Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cocktail Monkeys, or More Cosmic Oddness

Beth said I should mention the cocktail monkeys. I'm ever one to oblige, so here they are, below and in the sidebar. Don't thank me, thank Beth.

Photo of cocktail monkey keeper

Strictly speaking, this is not an Old Jersey – for one thing, it's not a jersey. Actually, no one is quite sure what it is, only what it's not. I finished it in May, so it's hardly old. But that was BB (before blog) and there was no opportunity to to share it with the virtual world. Plus in August no one cares to fuss over its dubious ontology.

A functional description of the objet would be something like failed pen holder turned cocktail monkey keeper. A topical description would be closer to Hobbies Gone Wrong with a slightly lower level of obsessiveness. It's that difference of degree that makes all the difference.

Cosmic oddness first became noticeable when Beth attended a staff retreat in March. Cocktail monkeys were involved. As a serious time management tool. Really. You could look it up – just search on the works of William Oncken, Jr., whose articles in Harvard Business Review are some of that august business journal's most-requested reprints. For the business solutions, not the drink recipes, of course. It's all about empowerment, taking responsibility, and not passing the monkey.

Mere days after the retreat came spring Knitty with Kristin Goedert's fabulous hemp Cocktail Monkey Bag. Between the appeal of her design, the growing cosmic oddness, and the fact I'd never worked with hemp before, the bag immediately moved to the top of my project queue.

Just as immediately, things started to go wrong. It took a while to locate the specified materials, in part because I was looking in the wrong places. My local hardware store doesn't carry hemp twine, but all the big chain crafts stores have it in the beading section. I couldn't get gauge and working with twine made my hands hurt. The sizing in the twine smells something awful, too. I never did find the specified fringe and ended up using two shades of green Fun Fur held together.

After struggling a bit, I gave up on the bag, but not on Kristen's concept. Out came the trusty crochet hook and the rectangular knitted bag morphed into a crocheted cylindrical approximation of a palm tree. I actually like the crochet fabric better than the knit. It was only after the objet was blocking (stretched over a can of black beans) that I realized it's too tall and insufficiently weighty to be a pen holder. At least soaking and blocking got rid of most of the sizing which, as Kristen notes, leaches out as a vile yellow liquid.

Always resourceful, Beth put the failed pen holder to use as a cocktail monkey keeper. It resides in her office, where it keeps the cocktail monkeys very well. Almost no one has noticed or maybe they're too afraid to comment. As almost no one traipsing in and out of her office reads HBR, almost no one would seem to have comprehended the significance of this approximation of a palm tree. Sigh.

And that's how a crocheted cocktail monkey keeper ends up on a knitting blog as an Old Jersey.


ck said...

I like the cocktail monkies...I've got to look for some of those. It reminds me of theat game I played as a kid.

Lee Anne said...

Oh my goodness...I haven't seen those since I was a kid! I didn't even know they still made them!!!!! How funny and thanks for posting that!