Wednesday 22 April 2020

...WOYWW - The One With The Masks

Choosing photos for this blog post, I realise that time has gone all peculiar lately. There are moments of clarity and periods of productivity, but mostly it feels like the days are blurring and melting into one another - probably not helped by the fact that I'm literally living* in the big pair of dungarees I bought during an otherwise stressful and never-to-be-repeated shopping trip to Sainsburys two weekends ago. (*If I wash them towards the end of one day and hang them on the airer overnight they are dry enough to go back on the next, and they are so comfortable I don't want to wear anything else ever again! To be honest, what with the DIY hair-cutting and the perma-dungarees, it's looking increasingly unlikely that I will ever be able to integrate back into polite society when the Lockdown ends)

Tiptoeing in at the very tail end of Julia's weekly workdesk tour, the photo below shows the current state of mine. This is its daytime appearance during the working week when its companion desk is occupied by laptop, files, notebook, post-its and phones. But before examining the contents of the workdesk more closely, I do just need to capture a few of those moments of clarity and periods of productivity that have happened over the past few weeks.
The Easter weekend was spent in the garden, weeding and tidying, sifting through the compost heap and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Even though I could hardly move for arthritic stiffness by the end of each day, it felt lovely to be outside for hours and to doze on the settee in front of the telly in the evening. 
When I finally picked up my knitting needles again it was to finish the baby blanket for my friend. I was in such a hurry to get it in the post to her that I forgot to take a normal photo of it as a recognisable object, so these rather abstract shots taken while it was gently blocking on the bedroom floor will have to suffice! I didn't entirely like the way the random colour combinations played out, but it was bright and jolly and soft and squishy, which is all that really matters to a baby.
Felting is still very high on my agenda (evidenced by the blue foam felting block and the blue tin containing felting needles and a growing collection of other felting-related accoutrements on the left of the workdesk). It was one of my colleagues' birthday last weekend, so I spent a couple of evenings after work making a little forget-me-not brooch for her. Forget-me-nots are everywhere in the garden at the moment, and I'd been taking lots of photos of them, so it was fun to make a little "wool-painting" of them - plus it seemed rather apt now we're all working from home and only seeing each other over Skype.
Gratuitous photo of a speckled wood butterfly on a mint leaf...just because it's such a lovely thing. I literally dropped everything I was doing to get this picture!
...and finally, the reason why there is a sewing machine and thread and paperclips and pliers on the workdesk: Masks!

Last weekend my elderly (in their 80s) parents called by my garden gate on their way home from an illicit shopping expedition, my Dad in an ancient-looking medical mask and my mum with a scarf round her face. Despite my best efforts to convince them to stay at home and let me bring them whatever they need, they simply refuse to give in. So I decided to look for a face mask pattern I could use to make them something more substantial and safe to wear when they inevitably go out again. This is the one I settled on - the  "Better Fit Face Mask" by Pretty Handy Girl

After a lot of difficulties getting the printer to print the pattern at the right scale (fifteen-sixteenths of an inch square is NOT "as near as damnit" to an inch square - trust me, you do not want to discover this fact after sewing an entire mask that turns out to be two sizes too small) and extensive experimentation with nose piece materials (jumbo plastic-coated paper clip cut in half with ends bent over worked best for me) I managed to make several pretty and practical washable masks for my parents to use on their excursions.

As soon as my sister heard what I was doing she asked if I could make her one or two, and then her friend (who works in a supermarket and is terrified of being coughed and sneeezed on) asked if I could make him one too (I'm planning to make him several). Various friends have asked if they can have one,  and when my husband told his colleagues about them I got a couple more requests from them too! Luckily I already had quite a few fabric remnants I could use, and Aldi had some fun fat quarter bundles on sale at the weekend, so I've only had to buy paper clips, beads and elastic (to go over the ears). Given how difficult finding the latter has proved to be, I think elastic might possibly be the new loo roll -  everyone is getting into the DIY mask-making business!

Although they are not virus proof, and act more as a visual reminder to maintain social distancing, there is some evidence to suggest that close fitting fabric masks (these have three layers of fabric) can block at least some of the larger air-borne droplets created by coughs and sneezes. I'm enjoying helping friends/family (and anyone else who needs one) to feel a little bit safer.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

...three years later

So another year has passed, notable on a personal level for my hip replacement surgery, and on a global level for the start of the Covid-19 pandemic! During this year plenty of knitting has taken place - mostly scarves and hats, but also a pair of fingerless mitts and the first wearable jumper I've made in forever. Some projects were gifts for other people, and some were keepers, made just for myself...
There has also been a fair bit of whimsical craftiness, including knitwear for assorted dolls, teeny-tiny painted footballers, oven-baked glass and pebble painting, doll's house miniatures, wet-felted embroidered pebbles, wreath-making, peg-doll-making and needle-felted creatures...
I'm looking forward to another year of crafting and blogging, and of living to tell the tale. I have plenty of materials to keep me going in Lockdown - even before the pandemic I had already arrived at SABLE - Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy - so in terms of running out of things to do I have literally nothing to fear!