German Village Gazette

Balancing act

Help! I've got the fever for a sock monkey


If I were in the last month of a pregnancy, I'd expect the "nesting" instinct to kick in. No knitter, I'd be knitting. No painter, I'd be painting. All in breathless anticipation of the new arrival.

Little did I know that the same phenomenon applies to grandmas. Just days away from Grandchild No. 2's arrival, I became obsessed with a dangerous desire to make a sock monkey. Somehow, I thought it would suit the personality of my wild-child son's first boy.

No seamstress, I stopped twice by a hobby store and perused the instructions for transforming two Nelson Red Heel Rockford Socks ("the ONLY official sock of the sock monkey") into a Curious George affair with red lips and a bright red behind.

I wanted to create something that would be handed down for generations. But twice, I sighed and walked away.

"Would I actually finish this?" I asked myself. And with good reason. I still have the kit for a stuffed bear I planned to make this same son when he was about 8. One frustrating sit-down session with a patch of mink-like fur and bag of plastic joints, and I put it back in the box. That was nearly 30 years ago.

The sock monkey looked equally complicated. Maybe you have to be there, but I just couldn't visualize sewing a seam on both sides of the center of the sock, starting three inches from the heel and across the end of the top, cutting the sock between the seams and to within 1 ??? inches of the heel to make an opening in the crotch suitable for stuffing.

I also didn't get how a second sock magically becomes the arms, tail, mouth, cap and ears. At least not without bumbling first through a couple dozen socks over a couple dozen hours.

"What kind of person wastes perfectly good socks when feet all over the world are freezing?" I asked myself. Coupled with "What kind of grandma can't even make a sock monkey?"

Thankfully, I posed Question No. 2 to the book group that tolerates my presence even though I rarely have time to finish the book.

"You don't make sock monkeys," my friend Kay explained. "You buy them on Etsy and pretend you did."

Coming from a woman who does read the books and spends hours on petit point embroidery, the emphasis was probably on the "YOU." But I took it to heart regardless and headed to the online crafters' site, where my friend assured me I would not only save socks for freezing feet but benefit some worthy crafter.

There, I met a baseball player sock monkey and his friendly creator Janet. Her monkey sported a handmade baseball shirt and a red cap with the initial "B" -- apparently for baseball.

"Could you change it to "A" for "Aiden"? I wrote. And she immediately wrote back, "No problem. I'll just make another hat."

Knowing that I've never "just made another hat," I decided that Janet was my woman.

As luck would have it, the monkey and Aiden arrived this month on the very same day. One look, and I knew they were made for each other. And there was no 30-year wait.

"My grandma was an amazing subcontractor," he'll probably tell his kids someday.

I wonder if Janet stuffs bears.


Balancing act author Pat Snyder is a Northwest Columbus resident and life-balance speaker and coach. Find her online at