Monday, December 21, 2015

Crazy Crafty: A Sock Monkey's "Tail"

Hand-me-downs work in mysterious ways.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, my older brother is kind of a hip artist; professionally, he works as a graphic artist and screen printer but his passions are illustration, lowbrow culture, and motorcycles.  Being well-connected in the action sportswear industry and motorcycle/chopper scene means that he often gets insider hook-ups.  Fortunately for me, the trickle-down effect applies even when it comes to such pedestrian things as socks!  Recently, I procured from him a few pairs of brand-spanking-new Stance Socks.  In all honesty, I was a little concerned by the obsession my bearded brother and his tough-looking biker friends have with the preciously-patterned, often intentionally-mismated socks (designed and worn by the likes of Rihanna).  One wear of the socks, however, was enough to change my derisive tune.  Without sounding like a paid testimonial, all I will say is that the cushioned sole, the downy-soft yarns, and the comforting compression of the elastic fibers, are total game-changers.  If socks were hugs, then Stance would be my large-bosomed grandma.  This is why, with only three sets to my name, I was reticent to destroy even one pair of these footwear phenoms.  But given the color story and pattern of this particular pair, I was left with no choice but to turn to one of the Depression-era's most popular crafts.

It's nearly impossible to believe that the designers at Stance intended these to be anything but a sock monkey!

In the 1930s, the "Rockford Red Heel," a sock manufactured by the Nelson Knitting Company, became the standard for creating the iconic sock monkey.  With their heathery field punctuated by  "Rockford Red" heels and toes, these socks were practicaly foreordained to become my nephew's refashioned Christmas present.

Every year I make my nephew some kind of stuffed animal as part of Christmas/Birthday/Easter present.  With the socks burning a hole in my creative pocket and the years waning in which he will still be able to appreciate "Pirelephant", Pinkeroni the pink easter bunny, or Egghead the clown, this year was my last chance to be the (sock) monkey's uncle!

"Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!"
It's a bit creepy but aren't all sock monkeys?

I considered making an apr├Ęs-ski ensemble but with the striped toe of the sock automatically becoming
the sock monkey's permanent knitted cap; the only thing I needed to add was a red pompom on top.

I wish I could say that it was a conscious design choice, but the fact is that I didn't consider a tail when portioning out the precious knitted real estate of these hand-me-down, high-style socks.  Icould tell you that "I'm mad about about [this] chimpanzee" but...

One look at his bright-red hind quarters reveals that he is much more likely a sock baboon (and even
they have tails).  Please excuse me while I go fashion a tail out of sock scraps before Christmas Eve!

Sometimes I think just pretend to make these things for my nephew when I really kind of make them for myself.  Lucky for him, I do hand over custody but I have been granted frequent visitation.  I'm pleased that he continues to enjoy his growing menagerie of stuffed animals because I definitely get a kick out of making them.  Truth be told, if he didn't like them, I probably would continue to make them and keep them for myself.

I hope a new simian styling and a ride in a vintage Hy-Speed wagon do not undermine the street cred
of these super-hip superstar socks.  In fact, I hope that Stance hires me for their new craft division (with
Martha Stewart as the face of the brand, probably).

I even left the branding intact just so that Stance knew I was
serious about collaborating with Rihanna on her next line of socks.

I don't know that it strikes the same cool chord as an internationally-known pop star (or even a group of miscreant bikers), but I think I have a slogan for Stance's as yet untapped market; "Stance: the heart & sole of crafting!"

"The Monkey's Uncle" - Annette Funicello & The Beach Boys


Mr. Tiny


  1. I, as usual, love your stuff. This is a prize winning refashioning. Pinned the tailless monkey in the wagon.

    1. I think you are my biggest fan...and boy do I appreciate it! Thank you!!!

  2. i love him! his lips! the hat! Those socks were perfect for the project. Also, I love the mental image of you and Rhianna having a brain storming session on sock designs. that is a collab i would love to see! (Also, i've always found that monkey's uncle song creepy)

    1. Thanks, pal! Wouldn't Rihanna and I make a great pair...of socks??!!!!

  3. Them luscious monkey lips!!! I love him! I have always wanted a sock much so that I have sock monkey socks. That's meta and sad, I know. I love that Rhi Rhi has a go-to sock. To be honest, I don't think I've ever noticed her socks...but I will next time!!

    1. Oh, yes, she is the world's foremost urban haute hosiery authority! Honestly, I didn't know it until I looked at the a Stance website. My brother had mentioned that there were celebrity sock lines but Rihanna is big!!!

    2. Did you know Rob Kardashian has a sock line? Why do I know that??,?