It’s A Most Sock Monkey Time of the Year


Let’s take a break from the Sturm Und Drang of the Writers Guild Strike (and I mean that literally, as it snowed on East Coast picketers this week and a whipping wind midday Tuesday greatly stressed our giant inflatable pig.) It’s the season of cocooning and creativity: why venture outside when it is much cozier indoors, curled up with a cup of Jacques Torres hot chocolate (no product placement fee paid here; I just love the stuff) and a crafty challenge? What better way to pass the time than making a sock monkey? Or thinking about making a sock monkey and then putting it on your list of “Things to do” right after “Become fluent in French” and “Learn to program the automatic cat feeder that I got as a gift three years ago”. Sewing sock monkeys is a venerable American tradition that can be traced back to the 1930s, when “red heel” socks were first manufactured by the Nelson Knitting Company of Illinois. The brashly colored heel was technically called a “De-Tec-Tip”. Childhood nostalgia colliding with aesthetic appreciation of the bizarre individuality of each of these stretchy simians has resulted in a new Golden Age of the Sock Monkey. Some highlights:


Sock Monkeys: 200 Out of 1,863, with photographs by Arne Svenson, features lovingly lit photographic portraits of collector Ron Warren’s ample stock of sock monkeys. Monkey musing are contributed by a diverse array of enthusiasts including Neil Gaiman and Isaac Mizrahi. “Mr. Svenson, I’ve gotten the foot stink out of my fibers and I’m ready for my close-up!”


The intricately inked comic book series Sock Monkey by Tony Millionaire, follows the adventures of Uncle Gabby (a sock monkey) and his side-kick Mr. Crow (a plush toy with button eyes). Peculiar playthings abound. Some of these ventures into Victoriana are appropriate for the children, some will warp the children. Either way, it is sure to leave them with an appreciation for the poetic and a rudimentary knowledge of whaling. Tony Millionaire is, of course, a genius.


And here is Penn Gillette’s debut novel, Sock. I haven’t read it but it looks promising, disturbing, and opinionated. (If you’ve read it, send in a comment!)

And there’s more: a comprehensive source for ordering sock monkey stuff online is the clickable emporium Monkey of Sock.

If you want to make a sock monkey yourself, all the information you need can be found here.

Abundant inspiration is available on this page which links to sock monkey entrants in the Sock Monkey Challenge of 2006. You can find everything from Dr. Sock-N-Furter (warning: disturbing!) to (winner) Mr. T Sock Monkey.

(By the way, that lovely sock monkey dress atop was an entry in the 2006 Minnesota State Fair.)


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One Response to “It’s A Most Sock Monkey Time of the Year”

  1. slcoutsider/elijahpollack Says:

    I saw a really cool ‘Make Your Own Sockmonkeys’ gift set at Barnes and Noble. It I weren’t so poor, I would have bought it for myself.

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