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Going bananas about vintage and retro sock monkeys

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Going bananas about vintage and retro sock monkeys

What is a sock monkey? A sock monkey is a stuffed toy in the shape of a monkey that is made from socks. The first sock monkeys were made during the Arts & Crafts movement in America in the early 1900s by enterprising women with spare socks, and soon they became a much-loved staple of children's nurseries everywhere.

Most vintage sock monkeys found today were made from the 1950s onward, with the majority being from the 1970s. While it is a shame to think about the disintegration of poor defenseless sock monkeys from age and wear, many older sock monkeys simply did not hold up well to years of being loved. Socks are not meant to be in-use for such a long time, causing the poor things to wear out.

A brief history of sock monkey stuffed toys

Traditional sock monkeys are always made with the original Nelson Red Heel Socks. The distinctive red-mouthed sock monkey was created in the 1930s from Nelson Knitting Company's red-heeled socks by inventive homemakers. By the 1950s, the company began to provide a sock monkey pattern with every pair of these socks.

Since that time and with the inclusion of those freebie patterns with socks, the sock monkey has been elevated to an art form with wildly patterned socks being used in addition to the traditional red-heeled socks. The humble sock monkey has become a pop culture icon featured on T-shirts, keychains, and fabric. In addition, from 2005 to 2016 the town of Rockford, Illinois had held a Sock Monkey Festival celebrating the birthplace of the red-heeled "sock monkey" socks. Sadly, they no longer seem to be hosting the event.

Sock monkeys are the best classic toys

Sock monkeys have provided over one hundred years of fun for young and old collectors alike, and they are still going strong with children today. That's impressive by any standards. More importantly, there is something for everyone with sock monkeys. Older collectors can enjoy the original vintage and antique sock monkeys lovingly recovered from storage to be displayed proudly. Children can spend hours playing with the wide variety of retro sock monkeys being produced today. There are even toys with a sock monkey theme. How cool is that!

Lovable retro sock monkey patterns and kits

While it's easy to just buy a sock monkey in whatever size you desire, it is fun for collectors like you to make your very own vintage style sock monkey from a kit or pattern.

Who doesn't like sock monkeys? They are goofy, they are squeezable, they are huggable, and you just have to love them! The very best kind of sock monkey is a handmade sock monkey -- especially one made just for you. It's easy to sew your own sock monkey from a pattern. There are also sock monkey kits available both commercially and from fabric artists. With a little shopping around, you should have no trouble finding the sock monkey kit or pattern that is just right for the particular sock monkey design you would like to make.

The original brown sock monkey socks:

New colours: now in red, yellow, blue, and pink!

Further reading

You might also enjoy these books:


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