateous 1st Attemptus : Ugh. I didn't like it at all. It barely even looks like a skull, and in person it makes you just want to weep. The second attempt was MUCH better. I'd even say the skull I ended up with is cute.

The last item in the cabinet is from Knit Knack's Thanksgiving outfit.

Wingus Dingus isn't bad, per se, but it is very thick. It's a strand of Bernat Boa and a strand of Butterfly mercerized cotton held together and knit on US size 2 needles. Yeouch! My fingers hurt just remembering that one. The fabric is super tight and inflexible, and it just wasn't what I wanted. Fortunately, there wasn't a ton of effort that went into this one before I knew it wasn't going to work.

Stay tuned for more Knit Knack frivolity!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stocking 'Stravaganza

Who has the coolest stocking in the whole wide world?

It's me! It's me!

Need more proof?

This stocking is so cute I squeal every time I see it. And I'm not really a squealy type of person. It was made and embroidered for me by my fantabulistically crafty friend Kimmie. I heart it so much! It has earned the Stocking Of Honor(TM) title and now hangs on my wall... er... by the... umm... fireplace... (would that be a firewall?) waiting for Santy Claus.

That's not all, my friends! Look who was hiding inside the stocking!

It's Oliver! He bravely left his rascally brother Oscar to come live at my house, and he offered to come to Panera to help me blog.

(I secretly suspect he had a different agenda...)

So, welcome, Oliver! I can't wait for you to meet Knit Knack. I think you'll be good friends.


In a universe-balancing kind of way, you'll be happy to know that a few days before a new stocking came into my hands, a different new stocking left my hands. Quite some time ago, my Personal Project Timeline Coordinator (PPTC) had designed and commissioned me to make a stocking for her boyfriend for Christmas. Since I had lunch with her last Friday, I wanted to have it done to give to her. I was even THREE WHOLE DAYS early according to her timeline.

Meredith drew for me what she wanted the stocking to look like, and I translated that into a knitted stocking. She didn't want it to be felted, so I double-stranded some Cascade 220 on a US9 needle so it would still be sturdy. I charted the Ohio State logo and knitted the "O" into the body of the stocking as intarsia. I used a short row heel and a star toe. After the stocking was finished, I knitted the buckeye and the leaves separately and stitched them on, so the design has some added texture. I think it turned out pretty well. I'm looking forward to finding out if Whit likes it.

There's no way he'll like it as much as I like MY stocking!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Send Out The Knits

There's no denying it, the holiday season is upon us, and with it, the holiday knits. But there's a secret to the holiday knitting this year. You don't have to worry frantically whether or not you can finish Aunt Susie's double-knit fair isle messenger bag in time, or whether you can whip up baby Frankie's cashmere cable hooded afghan by the big day. This year, you can buy your holiday knits at the post office. The post office!


For the 2007 holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service will issue Holiday Knits, four stamps featuring classic Christmas-time imagery designed and machine knitted by nationally known illustrator Nancy Stahl: There is a dignified stag; a snow-dappled evergreen tree; a perky snowman sporting a top hat; and a whimsical teddy bear.
That's cool. Send your Christmas cards with some knitted style this year, my friends.


I think it's been enough time; here's Calvin's 2nd birthday sweater:

The Big Digger Sweater pattern is from Lucinda Guy's Handknits for Kids. I found this book at Half Price Books late in the summer, and as soon as I saw this sweater, I knew it was the one.

I used a mix of Butterfly mercerized cotton and Tahki Cotton Classic, some I had in the stash and some I got from the BFF's stash-reduction give-away. My friend Tobie taught me how to do the French knots, and I was good to go. Needles were US5s. The only pattern modification I made was making the sleeves orange and blue, instead of solid blue like the pattern called for. You all know the saga of the running-out-of-yarn, but I think the transition works well, especially since the sleeves run right into the orange and blue stripes at the top of the sweater.


Oh, and I may have added some mittens to the holiday-knitting list. Do you need a quick and super easy pattern for some chunky mittens? Try
Gifted, a free pattern from Kate Gilbert. They're knit on two needles, and there are sizes for toddler's through men's sizes. It's a great last minute gift idea.

(Sounds like a commercial, I know. But it's a great pattern. And it's free!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Change of Title

Last May, I challenged myself to finish a pair of socks every month for six months.* I was tired of being the Queen of Sock, and was determined to change that title. How did I do?

May socks (not included in the challenge, but inspired by it).

June socks.

July socks.

More July socks.

August socks.

September socks (completed in October).

October socks (completed in November).

November socks (not completed). I picked these for my November socks thinking they'd be a quick finish, but I had too many other things on my plate, and this pattern was too boring. This is actually the picture from last May; the second sock is about three rows longer than this.)

Even though I didn't technically complete the challenge, I don't think I did too shabby. These are PAIRS of socks, people.

And I only started three new socks to distract myself.

Interlacements Tiny Toes from the Wool Gathering. (This is as far as it ever got.)

Entrelac socks from Interweave Knits. (This is as far as it ever got.)

And eye-searing Monkey socks from Knitty. (The cuff of the first one is done. I've been working on it at lunchtime at work. I just haven't taken an updated picture.)

So what do you think? Can I officially become Queen of Socks instead of Queen of Sock? (There has been a significant drop in the number of Socks Without Partners meetings in the basket as of late, if that influences your decision.)

*I also challenged myself not to buy sock yarn for six months. Apparently my challenges are better met one at a time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My Thanksgiving was lovely, thank you. And yours?

I got to see an aunt and two cousins that I hadn't seen in at least 20 years, and now they are all likely convinced that I can't think of anything better to do than to knit. But, see, that's because I had deadlines.

The Pomatomus socks are finished. If they'd been for me, I would have used the black yarn to finish them up. However, a strategic comment a couple posts back caused me to use the multi-colored yarn, and I'm not disappointed. Hopefully the recipient won't be, either.

In my other deadline project (of which I'm unable to show you the completed project for a few more days yet), the stripey transition won out, and I dare say it turned out better than expected. Here, have a montage.

And then, in a flourish of FO-HO-ish-ness, last night I finished my Foliage hat, which shall be a store sample for the class I'm teaching after the start of the year. It uses way less than one skein of Malabrigo (the Malabrigo I bought in Washington state last year when I bought the yarn for the above socks), and I used US size 8 needles (the pattern calls for 7s), so my hat is a teeny big.

Well, it's a teeny big for the plastic model here, but all of us at knit night last night agreed that it looked best on her, anyway.

So that's what, FOUR finished projects in about a week, and one of them a December project? (Let's not talk about the November socks, or about the other entire turtle that I was supposed to make this month, shall we?) That leaves a commissioned stocking, the endpaper mitts, and a tiny little Christmas gift for Knit Knack* to get me through the end of the year. My eye-searing Monkey socks are getting a little snuggle time lately, as well, as a reward for my good behavior.

*Does anyone else think it a little strange that the only actual Christmas-gift-knitting I'm doing this year is for a knitted turtle??

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Advice

Hi. My name is Knit Knack, and I have some Thanksgiving advice for you.

First, if there's a break in the rain,
you should go outside and play in the leaves.

Don't forget your hat. It's cold out.

Next, if they're looking for a bird to put in the oven, quick!

Go hide in a tree!

Always shake your tailfeathers.

After dinner, make sure you try a little of each kind of pie.

(It's the polite thing to do.)

And most importantly, make sure you tell your friends and family how thankful you are for them! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Love you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It's official. I've run out of yarn for the Pomatomus socks. However, it turns out that Enabler-Lisa's alter ego is Provider-Lisa (there was another time when she provided a healthy handful of fiberfill to spare me some trouble), and she's given me two good options to finish the toes, since my stash failed to produce something worthy.

Oh, and I have to give a hearty THANKS! to Rebecca in Washington state, who emailed me last week to see if she could stop by
Great Yarns in Everett to see if they had anymore of this sock yarn. Even though they ended up not having any more of the solid shades, it was very thoughtful of her to check it out for me. Thanks, Rebecca!

(Edited to add: Thanks to Morgan (my favorite SIL), too, for offering to go look for yarn! Sorry I missed you the first time around, Mo!)

On the left is a multi-colored sock yarn from Jitterbug. It's mostly a weird shade of green, but it has almost exactly the same shade of teal running through it, along with some reds and yellows and other flotsam. On the right is a solid, reliable, steady black Cherry Tree Hill. I do have a leaning, but I haven't decided for sure yet. Which do you prefer?


What's this I see?

Two sleeves at the same time on a circular needle. Not in the round (my circular isn't long enough for that), but this is the first time I've tried this, and now that I'm well past the garter border, I'm enjoying it. And I'm looking forward to having both sleeves done at the same time!

I've got another improvisation necessity here. I've gotten farther with the dark blue than I thought I would, but it's never going to get me all the way. Once I run out, I want to make the rest of the sleeves orange (don't worry, there's other orange in the sweater), but I want to use some type of transition. Here are the two I've come up with. Which one do you like better?


Lastly, you must go check out
Otto the Turkey, a new creation by Ruth of Ruthless Knitting, without whom our good friend Knit Knack would not exist. Otto's so precious, couldn't you just eat him up? I mean... not that you would...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quick Update

I don't think I'm going to have enough yarn for my October socks. (This is the yarn I bought in Everett, WA, last Christmas, so I likely can't get more.) In fact, I might have to rip out the toe of the first in order to finish the foot of the second. Nothing in my stash calls to me as a good toe yarn. Ugh.

The back and half of the front of Calvin's sweater are finished. I'm going to run out of the color I need for the sleeves. (There isn't any more at the store. I even rearranged those baskets and came up empty handed.) I'm going to have to improvise.

On the other hand, in the I-have-more-than-plenty-enough-yarn-to-complete-this-project category, Knit Knack will be decked out in his Thanksgiving finest next week. I'd show you the part I have done, but it is SUPER TOP SECRET!!! If I showed you, I'd have to kill you. And it would be such a nightmare tracking you all down. So stay tuned.

I'm offically abandoning the very idea of November socks. Not going to happen.

The eye-searing monkey socks are no further along than the last time you saw them. I've never been more proud of myself for not working on a particular project. I've been super-diligent about working on the October socks, Calvin's sweater, and Knit Knack's SUPER TOP SECRET Thanksgiving outfit. Three-project monogamy (is it really monogamy?) is pretty good for me.

Sorry I've been lax about commenting on everyone's blogs... Internet time is scarce. I'm hoping to get caught up soon; if not this weekend, then perhaps next.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Stripy sweater + happy baby = good blog.

Click the picture to go to Joy's post.

*Steal-linking (not like spelunking at all) is where you steal a picture from someone else's blog, but link back to them in hopes they'll forgive you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Drunkey Monkey

"Smashed Monkey" is a constant source of laughter, but if you want to add me as a friend on Ravelry, I've signed up as


It rhymes, see? And also makes me giggle a little.

I've browsed a little, but I'm still cynical. I'll give you my review and synopsis once I've had the chance to play a little more.


The new sock yarn is Cherry Tree Hill in the "Quick, My Eyes Are Burning" colorway. (Yep, it really is that bright.) Do you see how far I haven't gotten? That, my friends, is restraint. This sock-in-progress and its companion ball of yarn sits on my little TV tray in front of my chair, taunting me as I work on projects I'm supposed to be working on. I've only done the ribbing and two pattern repeats. It calls to me. You know, like the cursed Aztech gold calls to the pirates. Yeah. Like that.


In other news, look! Stockinette! Stockinette with a Purpose! A profound purpose! A purposeful purpose! (Someone stop me, please?) I'm almost finished with the first piece (the back) of Sir Calvin's birthday sweater. I'm being diligent.

And the second October sock has a finished cuff. (The sun has succeeded in completely washing out the deep shade of teal in this yarn.) Actually, since this picture was taken, the second October sock now has a few rows of a heel flap, as well. (Let's not discuss deadlines, okay?)


Lastly, and possibly most importantly, tomorrow I start my first full time (ie: 40 hours a week) job in almost 17 months. It's through the temp agency, but from what I've heard, this is a company that usually keeps its temps long term. I don't have much else to say about it just yet, but I wanted to thank all of you for your support over the past year and a half through comments and emails and friendship. I'm hoping that life beyond the knitblog starts to turn around here real soon.

Thanks again.