For this week’s made in Eastern Iowa, we’re taking you back to North Liberty, where one woman is tackling tradition with a smile on her face, and on her product too.
Carol Case lives in a quiet senior living community, but she’s all about monkey business.
“Did you see the movie faceoff?” she asks. “This is called “face on!” she said, pointing to the part of a sock that will soon become the smiling mouth of a sock monkey.
The 66 year-old North Liberty woman didn’t intend to have a career making sock monkeys.
“It took off into something I just couldn’t imagine,” said Case. The opportunity presented itself when a friend brought her some socks. She thought she’d be bananas not to take it.
“She had tried to make them and failed terribly. I said well I’ll probably fail too, but let me give it a shot,” said Case.
She started with a basic sock monkey pattern, changed it up, and made a durable and darn cute toy that generations have loved.
“This is the body, and I just made the stitching up here, on the front, I just use my finger as a guide, and then put a couple of magic marker marks where the eyes are going to be.”
“The brown one was the original one I made. I decided to name it Bailey,” she said. “Bailey is non-gender. So it could be for a little boy or a little girl.” Case adds, “I don’t say I make sock monkeys… I say I make smiles. “
She also has a line of hand poured candles in just about every scent you can imagine. Case also uses another product already featured on Made in Eastern Iowa, Fox River Socks, to give her sock monkeys the
“This will be the pair of ears. And then this is going to be that big famous sock monkey smile,” she said, gesturing toward her pattern.
A true Monkey Business... made in Eastern Iowa.
You can find her table with sock monkeys and her other product-- Carol’s Candles-- at many farmer’s markets, and at the White Rabbit in Iowa city.