Sock Monkeys are making a comeback, but where are they coming back from?I never knew or heard of sock monkeys as a kid. In fact, I didn’t know what they were prior to 2004 when an eBay customer requested a miniature sculpted sock monkey
A sock monkey is a stuffed toy puppet handmade from an old sock. The traditional monkey is made from a gray working sock with white heels and red stitching
The exact origin of the sock monkey is unknown; it is believed to have originated in the Victorian Era when the ‘stuffed animal’ craze swept the European nations.
The sock monkey settled itself into US history with the invention of Swedish immigrant John Nelson’s sock knitting machine. What started out as a gray knitted working sock soon became the foundation for the homemade sock monkey.
The Great Depression left many families unable to purchase new toys for their young children. And so came about the explosion of the sock monkey. The traditional working sock from Nelson Knitting Mills, Rockford, Illinois, became the primary starting material for the traditional sock monkey, and a comfort to young children in these trying times
In 1932 Nelson Knitting Mills added red stitching to the heel of their socks to set them apart from other sock companies. This red addition is the source of the iconic red mouthed gray monkey.
These monkeys became so popular, that in 1951 a sock monkey pattern and instructions were included with every package of Nelson Socks.
The sock monkey has come and gone many times since then, reappearing in children’s books, cartoons, and toys of many other forms
I love sculpting these little monkeys. What started out as simple gray miniatures soon grew into jewelry, trinkets, and collectibles of many sizes and colors.
I sculpt my ‘fabric’ monkeys from a mixture of Premo and Granitex Sculpey Polymer Clay. The Granitex clay with its special embedded fibers give my monkeys their realistic ‘sock-like’ effect
See additional Sock Monkey products in my Artfire Shop