Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Do You Really Need Those Socks?

The blame for my still-growing collection of buttons falls upon the sock creatures. Most of them have buttons for eyes, or noses. Previously the only buttons I had around were those spare ones that come attached to a new shirt or jacket. Now I am on the lookout for just the right button-eyes. Also, beads. Is there any hope for me? Is this a one-way slide into haberdashery delirium?

Last summer when we were touring the Highlands of Scotland and rain kept us indoors for a couple of days, I decided it was time to pluck up the courage to delve into "Stupid Sock Creatures" by John Murphy. It had been recommended by a Stitch And Bitch pal from our pre-nomadic days. I had been carrying it around, plus some stuffing and a rather worrying pair of orange and black striped socks for long enough. The time had come to bring these strangers together.

Anyway, John Murphy uses white buttons with a black centre for the eyes. I have never found them, yet. But I've grown used to, and even fond of the vacant look you get with a plain old button. And so far I like them to be quite traditional and buttony. Certain colours can also be a bit scary, which can be OK too.

Reactions to my little sock world vary between "Yes, but what is it?" to "Can you make me one, with a beard?"

More instructions and ideas can be found in "Stray Sock Sewing" by Daniel. The style is less bizarre but still quirky and sometimes cute. There are different techniques too. John Murphy's creatures are usually stitched together inside out then turned out the right way, stuffed and finished. The whole process is accompanied by a frisson of anticipation since you can't really know for sure how your creature will look until the later stages of construction.

Daniel's creations often start with stuffing the main body and head then attaching limbs. There's more embellishment too. So far I have found with this process I can see the creature evolving and can make adaptations as I go. The character of the thing reveals itself sooner and changes can be made if they will suit it better.

I think with both styles one of the most important things is that you can still see in the finished design that it's a pair of socks with some buttons sewn on.


Andrew said...

Awww... I love the pink creature with the big nose.

Must remember to lock away my socks next time we meet up!

And I will start saving my buttons for you ;-)

Tracey said...

Thanks Andrew, this collecting bug is contagious.

Anonymous said...

Yah, I know what you mean about haberdashery insanity: I am tempted to spend a good deal of my Xmas gift $ on all manner of buttons, but I caught myself when I remembered that you can "doll" up plain buttons with beads, as as was done on this hilarious dog:

Anyway, I just tried making a dog head like your pink one above, and he came out looking like a bad case of hydrocephelus. I had to "choke" him with some string tied around his "neck" to make him look less bizarre, but the head is still caricature material. How do you get the head to come out so well? Kudos!


Tracey said...

Bizarre is good though, right? Anyway, it looks like I shortenend the foot of the sock (cut off the toe bit then re-attached), and you can see that the top where the ears are is the heel. then take big handfuls of stuffing in a fat sausage shape and try to keep the foot shape of the sock. You can squish it a bit to get the neck/chin, but not too much or the head won't stay up.