I adore those goofy-looking little bastards.
I love how they are perfectly imperfect.
I love the idea that someone took the time to make such a cute little item for someone special.
I love that they are made from a single pair of socks. Socks! It’s repurposing genius!
Now I don’t have a house-full of sock monkeys. . .I’m not that obsessed. I have my original one that my Grandmother made for me. I have a pair dressed as a bride and groom that were gifted to us for our engagement. I have a pair of pajamas with some sock monkeys on them. . .and well, yes, I did dress my kid as one for Halloween. However, that was more for practical purposes. . .Oh, I also did have some note cards with sock monkeys on them at one point. . .And someone did give me a Christmas sock monkey night-light one year. . .Mac’s jack in the box is actually a sock monkey in the box. . .
And I almost forgot! I had a sock gorilla once. It was the most adorable little thing. I adored him! I loved him entirely too much for my age. Seriously, Google sock gorilla. I’ll bet you just want to squish him! Alas, the dogs chewed him to shreds. . .Jerks.
Still, I swear, there aren’t monkeys hanging out all over the joint. I SWEAR. . .
Yet despite my love of the little critters, I had never attempted to actually make a sock monkey. . .until last night.
Have you ever tried to make a sock monkey?
My advice? FUCK THAT.
It’s enough to make your head explode.
Around Thanksgiving, my sister asked me if I’d make sock monkeys for her son and daughter for Christmas this year. Apparently, they had been asking for them and she thought handmade ones would be more sentimental than commercially produced ones. I agreed without hesitation. After all, I made these sock bunnies for Easter, and they were hardly any trouble at all.
I found a wonderful tutorial that even included a download-able pattern at Craft Passion. And although, it looked like a LOT of steps, I figured I could modify a few of the steps and still end up with a decent finished product.
The tutorial photos included a shot of an entire BASKET full of sock monkeys in all these wild patterns. As usual, my ambition and imagination when into over-drive. I drug Chris and Mac to Target and snagged approximately $20 worth of socks. I was going to be a sock monkey makin’ machine! Mac and each of his cousins would get sock monkeys this year! Plus, our god-son and his soon to arrive sister. . .and maybe a few other folks that have been on my nice list this year. . .Oh, how awesome all the patterned and colorful socks looked! Maybe I’d even make miniature tutus for the girl monkeys! I couldn’t wait to crank out 6 or 8 or 10 monkeys!! MONKEYS! MON-KEEEEESSSSS!!!!!
Except, shit kept getting in the way of my sewing. I don’t know why, but I ALWAYS procrastinate with my sewing chores and projects. Maybe because all the materials and machines are in the basement and therefore less convenient? Maybe because it often involves an iron and gawd do I hate to iron? Maybe because I’m just supremely lazy and it’s easier to eat cookies and watch Teen Mom?
Whatever the reason, the socks were waiting patiently for me for weeks. And last night, I realized I absolutely, positively, had to make at least the two for my niece and nephew, the others could wait for another occasion.
So I got to it. I decided I’d use these thick, heavy beige socks for their first two monkeys. Give them a big, traditional version to start and then move on to the patterned socks when I had time.
Last night about 7:00, Chris took Mac upstairs for his bath and I raced to the sewing machine to get started on the initial steps of the pattern. I figured I’d have at least half a monkey banged out by the time I needed to fetch Mac from the bath.
The machine sewing went quickly and I found I didn’t need to actually use the pattern. I was just able to “eyeball” where I should be stitching. This excited me greatly. I also realized the socks were so thick, I didn’t really need to press them or pin them, they stayed together well enough with their own weight. . .And the sewing machine performed well, despite the odd material. . .no jamming or other curse inducing episodes.
I got all my stitches done, drug the socks to the kitchen, fetched Mac from the bath, dressed him and started to cut the socks in accordance with the tutorial instructions.
And that’s when I realized this wasn’t nearly as simple as it appeared. . .
You ever get a hole in a sock like this? (For as much as I love sock monkeys, I hate socks), so somehow I had failed to consider the whole “unravel” issue that could accompany knit socks.
I tentatively sliced my scissors between the first two stitches. Immediately, all these small cotton loops started shedding off the sock onto the table. . .and the edges started curling up.
Hmmm. . .well, now I know why we sewed the stuff before cutting. . .
By the time I had cut all the monkey parts, it looked as if it had snowed small cotton loops all over our kitchen table. . .and half the kitchen floor. . .
Mac and Chris play and read for about an hour, while I desperately attempt to turn skinny little monkey arms right-side out. The knit fabric doesn’t slide readily over itself. It’s a harrowing task. I was using a chopstick to assist me, but if you push too hard on the chopstick, it can get miss-directed and poke a hole in the knit itself.
Stuffing the arms was even worse.
It took me at least 90 minutes to complete two arms.
And after I put Mac to bed, I returned to the kitchen and stared sadly at that long, long tail. Ugh. It also took 90 minutes.
My hands were cramped. . .my fingers looked like curled talons from all the pushing and pulling and tugging.
Why on earth would anyone EVER make one of these asshole monkeys? I should just go buy monkeys and add some embroidery floss and say I made them. This is ridiculous.
By 10:30, I was on my third (or possibly fourth) beer, and I was exhausted. But I still wanted to get the ears and mouth done. I HAD TO.
Why do I always procrastinate like this? I could have been sewing these things in the car while Chris drove us to the bird count this weekend. I’m such a loser. Slurp. I hate you monkey. If I never see another monkey again, it will be too soon!
So much for making something with love. . .I violently stabbed the needle into Mr. Monkey’s face while struggling to keep the rapidly unraveling parts of the mouth tucked under while hand stitching.
This morning when I pattered downstairs to make some coffee, I was confronted with this:
Son of a biscuit!! Even the cat hates this thing! I considered just letting him decimate the parts and help him dispose of the evidence. . .
But then I glanced up at the pudgy little monkey body just waiting for his arms and button eyes. . .and well, some love. . .
And I felt all my animosity wash away. . .
After all, even a misunderstood evil sock monkey deserves love and kindness. . .