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.