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Monkey Love

They say you can tell a lot about a person by how they spend the first day after they’ve been laid off. Some people stay in bed and cry, others walk around in a daze, and a few even roll up their sleeves and start job-hunting.

Me, I went to a Sock Monkey workshop.

I wasn’t the only blogger at the sock monkey workshop, so maybe you’ll see some other sock monkeys around the blogosphere today. (Most of the bloggers were making monkeys, but at least one stopped by with the intention of reading a book about the history of the hydrogen bomb…he stayed for a quick chat while surveying the chaotic monkey-making scene, and then went off in search of a quieter venue.)

Sock Monkey Girl with her collection of sock monkeys

Sock Monkey Girl with her collection of sock monkeys

Some of the things I learned at the sock monkey workshop:

  • There’s a whole sock monkey subculture out there, and this little girl* is clearly part of it. So is this guy.
  • Sock monkey people are sweet. Nobody evil has ever made a sock monkey.
  • No two sock monkeys are the same, even if they’re made by the same person following the same pattern.
  • Imperfections improve sock monkeys.

Kimberly Malysheff and her unnamed sock monkey

Kimberly Malysheff and her unnamed sock monkey

The sock monkey workshop was led by the charming and multi-talented Kimberly Malysheff and hosted by Raw Sugar.

Kimberly was very kind and encouraging and she admired our monkeys every step of the way. She even asked GC if he was a tailor because his stitches were so perfect. He beamed. (I think that compliment almost made up for the parking ticket he got while we were in the workshop…)

I’m telling you, Raw Sugar is pretty much the best thing to ever happen to this city. It has become my neighbourhood coffee shop and I don’t even live in the same neighbourhood. So far I’ve gone there for a letter-writing night, a crafts night, a board games night, a reading, a music night, and now a Sock Monkey afternoon.

GC and Zoom's sock monkeys

GC and Zoom's sock monkeys

That’s my sock monkey on the right with GC’s sock monkey. Between them they still need four arms, two tails and three ears. I’ll post another picture when we finish them. But don’t you just love them already?

*Bonus for knitters: Here’s a free pattern for a sock monkey hat.

26 comments to Monkey Love

  • Jo

    I just bought fabric patterned with sock monkeys to make a quilt for a friend’s new baby. Is that like meta-crafting?

    I would have actually wanted to go to this workshop and I’m sad I didn’t find out about it in time. My nephew would probably like a sock monkey!


  • OH MY GOD!!! I have a sock monkey my grandmother made from me shortly after I was born and even though his arm is attached by a safety pin and his ear is hanging on by a thread he is the dearest thing in the world to me (as is the teddy bear my grandmother also made for me around the same time). If ever my house caught on fire, rescuing these two stuffed animals and my cat are my top priorities!

  • Deb

    I love them…can you make a sock monkey hat for the baby? Maybe I should try it…do you think it is difficult?

  • Julia

    I love that your two monkeys are quite different-looking. Who knew GC had talent in stitchery? But I am also glad you are out enjoying yourself. You can brood later if you need to.

  • Although this post’s header led me to a hasty assumption that you were dealing with being laid off just fine in other ways… I’d have to say that you’re still obviously dealing with being laid off just fine. Sock and Roll!

  • Don

    We had not been to Raw Sugar before, but based upon your comment we went (and mentioned your blob). It was good. Very comfortable. We’ll be going there again. Thanks for the tip.

  • Sock monkeys are cool. You can even get patterns to knit your own sock monkey! You monkies look great

  • XUP

    Your sock monkey is adorable. The little heart-shaped lips are very cute. The GC’s sock monkey looks like Homer Simpson.

  • Oma

    i think they look like they are in love.

  • grace

    Darn. Making a sock monkey is on my 101 Things list. This workshop would have been helpful, though I couldn’t have squeezed one thing more into this weekend. Those two monkeys look like canoodlers!

  • The best name for a sock monkey, by far, is Sockwell Day.

  • Arden

    Those are some awesome sock monkeys!

    Hee hee, Sockwell day *snickers*

  • It felt weird to go read at Umi Cafe, but I just didn’t have the right kind of energy for sock monkey construction.

  • Jo

    Sockwell Day. Hee hee hee.

    Once, when I worked at an arts camp a coworker and I made punky looking sock puppets. Our puppets formed their own band called… The Socks Pistols.

  • Janet

    Zoom – yikes (am responding more to your previous post, referenced by this current one). Does our good old organization exist anymore? Can an organization be said to exist when there is only an Executive Director and no one else?

    Well – one upside it that there sure are lots of people who have been through the same thing, and can offer solace, tips, etc. Will be in touch….

  • Jo, I almost didn’t go because I forgot about it, but then GC heard about it on Michael B’s show on CBC. Phew. I could photocopy the pattern for you if you like.

    WC – I love that you know exactly what you would take. Me, I’d panic and grab the closest thing to the door, which would probably be a single shoe or a broom or something.

    Deb, I remember that scarf you knit….maybe I should take care of the baby’s hat. 😉

    Julia, I know! They’re totally different.

    Coyote, I had to google monkey love to figure out what in the world you were referring to. 😉

    Don, I’m glad you checked it out. Maybe I’ll run into you there someday. Raw Sugar has a Facebook group too, which is how you can find out about their upcoming events.

    Thank you Valerie. I really like them too (and I don’t say that about *everything* I make!).

    XUP, that’s exactly what I told GC – that his monkey looked like Homer. He didn’t really see the resemblance, but I think it’s downright uncanny. You couldn’t make a sock monkey that looked more like Homer if you tried. I’m glad you see it too.

    Oma, I think they are. Wait’ll they get arms, they’ll be all over each other.

    Grace, can I add it to my 101 things list retroactively and then cross it off? Or is that cheating?

    elmaks – sockwell day, ha ha ha!

    Thank you nursemyra! I think you should make an anatomically correct sock monkey.

    Arden – I’ll tell them they’re awesome for you. (Duncan always likes it when I pass on your compliments to him.)

    Milan, I know, you can’t just stumble into sock monkey territory when you’re in hydrogen bomb mode. But, for what it’s worth, I would have loved to have seen the sock monkey you would have created.

    Jo – Socks Pistols! Ha ha. Do you still have them?

    Janet, well, hmm, it still exists, but you probably wouldn’t recognize it anymore. There’s a president, four vice-presidents, an EA, a co-op student and one union member.

  • A sock monkey workshop and I missed it (head slap) I’ve been poking around looking for those red-toed socks to make my sock monkey a mate or two.

    My sock monkey has travel pages of his Ottawa adventures from a few years ago:

  • If Emily had been with me, I am pretty sure we would have ended up staying for the monkey making.

    Indeed, she has been semi-neglecting her studies lately in order to make a knitted teddy bear.

  • SQUEEEE!!! They are ADORABLE and I agree the sweetest people I know make sock monkeys.

    You should know all three of your nephews here are now demanding I make them a sock monkey hat.

  • grace

    Of course you can add things to your list retroactively! It’s your list. Question is could I stroke it off my list by living vicariously through you?

  • Lisa in Toronto

    I hope the sock monkey workshop was a somewhat useful antidote to the layoff. Sorry to hear about that bad news, but I think you will seize the moment and turn it into something positive.

    I took a sock monkey workshop a couple of years ago. The pieces came pre-cut, and the teacher was good, but I was so slow at sewing it took me 5 or 6 hours to put it together. I love the results, but will not be making another one anytime soon. At least I didn’t have to knit the sock!

  • I think attending a sock monkey workshop after being laid off is about the most awesome thing you could do – waaaaaay better than the 3 day eggnog bender I went on after being laid off a few years back. Hope the monkeys bring play, inspiration and warm fuzziness to this new start!

  • […] first. There were about forty or fifty geocachers there. The second was a going-away party for the Sock Monkey Lady. She’s going away, back to the Sunshine Coast. Goodbye Sock Monkey Lady! We’ll miss […]

  • I had a dream last night that a sock monkey was eating my head, so now I can’t help but flee from sock monkies.

  • […] Barbie turned fifty. I lost the Tofu Challenge. We played board games in public. A lump was found in my breast. My layoff notice was not revoked and my 18-year job came to an end. I made a sock monkey. […]