Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern or if they ask nicely!!

Sunday 28 June 2020

Done with masks....

Hopefully this will be my last post about masks. I am firmly on the same team as those who believe these homemade face coverings are almost useless as protection against anything, never mind against a deadly virus. They could be even worse than useless if they give anyone a false sense of security. But I am now required to wear one in certain places and at least they mean I can brave public transport.

Here are some of the masks I made for my sister; I accidentally forgot to photograph the first two that I posted. I blame corona brain for that:

The mauve masks are made from an old t-shirt and I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to incorporate an embroidered part on the right hand mask. My sister bought her own mauve and green elastic.

Here are six masks I made for myself:

Again, these started life as t-shirts. I simply refuse to buy new material for these things. I did give in, though, and bought some blue elastic. I've noticed a wide variety of masks being worn in public. The homemade masks are generally very good and I wanted mine to cut the mustard with the best of them.

Apart from one mask, all of these follow the pattern by Dhurata Davies It is extremely well-written and I can recommend it for comfort and fit. I also like how the pattern involves both hand and machine sewing. There are quite a few steps to follow. But if you take your time, you will end up with a good mask. 

I can't say the same for the rectangular mask at the bottom of my photo. It looked like it should have been super easy, and it was up to a point. That point came when I had to sew the two sides after folding them. My forty year old sewing machine didn't want to know and I ended up having to do it by hand which wasn't easy through all the layers. This mask is ok to wear, but not as nice as the others. It will only have its debut if all the other masks are in the wash. Realistically that will be never.

I love how online videos show sewing machines stitching this type of pleated mask with ease. I have managed to keep my machine going for years and have no plans to buy another one. After all, I have never had to change the light bulb or needle. Yes, the needle is older than my daughter! I'm not going to jinx things by changing it for a modern one. I've found that modern hand sewing needles are not as strong as older ones. Is the same true of machine needles? I'll never know! 

So this is the new normal we are all supposed to be getting used to. Maybe, if we are lucky, a good vaccine will be found and we will all look back in disbelief at 2020. That is quite possible as I read somewhere that social distancing and face coverings were used during the 1918 pandemic. That died out and has been almost forgotten. Let's hope history repeats itself.

I have now made about 20 face masks for various people. I'm completely done with them. My new normal will involve knitting and crochet once again. Watch this space...

Saturday 6 June 2020

Flattening the curve.....

One day before the UK was put into lock down in March, I caught a bus to my local garden centre. I had a sense of impending doom and it felt like "now or never". It was a strange experience; for most of the journey it was just me and the bus driver. It was also the day before garden centres closed down for 2 months at the busiest time of the gardening year. I know I bought two shrubs and planted them that same day. But my brain has mercifully blocked out which shrubs they were. We have been revamping the garden since last year and a lot of the shrubs are new. It's easy to forget which were the last two. I won't have to forever look at my garden and link part of it to the pandemic.

Likewise, I planned to calm myself down by making a huge granny square blanket. I sorted out all my pinks and some contrasting cream. The photo just shows a sample. I have LOTS of these in my wool bag. The cream is in there because I have someone in mind as the eventual recipient and cream is more practical than white in her hectic household. (The dark maroon to the right of the photo did not make the final selection.) However, I could not bring myself to start crocheting while there was so much horror and depressing virus news every day. I did not want bad vibes and memories associated with the blanket. 

One wonderful day we were judged to have reached the other side of the peak and to be in the "flattening the curve" stage. I celebrated by picking up my crochet hook. As usual, I had to go back to basics and remind myself how to crochet a square. Can you tell crochet doesn't come naturally to me?! I'm using a crochet technique that someone recommended for stopping the square twisting. You simply turn the square and crochet in the opposite direction at the end of each complete round. Simple, but it definitely makes a nice, flat square. It's crochet's version of "flattening the curve".

The square has grown since this photo. I'm enjoying planning the sequence of colours and taking my time. Further photos will follow...