4KCBWDAY2 – Shakespeare is full of two things: knitting and monkeys

I’m taking part in the fourth annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, hosted by Eskimimimakes blog.

Today is day two and the topic of the day is: Mascot project. The task is to choose a project that embodies the approach and values of my chosen house (Monkey).

I think the intent was for this to be a knitting or crochet project …but all I could think about was monkeys. And then I thought of monkeys knitting. And then I thought of monkeys typing Shakespeare. And then I thought of a wonderful question: I wonder how many instances of the words “monkey” and “knitting” occur in Shakespeare?

Monkey: There are 214 separate references to monkeys in Shakespeare. Some of my favorites include:

Now, God help thee, poor monkey. ~Lady Macduff, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 2

One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey.

Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor: I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys. ~ Tubal and Shylock, The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 2

Say ‘a day,’ without the ‘ever.’ No, no, Orlando; men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but sky changes when they are wives. I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen, more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey: I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you are disposed to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and that when thou art inclined to sleep. ~ Rosalind, As You Like It, Act 4, Scene 1

Note: I just discovered that today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day. What a fun coincidence.

Knit or Knitting: There are 457 separate references in Shakespeare. Some of my favorites are:

No, girl, I’ll knit it up in silken strings, with twenty odd-conceited true-love knots. ~Julia, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 7

O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence! Love takes the meaning of love’s conference. I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit, so that but one heart we can make of it. ~ Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2 Scene 2

Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep,’ the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,  Chief nourisher in life’s feast.   ~ Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2

How many references are there to both monkeys AND knitting? Sadly, none.

Michael Dumontier & Neil Farber, Inc. Untitled, (monkey knitting), 2009 Image from: http://www.richardhellergallery.com


    • Verily, my good lady, it doth resemble that name which is the source of many-a-inspiration. Perhaps there is a method in my madness (Hamlet)

  1. Brilliant post! I love collecting bits of literature with knitting in.

    I’m now wondering what you could do to make your mascot project come to fruition. Are you going to write about knitting monkeys in the style of Shakespeare?

    • I fear to throw myself into an endeavor today, which tomorrow will be but a sorry sight (Macbeth), Monkeys and the works of the Bard are a potent combination, but perhaps too much of a good thing? (As You Like It). Oh, tell me. Would it set your teeth on edge? (Henry IV)

    • It would also be interesting to see it as a spaghetti diagram of your home, as you run back and forth between stash, computer, reference books, yarn shop, etc… 🙂

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