Michelle socks it to global toy-makers with her own creations

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

WE ALL have to pull our socks up and make the best of it at the moment and that is exactly what one Castleconnell is doing.

WE ALL have to pull our socks up and make the best of it at the moment and that is exactly what one Castleconnell is doing.

Michelle Jones has started making handmade little monsters from socks. Called Sidekiks they will get their first unveiling to the public during the 23rd annual Castleconnell Craft Fair over the October Bank Holiday at the end of the month.

“I buy a pair of socks, cut them up and re-stitch them back together as a little monster. They are sewn together on a sewing machine and filled with polyfibre.

“They’re all hand finished with embellishments whether it is a facial expression with fasteners or with buttons for eyes. Each one is a unique piece, they’re a real collectible item,” said Michelle.

Already Christmas toys are being spoken about and Michelle provides a local option.

“They’re not exclusively for children but they are becoming increasingly popular as children’s toys but people need to be aware with the small parts they are not suitable for very small children,” explained Michelle.

The quirky looking characters are all individual pieces.

“There is a huge range of colours in socks these days and that’s why they are so unique. Even if I tried to make the same one twice it will look different. It might have a different design or pattern.

“The main body and head are made out of one sock and then the arms and legs are made out of another sock,” said Michelle, who works alongside her award winning photographer husband Peter O’Donnell.

During the long winter Michelle began making them and she says it became “completely addictive”.

“Each one takes around two and a half hours to make but this can take longer depending on the size and finishes etc. They cost between €15 and €25. I also make other monsters out of clothing but they would be a bit more expensive,” said Michelle, whose background is in industrial and graphic design.

If people have special lucky socks she can always convert them in to a little toy as well - as long as they are washed first of course!

And she has been busy all summer making Sidekiks for the Castleconnell Craft Fair. You can also see them in Peter O’Donnell’s premises in Castleconnell. Judging by the photograph they are sure to be a big hit and an excellent addition to the Castleconnell Craft Fair.

It started in 1989 and has grown to become a two day event - the Sunday and Monday of the October Bank Holiday weekend. Held in the Castle Oaks, it attracts dozens of craft workers displaying their wares and 3,000 visitors, All profits are donated to local groups.

On a sad note this year will be the first craft fair without Pat Dempsey, who was instrumental in its success, following his untimely passing earlier this year.