Books that I keep for students to learn “how” to create sock dolls: “Sock Doll Workshop,” and “How to make the red heal monkey.”
Socks are fun and easy materials to work with when sewing dolls by hand. I keep two titles, “Sock Doll Workshop: 30 Delightful Dolls To Create and Cherish,’” and also the newer purchase, “How to make the original Rockford Red Heel Monkey,” in my bookcase for students. Sock dolls require far less sewing than most doll patterns and these also demonstrate to students just “how” they might recycle old materials.
The most popular sock dolls were made from “dec-tec-tip” socks during the Great Depression era in America.
“Around 1951, the Nelson Knitting company discovered that their socks were being used to make monkey dolls. This company became involved in a dispute over the design patent on the sock monkey pattern. They were awarded the patent in 1955, and began including the pattern with every pair of socks. The sock monkey doll was then used in promotional campaigns celebrating the widespread application of their product by inventive homemakers in the field of monkey manufacturing.
In 1958, the “scrap-craft” magazine Pack-O-Fun published “How to Make Sock Toys”, a guide to making different sock animals and dolls with red heeled socks. Frequently cited as being their most popular book ever, this pamphlet went through multiple printings and was produced in new editions up until the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s, a company called Marketing Tide of Willoughby Hills, Ohio, sold kits with the original socks and instructions in numerous craft and sewing magazines. Their kit was featured on the ABC-TV Network Home Show in 1992, which helped to put the Sock Monkey firmly back into American Culture.
The Nelson Knitting Company was acquired in 1992 by Fox River Mills, and the original brown heather, Red Heel monkey sock is still in production by Fox River Mills. A distinctive change in the red-heeled sock design distinguishes monkeys made with Fox River Mills socks from Nelson Knitting Company socks. Fox River heels are more uniformly ovular, without the end points that gave Nelson Knitting-made sock monkeys their smiles or frowns.
In the 21st century, efforts by crafters, writers, photographers, and artists to immortalize the sock monkey doll beyond soft sculptured socks has intensified. Today, sock monkey images can be found adorning books, greeting cards, journals, calendars, book marks, paintings, playing cards, quilts, clothing, jewelery, and bakery goods like cakes and cookies to name but a few. Sock monkeys have also been immortalized in polymer clay, fiberglass, and in commercials. They have been themes for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and baby showers. They continue to make their way into our homes and hearts.” (Wikipedia)
The first sock doll that I created from recycled materials was a clown.
He had a funny little expression and freckles on the tip of his nose.