The Wonderful World of Sock Monkeys!

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Somebody likes me! My feature on “The Curious Dressmaker”

I’ve always thought of an artist as a person who is an accomplished painter, singer, sculptor, pianist, photographer, etc. Because I don’t think of myself as a powerhouse in any of those areas, I usually think of myself as “a guy who makes stuff”, but according to a favorite co-worker/blogger/crafter friend of mine, Kati Dawson, I’m the ARTIST OF THE MONTH on her cool blog, The Curious Dressmaker – 

The amazing Kati Dawson!

Kati is an uber-talented, funny, creative dynamo who is going to make it big in theatrical costuming and the crafting world. We first met when she became the assistant to the Hair and Makeup Department at Seattle Opera, and proved to be a huge asset there.  Since then, we’ve worked together on several shows at Pacific Northwest Ballet where I found out she’s a terrific costume technician, and I learned several construction/sewing tips from her. Kati recently launched her business, “Bagatelle” – a cool line of purses, totes and other fabric items – and has a growing number of loyal customers and fans for her beautiful work. This summer, she is going to be an assistant wardrobe manager at the Santa Fe Opera*. If you don’t know about the Santa Fe Opera, it is one of the top opera venues in the world, with the biggest opera superstars performing there and patrons fly in from all parts of the globe to spend the summer in Santa Fe and watch performances under the stars at this beautiful outdoor space. This is a really big deal and I’m so proud of her for landing this gig.

So check out Kati’s interview with me on her blog, and make sure to look at the great crafting ideas she has. I’m working on her “Fabric Flowers” pattern to make some for gifts and package trims. Her instructions are really easy to follow, she has good pictures showing you the steps to take, and the end result is a fool-proof item for yourself or as a swell gift. Bring out your thread!

Kati's sweet Fabric Flowers - easy-to-make and they never need watering!

*Two favorite singers I’ve worked with, the awesome tenor, Bill Burden (who owns two of my sock monkeys), and superstar baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, will be performing King Roger there together this season.

Introducing Robert!

Welcome, Robert!

This month I’ve been working on PNB’s annual production of “Nutcracker”, which has been a pretty decent way to spend a December. Perry, one of the young ballerinas from the Professional Division asked me if I’d make a sock monkey as a Christmas present for her dad. She was so sweet about it I had to say yes, even though I probably should have just said “Bah, humbug!” and continued working on the other dozen projects that needed to be completed before Christmas.

Part of her request was to give the monkey blue eyes like her dad and a winter ski hat. I really didn’t think it would be a problem, figuring I’d just make a fleece hat for the monkey by shrinking down the human-sized pattern I already had. Wrong! I always seem to forget the proportions are crazy for a sock monkey, and in the case of a ski hat, you can’t really pull it down on the head because there’s not much crown and it’s so soft. I kept fitting it and cutting it down, and after more than an hour, was satisfied with the result. Just to make sure it stayed on, I stitched the hat to its head, and gave him a scarf to match. Perry was thrilled with the finished monkey and said it turned out exactly like she was hoping it would. As with every sock monkey, it had to have a name, so we named him Robert, after Perry’s dad. Naturally, it’s perfect for him.

I’d been thinking I wanted to create a “basic sock monkey” that wasn’t wearing a labor-intensive, detailed costume. I liked the result of this monkey too, and now that I have the hat pattern right, believe Robert will represent as my official, basic spokes-monkey model. Robert can be customized with different eye or hat colors – he’d look great wearing the colors of your favorite college ball team!