The importance of making monkeys

I have a habit of making monkeys, I must admit. There is a reason for this actually, I like to pretend it’s SCIENCE. It’s not, really – but I am experimenting.

I’ve only been making stuff for about a year or so, and as you’ve hopefully gathered by now I make stuff occasionally – not all the time, not every day. When I started it was with ‘amigurumi‘ as there was a lot of it about to draw inspiration from, and it didn’t seem too hard. I could crochet already, a little bit, and amigurumi are quick-ish to make and not massively complicated.

I don’t really know anyone else who crochets, or at least no one locally, so I’m investigating stuff myself – which yarns I like, what I like making, that kind of thing. I know I don’t want to make clothes – on the whole I don’t like crocheted clothes, so I’m experimenting with toys, different styles of toys and different yarn.

This monkey was the first:

I learnt a lot from making him. I learnt that I was pretty skilled at mis-reading patterns, that I wouldn’t be satisfied with limbs that were *completely rubbish*, but also that at some stage I have to admit I’ve done the best I can and move on.

I learnt that I – like many amigurmui makers – hate sewing on arms and legs, and that the placement of eyes and angle of a mouth can make or break things. This is the pattern – it’s free, and I love it. You’ll notice it looks nothing like my monkey. I did mention I was skilled at mis-reading patterns.

After that I thought maybe I should have a go at making up my own pattern. Yes, my wealth of crochet experience – the making of one thing – lead me to believe that would be a good plan. So I made one in a sock-monkey style:

He was made with the same yarn (cheap, only yarn available in monkey-colour at the local store). From him I learnt that I still need to work on my increases and decreases – his feet are very pointy, and really they should look more like his arms/hands.

I learnt that if you make things in this style, there’s only two limbs to sew on – result! He’s quite a nice size too, but I didn’t write anything down as I went along, so any new sock monkey has to be started from scratch.

I made two monkey gifts, both in the style of the first one. A green one, and a pink one. I learnt different things from them – but as you’ll see, they still look nothing at all like the ones in the pattern. I like that though – it’s good to put your own spin on things, intentional or otherwise. Surely its not healthy for the world to be full of monkey-clones?

Recently I found some crochet cotton, so of course I thought I should experiment with that. Applying scientific thinking (well, ish) I thought I should compare yarn for yarn, monkey for monkey. That’s where this chap came in:

Just like the original monkey, only smaller! I learnt it’s nice crocheting with cotton – and, rather amusingly, I learnt that if you actually follow the pattern for two minutes rather than assuming you know what you’re doing all the time, you end up with much nicer feet.

So of course I had to try and make a small sock-monkey-style fella, also in cotton, just to see what that was like. Which is where the previous Mr Frustration comes in.

I made him too big – and I knew it really early on. He was supposed to be small, a good companion to the one above – but I learnt that if you really don’t look at what you’re doing you end up with something too big, which is annoying.

BUT if you give him a face as you go, it makes you feel so guilty you end up finishing him anyway:

Poor chap. Actually, I learnt quite a bit from him. There’s a big difference between the feeling of the cotton and the wool. Cotton feels ┬ámore delicate even when it’s a similar size monkey – and looks so tightly packed. It’s much more dense and you can see every stitch.

There’s something about it that feels more ‘grown up’ – less of a toy for kids. He also a better shape than the first one. He’s got a much shorter body, and somehow has wider hips. Sadly I still didn’t get the feet right – but maybe I’ll fix it in the next monkey experiment.

I do like the ribbon for his scarf too. He needed something to cheer him up a bit, as the colour is a bit washed out. It couldn’t really be a wool scarf as the difference in thread would be too odd, and I didn’t have any other coloured cotton. As it happens, I think this suits him perfectly.

I’m not sure what monkey experimentation I’ll do next. I have a few ideas in mind, but I’m still planning.