Look at classic sock monkeys and you’ll notice some are bald and some have tufts of hair – usually made of red worsted-weight yarn. I always thought the short red ‘dos made them look like clowns. That’s why I left the brown sock monkeys bald, and let my niece and nephew decide if they wanted their monkeys to have hair or not. They opted for bald monkeys.
When I asked my sister if she wanted hair for the first pink sock monkey — which is going to a friend of hers who’s about to complete chemo for the second time —Lisa said, “Someone undergoing chemo will want a monkey with hair. Long hair.”
I raided my not-so-humble yarn stash looking for a color that would work with the pink monkey’s complexion. Magenta? Pink? Rose? Purple? Nothing seemed quite right until I spotted a bag of yarn I picked up at a neighbor’s garage sale a couple months ago. It’s silky soft and has all those colors and more.
I don’t want to brag, but I think she turned out pretty cute (still need to trim those eyelashes a bit!). Getting there took some effort.
Initially I tried stitching the strands in by hand, thinking I’d knot them as I did the eyelashes. Only this particular yarn – silky as it is – isn’t very smooth. It has nubs here and there that wouldn’t pull through the sock very easily. I was afraid it would distort poor Cupcake’s head.
Then it hit me: make a wig!
When I told my sister about the wig, she said to make it a long wig, since Cupcake’s soon-to-be-owner has a long, flowing wig of her own.
Then I had to figure out how to make a wig. Or would it be a weave?
I started by mapping out where the hair should go. Then took a piece of muslin (any thin fabric roughly the same color as the “scalp” will do) and sewed sort of a bean-shaped circle just large enough to cover that area, leaving room to turn it inside out.
Once you tuck the open edge in and stitch it closed, it looks sort of like a lopsided heart with the bottom trimmed off. The indented area is to make it look like the hair has a natural part.
Next, I cut at least 30 strands of yarn to start – and made them a bit longer than twice the desired length. Why? 1) They’ll be folded over, and 2) she can have a haircut later.
I set a few strands flat across the “scalp,” positioning the center of the strands near one side.
Let’s see that again, with another row:
Don’t worry if the sewing machine pushes the strands around or misses a strand or two. You can always hand stitch in “hair plugs” later.
Once the wig was made, I used off-white thread to whip stitch it onto the monkey. It may try to shift around on you, so you might want to secure it – with stitches or pins – on one side, than the other to keep the balance right.
Finally, I used “plugs” to help hide the hair line. I simply cut a strand of yarn, folded it in half, and used two or three little stitches to attach it exactly where it needed to go. If there are any bald spots, you can fill them the same way.
So, which look do you prefer?