September Featured Craftinista: Carol, Maker of Sock Monkeys

Nobody makes sock monkeys as cute as Carol Wanagat makes them. She loves socks and loves creating sock monkeys. Her vivid imagination and wonderful combination of sock designs transform socks into monkeys full of personality and life, each one unique and distinctive. We especially love the monkeys she made using our Foot Traffic fun novelty socks. Lucky for you, we’ll be giving away one such creation in the next week! We are so excited to introduce you to Carol, our Craftinista for September!

When did you start making sock monkeys?

I started making SMs around five years ago. I had always liked doing crafty things and in the past, sewed quite a bit. I live in a small condo building in Chicago and am especially close to a wonderful, very creative family who have lived in the building almost as long as I have. They started making SMs, which I thought was a really cool, interesting idea. So, I tried making one. I was intrigued and hooked. It helped that a friend had a bunch of pretty interesting discontinued sock samples that I could use. So, I began making lots of SMs, not sure of what I was going to do with them.

How many have you made, and where do you sell them?

I first took my monkeys to a shop featuring local artists. The owner liked them and sold them in her store. They did pretty well. Since then, I have literally made hundreds of SMs. They’ve sold in shops in the Midwest, as well as at the Intuit, a Chicago art center/museum. I’ve also done a “trunk show” at a prominent health club’s pro/gift shop.

Who is the target audience?

I don’t really have a target audience. Some people buy the monkeys for children, for babies, some for adults, for boyfriends or girlfriends or for themselves.

What is your background?

I grew up in the Detroit area. I went to Parsons School of Design in NYC and St. Martins Art College in London, studying fashion design then fashion illustration. Eventually, I worked as a commercial artist mainly in advertising.

Most unusual sock monkey you’ve ever created?

I have created some special order monkeys. I’ve had requests for (and made) monkeys in college colors, a Rasta, a punk rocker, a Saint Lucia (Swedish Christmas) and a Parisian Mlle. I’ve also done quite a few monkeys inspired by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Though they’re not unusual, I also make “Baby” versions, suitable for children under three. These have no removable embellishments. The eyes and any designs are appliquéd in felt. I haven’t made any other animals from socks, though I would like to give it a try sometime.

What keeps you going?

Even though I’ve made many sock monkeys, I haven’t grown tired of it because each one is unique, one of a kind. Mixing and matching socks of different patterns and colors and choosing embellishments for each one makes it a creative process (though the basic construction is the same) and still fun. When I get busy, I’m asked why I don’t have someone help me. It’s not that simple. Everything has to be just so. The placement of the eyes or ears for example can change the whole look and feel of the monkey. I guess I’m a sock monkey control freak! One of my customers told me that she’ll never look at socks the same way again. I loved that.

(By the way, I don’t have a sock monkey collection)

Next Week

Visit the blog next week to learn about the history of sock monkeys and how you can enter to win a sock monkey made by Carol entirely from Foot Traffic socks!

5 Responses to “September Featured Craftinista: Carol, Maker of Sock Monkeys”

  1. Sugar Royale September 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Carol is an incredible craftinista! Thanks for featuring her and sharing her sock monkeys. FYI, Carol’s last name is Wanagat and not Wagoner.

    • Foot Traffic September 18, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Hello! Thanks for reading, and bigger thanks for finding the typo. I will fix it ASAP 🙂

  2. black gladiator sandals October 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Asking questions are really nice thing if you are not understanding something entirely,
    except this piece of writing provides good understanding even.

  3. Susann Craig March 10, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Totally enjoyed your piece on Carol’s sock monkeys


  1. The History of the Sock Monkey + SOCK MONKEY GIVEAWAY | Foot Traffic – Fun. Fashion. Fit. - September 20, 2012

    […] I don’t think I am alone. There are sock monkey enthusiasts everywhere; I happened to meet a sock monkey collector and maker, Carol Waganat. Carol is our featured guest designer this month. Her monkeys are some of the best I’ve […]

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image