Sock Monkeys – Americana Folk Art

Sock Monkeys became a hit during the depression when mothers began making monkeys out of old Rockford Red Heel Socks.  John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant, patented a sock-knitting machine.  The work socks were manufactured for farmers and factory workers in Rockford Ill., in 1890.


The 100 year old sock monkey is making a comeback.  You are beginning to see the icon on coats (Kids Gap) p.j.’s (target) and fabric.  When times get tough, we begin to see the comforts of the past show up in our everyday living.

Even though sock monkeys are being mass produced, there is nothing like a hand made sock monkey from the old Rockford Red Heel Socks.  Every sock monkey becomes a unique piece of Americana folk art because each monkey takes on it’s own individual personality.

My sis, Sheila, has made a sock monkey for each one of her grandchildren.  She purchased a bunch of socks and shared her stash with me this year.  I made two monkeys for my youngest grands… Beck and Rosemary.  I was lucky enough to find a pre-made monkey at a retail store, purchased it, and dressed it for Abram.


It’s been awhile since I’ve had my sewing equipment out…and it was a little like learning to sew all over again.  But, even though it was a bit of a challenge, it was fun.


I actually think the kids parents and I got a bigger kick out of the sock monkeys than the kids did… as evidenced by this photo.  (At 7:00 p.m. on Christmas day.. I think they had hit the wall.)   But… as the years go by, I’m sure they will appreciate them more… if not… I know of a few other grands that are itching to get their hands on them.


On the other hand, Sheila’s grand daughter, Savannah is in the right spirit of the day….happy with her Sock Monkey.

There is nothing like a homemade gift… don’t you agree?   I love Americana crafts!

Till Later

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Here is a site where you can purchase the Sock Monkey socks and instructions for making a sock monkey doll.

2 responses to “Sock Monkeys – Americana Folk Art”

  1. Hey Kathy – these are so cute. What do you estimate the TIME FRAME WAS to make these – I have 3 sitting up in a window seal of our kids play room (my kids are all adults and have left home) and all the store bought stuff animals are in Black bags – never to see the light is day I’ll bet – but the sock monkey’s lovingly made by Aunt Sheila will always have a tender place in my heart and in the window – someday the grandkids will play with them.

  2. It took me longer to make the sock monkeys than I would have liked. I kept making mistakes…like cutting the coats wrong. I was at DI twice getting new sweaters for their coats.
    Sheila did the sewing… which was about 15 minutes. I did the stuffing… and sewing… which seem to take me all day. Again… the simple coats were the hang up. They were fun to make… but I’m not too eager to make another one real soon.