Some people are naturally talented when it comes to making things with their hands.
Sadly, I'm not one of them. I'm a terrible sketcher, and making actual real things that you can drop on your foot is something that is largely alien to me - I don't usually have the patience to persevere after about 90 seconds, and usually give up straight afterwards. As you'd imagine, is a bit of a barrier when it comes to making stuff.
But something amazing happened this weekend - I actually made something physical, and I now know the joy and pride a maker feels when they craft an entirely new object from simple mundane parts.
Of course, it didn't go totally smoothly to begin with:
This was my first attempt at making a sock monkey at the Crafternoon put by Jo Maiden of the Ethical Fashion Forum, a fundraising event where the proceeds went towards a project to set up an ethical fashion production facility in Soko, Kenya, that directly supplies the UK retail trade.
We turned up at the Hub with a fiver and a pair of socks with us, and in return, we were taught how to make a monkeys from socks, and given more tea and cake than we could possibly eat. This is a good way to spend a Satruday afternoon.
I could say more, but the chances are the penile appendage coming out the sock monkey's chest has probably distracted you somewhat. And rightly so; it's an abomination.
Like I said before, there are people who are good with their hands, and I'm not one of them.
But mercifully, there's a sewing kit at home, and when I headed home at the end of the day on Saturday, I took the instruction set with me, and over the weekend, managed to remove the unintentionally hilarious phallus/arm hybrid growing out of the torso, and end up with something with a passing resemblance to what a sockmonkey is supposed to look like.
The stitching on this is terrible, it's badly stuffed, I made an embarrassing number of false starts, where I had to undo loads of stitching and redo work, and in all, it took me absolutely aaaaaaaages to make, but despite this, it's my misshapen, badly stitched soft toy, and I'm pretty damn proud of it.
And it's also helped me get past whatever block I had when it came to handling garments, needles and threads. I'm actually fixing and adjusting my own clothes now - this week, for the first time in years, trousers that were too long finally fit me, so I don't have to do a adopt a strange hop-step gait to avoid destroying them as I walk through the streets of London.
If this kind of stuff interests you, you could do a lot worse than check out The Make Lounge just off Liverpool in Angel Islington - they run workshops like this regularly, and while they're more expensive, I'm told that the post-workshop glow is similarly euphoric. Alternatively, you there's always O'Reilly's Craft Magazine, and if you're free on Feb 4th and like the look of this event, there's another Fundraiser for the Soko project.
There are people who are good with their hands, and I'm not one of them yet, but it doesn't feel out of reach forever now.