Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Angel

Four years ago (three years ago? No, I think it was four...) we had crazazy snow and ice storms the week preceding Christmas. By the time I was ready to head Northeast to my parents' house, the kindly snowplows that cleaned my apartment building's parking lot had carefully piled snow, topped with ice, topped with more snow, right behind everyone's cars. My Saturn SL could only dream of getting over that mountain.

We had a "digging out" party in the parking lot one afternoon, where at least a half dozen tenants were in the parking lot at the same time. I didn't have my own snow shovel, so I asked a number of people if they would let me borrow theirs when they were finished. In true Christmas spirit, no one would commit to shovel-lending, although one kind neighbor did drive me to Meijer, where a frantic search led to zero snow shovels and a very frustrated Brooke.

I had called my parents a couple of times to let them know about my plight, only to find that they were stranded in a different way... they'd been without power for about a day.* (Fortunately this was before digital phones, so their phone worked just fine even though they were without power.) They encouraged me to keep trying to get my car out of the parking lot, and I scoured my apartment looking for innovative snow removal equipment.

Found: one aluminum softball bat.

Picture this: Drunken Monkey outside, aluminum softball bat in hand, kneeling over the pile of snow and ice behind her car, beating valiantly at said pile and brushing tiny clumps of snow and ice to the side. Four years later (three years?), it's kind of funny to think about. Then, it was a desperate attempt to get the heck out of dodge.

So I'm beating and brushing, whacking and wiping, smacking and smoothing, and thinking just how ridiculous I must look, when an old beat-up sedan drove through the parking lot and parked near the dumpster. A middle-aged man with long hair tied back with a bandana and wearing a Harley Davidson jacket got out, along with a junior-high-ish-aged boy. He came over to me and asked me if I needed a push. I could have kissed him. With his help (and the slight indentation I had made in the snow/ice pile with my softball bat), the car made it over the hump and I drove it over to a section of parking lot that had been completely cleared. I quickly packed my stuff and boogied out of here as quickly as possible.

I've lived here ever since and have never seen that guy again. I call him my
Harley's Christmas Angel.


This year, however, brought a completely different kind of angel. I drove Northeast again this year to spend Christmas with Mom and Aunt Karyl Lynn. We had a few great and lazy days, with all sorts of good food and silly puppies and two seasons of
Psych on DVD. However, the night before Christmas I noticed that something was missing from the nativity scene in front of Mom's tree. Where was the angel?

Ah.. there she is. Knitasha got an angel outfit for Christmas this year, and I'd say she pulls it off pretty well. What do you think?

Aunt Karyl Lynn and I took her to
Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts on Friday to show Donna, but she was out of town. So we looked around and might have picked up a thing or two. (I'll post about Christmas yarn in the next couple days, promise.)


Last year I had another experience with a Christmas angel. I held open the door at
Panera for a man on a very rainy day a few days before Christmas. He got in line in front of me on the sandwich side. It was one of those days where you spend the whole time in line thinking you probably should have gotten in the other line because it's moving faster, but as soon as you think you might step over there, three more groups of people get in that other line and you end up staying where you are, but you wish you'd made the move just a moment sooner.

Anyway, this guy in front of me picked up a handful of gift cards as he got up to the register, and I couldn't help thinking, "You have got to be kidding me... this is going to take for. ev. er." All I was going to do was get a drink and play on my laptop for a little bit. And this guy was going to waste a good... what, two minutes of my oh-so-valuable time? So I'm being a rotten jerk inside my head, and he turns around and hands me one of the gift cards he just bought, and thanks me once again for holding the door open for him.

I picked my jaw up off the floor, mentally smacked myself, and gave him a big hug. He told me to have a blessed Christmas, and he went about his merry way. Talk about a Christmas-spirit attitude adjustment.

Have you ever met a Christmas angel? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


*All together, my parents were without power for more than 80 hours that Christmas. All my dad got for Christmas that year was a stack of DVDs about two feet tall. And really, there's only so much reading you can do from the back of a DVD case before you have to put it down. We spent much of Christmas day squeezing the foot of one of Mom's presents... a stuffed dog who sang "Singing in the Rain" while tapping his toes and swinging his umbrella back and forth.

Regardless, it was MUCH nicer spending Christmas with them and cooking hamburgers on the wood stove than it would have been spending Christmas alone in my apartment. Memories!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My recently-turned-three-year-old nephew Calvin is awesome. He loves trains and cars and trucks and books and guns and Monkey George and any game you can play with a dodo (ball). He talks up a storm and chases his big sister and finds ways to keep his baby sister from screaming. It was so incredible to see him over Thanksgiving, since the last time Mom and I had seen him was a year and a half ago... half of his lifetime! He's (obviously) SO different now and it was a blast to get to know him again.

These all seem fairly common characteristics of a three-year-old boy, but something you might not know about Calvin is that he has a bit of... spirit. I'm fairly certain that everyone who has ever met him has been witness to that stubborn, fire-y streak, so I thought it only fair that his third birthday sweater be a warning to all.

And if that's not enough (you know some people have trouble heeding vague warning signs...), the back reads:

And Calvin loved it. He wore it a lot while we were there, and I hope he's still enjoying it. It's his "chicken" sweater. He calls lots of things "chicken", and that's a lot easier (and let's face it, more fun) than saying "construction". Here he is on Sunday morning rocking his sister's carseat so she'd stay happy right before we headed to church:

(Please note that Hallie is still wearing her February baby sweater and Saartje's booties. The west-coast Higgins's seem to be an often happily be-knitted family.)

Calvin's sweater is the Knitting Pure & Simple top-down raglan for kids, and I designed the colorwork after seeing a caution tape scarf in CRAFT magazine a while back. I used Berroco Comfort Worsted yarn and size 9 needles. I refuse to admit that it took me until 12:30am the night before our flight left to finish it.


Maggie and Calvin both got new socks a few weeks before Thanksgiving, too (so much for Valentine's socks).

Maggie's are the Handsome Devil pattern, using two different balls of Cascade fixation. I had seen someone else do these colors on the Six Sox Knitalong, and had to try it myself, only Maggie-sized.

Calvin's are Charlie's Dragon Socks from Cat Bordhi's New Directions for Sock Knitters book. First of all, let me tell you how much I love this book. I LOVE this book! I can't wait to experiment with more of the patterns and sock chickens. Umm, sock constructions. It's so much fun! And you can completely customize your socks for anyone with the super helpful charts.

Why dragon socks? Because you can unbutton and unfurl the dragon tails and let them fly out behind you as you scamper about your business, that's why. I used Opal Handpainted yarn double-stranded for the main color, and a reddish brown Trekking yarn for the tail spikes.

Heehee. :)

My nephew's feet amuse me.

P.S. If you aren't yet convinced that I am completely smitten with my nephew, please note that these are all the tails I had to weave in times TWO dragon tails. Love love love...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why It's Always Worth It To Knit For Babies, Take 2*

As promised, my new niece Hallie wore her new Elizabeth Zimmerman February Baby Sweater and Saartje's booties (pdf) home from the hospital.

I think she liked it. (Please note: I am not showing you the pictures of her wearing the sweater and screaming. I'm fairly sure she was screaming about something other than the sweater, but just to be safe, I'm not going to show those to you.)

And, just because I'm sure you'll love this picture as much as I do, here's some adorable baby bottom.

*If you are wondering why this post is Take 2,
click here for Take 1.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Big Fun Times

Since we last spoke, an incredible amount of amazingness has occurred.

That's right, the Drunken Monkey is officially three years old. Who would have guessed the madness would have lasted this long. Sure, the Monkey writes less these days, but she's still knitting (and even crocheting!!!) like mad and attempting to entertain the masses. Thanks for still reading! I heart ALL my readers. (Even Knitsie. Remember

Thing two: BIRTHDAY.
That's right, as of last friday (October 3) the Drunken Monkey is officially 32 years old. That's right. 32 and proud of it. None of this 29-and-holding stuff. 32. That's the brink of birthday-candle-bankruptcy and frightening the smoke alarms. But I still love my birthday, and I think it's because I'm spoiled rotten.

Friday morning I walked into work to scads and scads of posters covering the walls proclaiming that it was my birthday. My cubicle was decked out in streamers, balloons, more posters, and flowers.

Then came the cake. Everyone at work knows about Knit Knack and Knitasha, and their only conclusion was that I MUST have a turtle cake for my birthday. So Amy hired her cousin (who also works there, just in a different department) to bake a turtle cake.

Honestly, this cake deserves its own blog post. His eyes and the decorations around the edge of his shell are Apple Jacks. The shapes on the back of his shell? Fruit Rollups. But not just any Fruit Rollups. These are Fruit Rollups with Batman tattoos on them. Oh yes.

Needless to say, I felt loved. Then about 30 minutes after we'd eaten turtle cake (which was about 30 minutes after we'd scarfed down donuts), we heard an unexpected visitor walking down the hallway saying, "I'm looking for someone who's having a birthday!" It was my MOM!!! I had no idea she was coming, but she had asked for a personal day (six weeks before!) and drove three hours Friday morning to come find me at work and surprise me for my birthday.

(Are you starting to see how I'm spoiled rotten?)

Not only that, but she came armed with ANOTHER cake and a bunch of presents, including a new book about how Knit Knack and Knitasha met at a PICNIC, of all things. I gave her the grand tour, she hugged nearly everyone in the building, and we got to leave early (which had been pre-planned by me... I mean, if you have to work on your birthday, you should at least be able to leave early, right?).

The rest of the weekend was a birthday whirlwind with dinner with Dani and her mom, baking sock cookies, going to sock club (where I was again ridiculously spoiled... I have NO idea where they found out it was my birthday!!! I certainly didn't tell them two weeks before to make sure they were properly prepared...), hanging out with Dani at a craft fair, and dinner with
Kimmie and Chris and Leslie on Sunday. Phew!

Monday night I got to have dinner with Wendy and hang out for a bit at Barnes & Noble where a gift card from Tobie and Wendy bought me the Yarn Harlot's new book and a book on how to turn old socks into stuffed animals. Much too cute.

Thanks to everyone for making my birthday a blast!

But I'm not done.

Thing three: BABY!
Monday, October 6, at 1:23am, I became an aunt for the third time! Hallie Rae joined the west coast Higgins family, and we're all VERY excited.

Thanks to my brother and his handy iPhone for the pictures. You can see more
here. Mom and I get to go visit at Thanksgiving.


As you can see, it's been a crazy busy fun weekend. I do have to give a shout out to Miss Katherine, who shares my birthday, and for whom I was unable to finish a birthday sweater in time. But I'm still working on it, and fortunately she's just turned two and might not care TOO much that I'm late. LOVE!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wool Gathering '08

The most important thing about this year's Wool Gathering was the change to the welcome sign.

Here's the picture from two years ago:

And here's the picture from this year:

I feel so much better. Don't you?

Kimmie and I trekked to Yellow Springs last Sunday to enjoy another Wool Gathering. Everything was pretty much the same, and we loved every bit of it. The yarn, the roving, the knitters, the spinners, the sheeps, the ducks, the ice cream... What more could you pack into one day?

You'd be proud of me. I only bought one skein of sock yarn. Yes, that's right. One skein. And you can ask Kimmie and Wendy, it was a fight to the finish. I had my heart set on yarn from Knitting Knotions all afternoon, but finally succumbed to the allure of more Casbah from Handmaiden. I also got a monkey stitch marker and a couple sheepy Christmas ornaments. I'll show you pictures later. I also took video this time of the duck-herding sheep dog, but I'm not able to upload it at the moment.

Things to look forward to!
Here at Drunken Monkey Knits!
To look forward to!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Six Birthday Sweaters

Last year, before turning the significant five years old, Maggie got to choose the pattern and yarn for her birthday sweater. This year, I had the opportunity to take her to a yarn store to pick out her yarn, but I knew we needed to pick out the pattern first. I had about seven different patterns that I couldn't narrow down. I showed them to Mom, who said that was way too many patterns to offer. I asked her which ones I should take out, and she couldn't decide, so I showed all seven to Maggie. After briefly showing and explaining each pattern, Maggie chose her pattern with no hesitation. "The cable one." I asked her if there was a reason for her choice, and she told me her Gigi (her grandma in Washington) had a cable sweater, and she wanted one like that.

The pattern is Down Under from
The Yarn Girls' Guide to Knits for Older Kids.

Then it was off to Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts in Wooster, where, aided by the lovely Donna...

We promptly found every pink yarn in the building. We narrowed the selection by the important washability factor, and ended up with Cascade Cotton Club (a cotton & acrylic blend, very squooshy) as the main yarn, and Cascade Pearls for accents around the hem and cuffs.

I think it turned out pretty well.

My sister-in-law told me that when presents were about to be opened, Maggie shook each one because she wanted to open her sweater first! I'm so excited that she enjoys picking out her patterns and yarns, because that means she's invested in the process and can be proud of her decisions. There aren't any pictures of her wearing it yet (it's still too warm out for sweaters, of course!), but I hear it fits well with room for growing, which is definitely good news.

Happy Birthday, Maggie.. can't wait to see you at Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monster Made Me Do It

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Secrets Revealed

While some of you have become privy to my secret Spring adventures, some of you have been waiting on pins and noodles since early June when I told you my May blog hiatus had been for silent and secretive purposes. Well, now those secrets can be revealed and we can all celebrate.

Knit Picks is now selling kits to make Sheldon and his "career" shells, designed by yours truly.

Now, you too can make a pirate outfit, beach bum outfit, policeman outfit, cowboy outfit, and Superman outfit for your own snappily-dressed turtle.

A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into these patterns. I did this sport-weight set plus a worsted-weight set that I think will be offered later on. The original designer of the Sheldon pattern,
Ruth Homrighaus, designed a completely different set that will come out in another couple months.


Here are a few of the pictures I took before sending Sheldon and his outfits off to the gang at Knit Picks.

And here's Knit Knack trying on the cowboy outfit before it was sent.

You can buy your set
here. There's a knitalong on the Knit Picks website, and they even have a fan page on Facebook. I hope you enjoy Sheldon and get inspired to knit some costumes of your own!

(Props to my good friend Lisa who test knit the pirate and Superman costumes seen above.)


Phew. I'm glad I could finally get that off my chest.

Now I'm going to go pack, because tomorrow I'm driving to Michigan to see
BRENDA!!! If last year was any indication, it's going to be a blast. I'll be back next week with pictures and a play-by-play. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 1, 2008

What's Up?

I started a new sock.

Pattern: Francie
Yarn: Comfort Sock, grey
Needles: US 2 dpns

It's a good thing I started it. I didn't have any socks to knit otherwise. Honest. I didn't already have six separate and stylishly stubborn single-sock-syndrome samples suffering shamefully in several stages of startitis. See?

1. Pattern: Hedera; Yarn: Panda Silk; Needles: US 1, two circulars

2. Pattern: Show Off Stranded Socks (pdf); Yarn: Socks That Rock, Red Rock Canyon; Needles: US 2 dpns

3. Pattern: Twisted Flower; Yarn: Claudia's Hand Painted, Limeade; Needles: US 2 dpns

4. Pattern: Mini Pretzel Twists; Yarn: Twisted Fiber Art, Arial; Needles: US 2 magic loop

5: Pattern: Handsome Devil; Yarn: Cascade Fixation; Needles: US 3 dpns

6: Pattern: Brigit; Yarn: Comfort Sock, red; Needles: US 2 dpns

Phew. I'd hate to be without a sock on the needles. Welcome, Francie sock.


Yeah. So, I also added buttons to my February baby sweater and made one bootie.

I feel so honored! This sweater set is for my not-yet-born niece who is due in October, and my sister-in-law has already asked if she could use this sweater as the baby's coming-home outfit! I completely love that idea and am so happy to oblige. Better get that other bootie done.

And lastly, meet Parker:

Pattern: Baby Penguin from Amigurumi World
Yarn: Cotton Rich in black and yellow, mercerized cotton in light blue, and some leftover angora in white for the belly spot.
Hook: 3.5mm

I heart you, Parker Penguin.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elephant Jokes

Q: Why did the Elephant stand on the marshmallow?
A: So she wouldn't fall in the hot chocolate.

Q: Why is an elephant big, grey, and wrinkly?
A: Because, if it was small, white and smooth it would be an Aspirin.

Q: What is grey and not there.
A: No elephants.

Q: What do you call two elephants on a bicycle?
A: Optimistic!

Q: Why do elephants have trunks?
A: Because they would look silly with glove compartments.

Q: What is beautiful, gray and wears glass slippers?
A: Cinderelephant.

Pattern: Girl Elephant from Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet
Yarn: Berroco Comfort Worsted
Hook: 3.5mm

Her name, according to my BFF Wendy, is Stella.
Her name, according to my Aunt Karyl Lynn, is Elsie.

Barely even born and already has an identity crisis. Regardless, she's another store sample for my class this fall.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Introducing Knitasha

Last year for my mom's birthday, Knit Knack got a beach bum outfit.

This year for my mom's birthday, Knit Knack got a girlfriend.

Meet Knitasha. Pattern, of course, is
Sheldon by Ruth Homrighaus. Needles: Size US2 dpns. Yarn: Reynolds Top Seed Cotton.

Before heading to Wooster, Knitasha spent a little time at work with me so that I could write a book for my mom about my job.

All of my concerns about whether or not Knit Knack and Knitasha would get along together were unwarranted. They took to each other like two old friends, and were nearly inseparable all weekend.

The two love-turtles also received a picnic quilt and picnic basket with the appropriate accoutrement for hours of outdoor enjoyment. (I must admit I'm particularly looking forward to the picnic adventure story!)

Looks like these two are already sharing plenty of turtley secrets.

Knitasha also came with a sun hat for picnics, in case her eyelashes aren't enough to keep out the sun. Along with the sun hat comes a pattern for you to make your very own sun hat (or Easter bonnet) for your turtle.

Easter Bonnet

Use the same needles and type of yarn that you used for your turtle. You want the same gauge. I used mercerized cotton and size 2 DPNs. I didn’t measure how much yardage it took, but it’s way less than 50 yards.

Using the long tail method, cast on 75 stitches, and divide so you have 25 stitches on each of three double pointed needles. Leave a 12 inch tail. Join to work in the round. Your tail marks the beginning of your round, or you can place a marker.

Rows 1-3: knit
Row 4: *k2tog, k3, repeat from * to end (60 sts)
Row 5: knit
Row 6: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end (45 sts)
Row 7: knit
Row 8: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end (30 sts)
Row 9-10: knit
Row 11: *k2, yo, k2tog, k1, repeat from *to end
Row 12: knit
Row 13: *k4, k2tog, k3, repeat from * to last stitch, knit together with first stitch of next round (24 sts)
Row 14-17: knit
Row 18: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end (16 sts)
Row 19: knit
Row 20: *k2tog, repeat from * to end (8 sts)

Break yarn and pull through all 8 stitches. Pull tight to close hole and weave yarn in on stockinette side.

Turn your hat inside out! The reverse stockinette is the right side.

Cut a piece of ribbon about 18” long, and weave through every other hole made from the yarn over and let the ends hang. Trim as you like.

Put your cast on tail on a yarn needle. Pass the needle under just one side of each of the cast on stitches as shown. Go all the way around the brim. This will help to flatten out the brim a bit. It still won’t be perfectly flat, but it will be better than it would be otherwise.