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.


  1. Well done for making masks and I am with you about their effectiveness. However, If you are working in retail and people do cough etc. much better to be careful and have some form of protection. You brought a smile to my face when you described what you are wearing. I had noticed a definite decline in my standard of dress and acknowledged I actually like wearing the most comfortable/ugly clothing I have without fear of someone unexpectedly dropping in to visit!. Stay safe and keep making those masks.

    Sandra de #14

  2. Oops forgot to mention your knitting and brooches are gorgeous :)

  3. the abstract pics of your knitting look fab! well done on the masks, although like you I am not sure how effective they are, but as long as they take the other precautions they may help. take care (love the garden shots too) Helen #2

  4. Well done with the mask making. I have three bundles of fat quarters sitting in my cupboard and some grey ribbon that would be fine to make ties so I really should have a go making some for when I go into work next week for the day. Luckily we only have to go in once a fortnight and work from home on the other days. That brooch is beautiful, as is the blanket. Stay safe and happy WOYWW. Sarah #6

  5. Hi there. Sorry I'm late - blogger cut out somehow and wouldn't let me comment! Those photos of your plants are beautiful. I especially love the one with the floating seeds! Glorious - yes, I know they were probably seeds you didn't want going where they were headed - but they still made a great photo. You felting is great - the little forget me knot brooches are lovely. Well done.
    Take care. Stay safe. God bless.
    Margaret #4

  6. Hi there, well done with the mask making. Everything helps in the awful time. Loving your garden photos, they're fab. Have a lovely week, Stay safe, Hugs, Shaz #11 X

  7. I'm smiling now because I've been doing a similar thing. I have some stretchy pants and they are so comfy that I want to wear them all the time and again they wash and dry quickly. My hair is growing and I'm sure the grey will soon show and I don't care, now is a good time to grow out the colour which i have been threatening to do for some time so here goes Lol!Take care and have a lovely belated woyww, Angela x17x

  8. Ah the dungarees...better than the leggings and tunics I seem to be trapped in, and now, even flip flops. I dare say proper shoes and going out will happen, but I’m ok if it doesn’t!! Your garden pics are glorious, and I love the little forget me not brooch, what a lovely idea. You aren’t alone with parents who won’t ‘give in’, I hear stories like that almost daily, and just as you’re doing, in the end, it’s easier to try to keep them safe. the masks will be a great help, I’m not surprised you’ve had a trickle of demand! Keep well yourself!

  9. I smiled about the dungaree's I think I may have came across the same pair in my local Sainsbury's but passed them by.. If I didn't have to queue for between 30-40 minutes i'm sure i'd have gone back in for them :))
    Beautiful brooch a lovely art where i've pricked my finger many times with those felting needles. Have fun making those mask. I think I may have to look for a pattern myself soon.. Take care & keep creative, it's always lovely to see Tracey #3

  10. What a hive of activity! As usual I absolutely love the felt - so pretty. And the gorgeous photos of the butterflies etc. Sorry to be so late visiting this week but I've got all behind with my WOYWW visits. I seem to have been busy with other things!

    Happy belated WOYWW,
    Shoshi #15

  11. Hi Amelia, thank you so much for visiting even though you weren't joining in officially with WOYWW this week. I meant to say last week what gorgeous photos of your knitting - the "abstract" shots are incredible! You are a fantastic knitter - so even, and I love your choice of colours. I notice your previous post has a lot of knitting on it so I must pop over after this and have a good look! I was delighted to hear that you had got the Chiaogoo needles too, and to read your thoughts on them. I've never had needles like them before, and I've been knitting all my life! My little case is the small set but there is ample room in it to put loads more needles in if I want to add them at a later date, but I usually only knit with 4 ply so I don't need a vast collection. If my hubby continues to lose weight, I might start knitting for him but while he's overweight there's far too much knitting involved lol lol!! I would probably use DK for him, or thicker.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed my post this week. Quite a bit has been going on and there was lots to photograph! I am very pleased with how my card making project is going, and printing off my original drawings is something I've done for some time - you are right, that way, you never get bored, because even if the drawing is the same, how you colour it is always different. They are also small enough to do on my lap on the recliner so I can rest while doing them, and I'm particularly delighted with how my new Tombow pens are performing.

    I can never resist photographing the kitties in all their funny little positions! You are right. Cosy paws are IT. Fortunately neither of our 2 kitties object to me stroking and rubbing their paws - they feel so soft and sweet! I've had lovely cuddles with both kitties over the past few days and they are such a joy.

    Thanks again for visiting, and happy WOYWW even if you aren't part of it this time! Have a great week.
    Shoshi x #10