Sock Monkey

Sock Monkey

(This appeared originally in the March Projects blog post. I pulled it out so the Monkey shows in the knitting project list.)

In February, I had started knitting a sock monkey. I had done several hats by then, and realized that I was dangerously close to being surrounded by stacks of hats that I will never get a chance to wear in sunny SoCal, so I started looking for something new to do. Only I really really liked doing the hats, and for some bizarre reason, I thought making a REALLY SMALL HAT would be AWESOME.  (Why does this bring back memories of getting into the insanity art of tutu making???)  I did, at least, recognize early on that a tiny hat served no purpose with no tiny head to put it on, and so the logical thing to do, then, was to first knit a sock monkey.  I found a simple pattern online, and read it over; it seemed pretty straightforward, and doable, and so I bought more yarn, and started in.

Two legs joined by knitting the body directly at the top rows of the legs.

Each leg/arm/tail is started at the bottom with cream color yarn and just a few stitches; they are increased row over row until the form a circle, and then just knitted straight up into a tube.  For the legs, once the first tube is the right length, the stitches are held with needles, and the top of the leg is left open. Then another leg is knitted, and when it's the same length as the first, both legs are moved to the same set of needles (four double-pointed needles).  They are joined together by knitting around the tops of the legs, which is also the beginning of the body.  Then, the knitting is just continued on for the body. The body, all the way up to the start of the top of the head, is just a long tube.  Just like the legs, only wider around.

It's starting to look like a little body!

The finished body.

The top of the head is done the exact same way as the feet, just decreasing stitches instead of increasing stitches.

I realized, at this point, that the top of the head looked out of balance to the rest of the body; I checked the instructions again, and I had done it correctly, but I didn't like it.  I ripped it all out, and re-knitted it, much shorter the second time. The next step was the muzzle, which is similar to the process of the legs, only instead of a circle, it's an oval, and so the increases aren't evenly spread around, but are done at the beginning of the circle, and in the middle, so that as more rows are completed, it forms an oval.  The muzzle is started with red thread for the mouth, and then the thread is changed to cream for the rest of the muzzle. When it's the right size, the stitches are cast off, so they won't pull out, and the yarn is cut off from the skein, leaving a tail.  That tail is used to sew the muzzle on to the monkey body. Just for fun, I added the eyes and nostrils at this point, so it wasn't a creepy eyeless body, and so it would look like a monkey. That's when I realized he was going to watch me knit his arms and tail, which seemed even creepier than an eyeless body, somehow.

It's a monkey!!

The arms and tail were knitted the same way as the legs, only once they were the right length, I cast off the stitches so they were closed tubes, then I used the yarn tails on each piece to sew the appendage to the body.  This made them floppier with more movement than if I had left the tops open for sewing onto the body.

One arm on. Yay!

I ran into some issues with the ears; the pattern for the ears was sewn as a half circle, and it just wasn't going well; the stitches were pulling weird because of the shape (user error, I'm sure!) and I was just not happy, so I did some sock monkey knitting research, and found another pattern that had a completely different approach to the ears; and ironically, that approach was the exact same as starting the legs!!! The only difference was that once the circle was the right diameter, one more row was knitted to give a curl around the edges, and then the whole thing was cast off, and sewn on to the head. Finally, all the body parts were done and attached, and the monkey was finished!!!

Hello, Sock Monkey!

The whole think took about a week, each arm and leg took roughly an evening, and since it's stuffed as it goes, and body parts were sewn on as they were finished, it was easy to stay motivated to finish him.  I'm not entirely happy with him; I think he's a little chubby.  I took him to band, where one of the musicians is also a knitter (and a super source for expert advice!!!!) and she told me how to rotate the stitches around on multiple double pointed needles to avoid pulling on the stitches at either end of each needle. She also gave me some valuable information about gauge, yarn weight, and needle sizes; I think if I'd used a thinner yard and a smaller needle, the monkey wouldn't be as chubby; but, the pattern is also very simple, and so it will always have the dimensions it does now.  I've found another pattern for a slightly more sophisticated monkey that I will try in the future. BUT, back to the reason for knitting the sock monkey - the tiny hat!!! It only took a few hours, and it was so super fun. It's a scaled down version of the same hats I've been knitting; only I added a pom pom just because how ridiculous is a sock monkey in a winter hat with a POM POM?!?!

I think he looks pretty snazzy in his awesome hat. I also think he should be singing "rolling with my homies".

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