PUBLISHED: 5:01 PM on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Workshop makes use of the old with sock monkey mania
Make your own sock monkey in three afternoon classes from 4:30-6 p.m. Sept. 11-25 at the new art studio at Reach, located at 223

Seward Street. "Sock Monkey Mania" will be taught by John Leo, who has been making his own sock monkeys for the past 10 years. Participants are invited to bring a favorite pair of old socks to transform into their very own monkey. A variety of extra socks will also be provided by Leo. Originally made from red-heeled work socks, sock monkeys have been a cherished American tradition for over 100 years. The first Rockford Red Heel socks, produced by Nelson Knitting Mills in the late 1800's, were intended as work socks, but mothers soon began using these socks to create monkeys and other animals

for their children. The craft became so popular that Nelson started including instructions for making sock monkeys along with each pair of Red Heel socks they packaged. Although the Red Heel socks popularized the activity, they are not the only type that can be used to make a monkey.

"Making sock monkeys has become a wonderful thing to do with any pair of well-worn and well-loved socks," Leo said. "It is magical to see the personality and soul of each monkey come to life stitch by stitch." At the end of the three-week course, monkeys will be displayed for October's First Friday. To register, call Leo at 586-1750. Cost is $15.