19 June 2008

Sockless Sock Monkey

See pattern here.
See pictures here.

I have finished knitting a sockless sock monkey for my son. I had to make up a pattern as I went, because all the instructions and patterns I found involved cutting and sewing an existing pair of socks (hence the name sock monkey). I didn't have any of the "right" kind of socks, but I had bought some lovely wool yarn with which to knit the monkey. Also, I didn't want to knit up a pair of socks just to cut and sew them. Too wasteful for me. So I started knitting and tried to make my monkey at least resemble the appearance of the proper style of sock. I read up on the differences between the authentic vintage sock style and the more modern one using an updated version of the same sock. I studied the cutting pattern so as to most closely simulate the proper seams. I also tried to size the "socks" to something a little bigger than my foot, but not as big as my husband's, the monkey would be approximately the same size as a cut-and-sewn monkey.

It took me about two weeks of knitting. I knit in the playground while I pushed the boy on a swing, while standing in the kitchen waiting to flip pancakes, or just sitting at the table to get it done. The hardest part for me, strangely enough, was the ears. I got the legs and body knitted up, and the girls stuffed it with woollen fabric scraps. I knitted up the arms and tail, stuffed them with more woollen fabric scraps, and attached them. I knitted up the mouth and finally liked how it looked on the fourth (or maybe fifth) time I stitched it on. I kept stitching it assymetrically, and I am a stickler for symmetry. Then I knitted up the ears and stitched them on. And I had a cat instead of a monkey.

It took me probably half an hour to figure out why I had a cat instead of a monkey. See, I had done something strange with the top of the head, (which would have been the toe of the sock) and used adjacent paired single decreases instead of a single double decrease to shape the toe and I ended up with ladders between the pairs. I had then knitted ears just the right size to cover up those ladders, and of course, putting smallish ears on the top of the head gave me a cat instead of a monkey. Once I realized my mistake, I knitted up new, bigger ears, but then I had to figure out what to do about the unsightly ladders. So, after having stitched on the eyes by sewing in from the back of the head and anchoring my thread knots in the fabric stuffing deep inside the head, I frogged the whole top of the head, snipping the monkey's stitched on eyelashes as I went. I had to set it down to put Eirik down for a nap, and when I came back downstairs, Moira asked me if I was doing brain surgery on the monkey. I said I supposed I was, and gently picked up all my stitches onto my needles again and started the toe-top all over, this time using one double decrease on each side of the head. The result was a much better looking head. I stitched the ears to the side of his head, and voila, I had a monkey.

I gave the monkey to my little punkmonkey son and we went out to the swing. He had much fun throwing the monkey on the ground while swinging and making me rescue him. He then would coddle the monkey for a few moments before throwing him down again. Finally, at one point I picked the monkey up off the ground and put him in the next swing over, which was empty. He left it there. We got down and went and played at the slide where Monkey was hurtled headlong down the slide. Eirik and Monkey returned to the swing where the coddle/rescue cycle began again. This time, Rowan was swinging right nest to him, so I put Monkey next to her. This time, he climbed down out of the swing and walked right under Rowan to get Monkey back. She was on her back swing and he got kicked in the head and went sprawling on the woodchips. Poor guy. Being only 20 months old, he was resilient and was soon playing Throw the Monkey again. He seems to really like it, which makes me very happy. There is little that is more disappointing than spending so much time and effort on an unappreciated gift.

I will try to post some pictures here if I can get my camera to work. I suppose I should also try writing out the pattern, too.

8 comments:

Jenny said...

Awww. This sounds like it was a fun adventure!! I'd love to see some pictures.

Kati said...

*grin* Brain surgery on the sock monkey.... Love it!

I just found you through Crunchy Chicken, and I've liked reading the most recent 4 or 5 posts you've written.

Blessings!

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