Book Review: Sock Monkeys Galore with Monkey Business

fullsize_monkey.jpgOriginally made from cast-off work socks, the sock monkey is one of the earliest and best examples of upcycling.

Nowadays you can find sock monkeys that are sewn, knit or crocheted, and they're the perfect starter craft. They also make a great gift for babies, children, and even zany adults.

The sock monkey pattern book field is full of worthy contenders. But for price and portability, I like Patons fab pattern booklet, Monkey Business (pattern book number 500875).

The authors have taken it upon themselves to modernize the old monkey, with uber-cute results. And there's just enough time to sneak in a quick sock monkey project before the holidays.

What's it about?
Monkey Business is mostly about sock monkeys to knit and crochet - but there are also some fetching jungle pals for more accomplished knitters.

The projects:

There are both basic monkeys and fun variations. Whoever wrote this is obviously a music fan - there's a hilarious Sid Vicious-inspired punk monkey and a funky Bob Marley monkey. I particularly like the Mad Men-esque Sally Secretary Monkey. That's the beauty of sock monkeys - you can dress 'em up however you like.

Plus, there's a super-sweet baby monkey who would be the perfect companion for a newborn, with extra-long arms to grab onto. This book includes some very cute clothing instructions, along with the classic hat and scarf.

sally.jpgLeft: The gorgeous Sally in her workplace

What else is there?

If you feel comfortable with a bit more shaping and sewing you can make Leo Lion, Gerry Giraffe and Ellie Elephant - these patterns are for knitters only, though.

All of the patterns in the book have embroidered eyes and so should be safe for all ages.

The appendix is chock-full of clear info about basic knitting and crochet 'moves' (as my manly craft buddies like to call them!).

My only recommendation is that you only use the wool named in the pattern, Patons Classic Wool, if hand-washing won't be a problem for your recipient. There are plenty of machine-washable options on the market in the same weight, though - just ask at your local yarn shop for advice.

Craft type?
These patterns are suitable for beginner knitters and crocheters with a modicum of patience (and some quiet for concentrating!)

Already got your monkey?
For a bonus gift, put together a sock monkey wardrobe kit! Decorate a small box with wrapping paper and glitter (perhaps with a nameplate ready to be inscribed.) Fill it with felt, fabric, yarn, buttons, thread, and safety scissors. Then whoever is lucky enough to receive a monkey can spend their holiday downtime making a fab new set of threads for their new friend, creating a bond that could last a lifetime!

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