100th Monkey Books and Cafe
There is no greater challenge, no greater risk, and no greater satisfaction than the triumph of outknitting one’s adversaries on the field of battle—the comfy field of cafe-knitting-circle battle. With tea, and snacks. Maybe a nice cappuccino, if you’re up for the caffeine.
Once a week, the fuzzy gauntlet is thrown down. Competitors from around the area loosen their wrists, tighten their hair buns, and polish their sharpened needles to a wicked gleam as they murmur curses upon their opponents. This is the arena, the circle of death, the Thunderdome.
For some, the strategy revolves around technique; for others, equipment. No matter the angle, there is the ever-present struggle of the underdog vs. the privileged. Big money is spent—keeping up on the latest stitches, traveling the world researching the traditions of isolated grandmas in tiny villages, coming in with the finest platinum needles or rare spider-silk yarns. Sponsorships are the only hope for many.
This timeless story is illustrated no better than through the rivalry between Myrtle “Purl Two” Tucker and her longtime nemesis, Esther “The Slip Stitch” De Rothschild.
Born into a small Mennonite community on the outskirts of Chico, Myrtle showed promise from an early age. Her mother swelled with pride as she recounted tales of little Myrtle knitting the wool while it was still on the sheep, fashioning stylishly patterned and textured sweaters that needed only be shorn off before being sold at the local market. Her spirit of innovation and tightly knit (Get it? Tightly knit!) community of supporters have made her the darling of the 99%.
Often accused of unfairly leveraging her considerable wealth and power to crush the competition, Esther De Rothschild is the juggernaut of the knitting world. She has quietly built an empire of scientists, shepherds, textile spinners, and artistic think-tanks. Some have even suspected her of directing a network of spies and saboteurs, and there are nervous whispers of doping. One thing is certain, however: going into the ring with “The Slip Stitch” is like entering the den of a cobra.
In their last highly anticipated face off, the conflict took a shocking and devastating turn. Chaos erupted when a stray kitten (reportedly named Pope John Paws II) wandered into the cafe, wreaking havoc on the carefully staged yarn baskets of both women.
Before the monster could be contained, there were giant balls of yarn batted playfully back and forth, irreparably tangling the fibers into a mass of craft-vomit the likes of which 100th Monkey had never seen. In an ill-fated attempt to stab the creature with her knitting needles, Mrs. De Rothschild’s hand missed its mark—spilling an entire pot of Earl Grey over her 80% milk-protein Anzula yarn. Everyone knows you drink Earl Grey with lemon.