Today has been a pyjama day, I make no apologies for it, everyone needs one at some time, its good for the soul. I have felt completely flat lined and exhausted recently and am mindful that I am back to back work and on call again tomorrow, so its all about self preservation mode. I do tend to be a bit boom and bust, but recognise that need inside myself to unwind and do something that I enjoy as some me time. As well as reading, housework that helps me to switch off, craft also does. The types of things that I have tried are knitting, crochet, bobbin lace, bead craft, embroidery, sewing, and loom banding (what on earth happened to all that?! I now regret having given my loom banding equipment to the charity shop!).

I was fortunate to have been taught a lot of crafts. From the age of about 4 years old I lived with my Auntie Elsie, she was a keen knitter and knitted for a shop in Halifax in the Piece Hall. She toiled such long hours and got paid a pittance as well as sore hands and flare up of arthritis for the most fabulous creations in all types of fancy wools that the shop sold for crazy money. I spent a lot of time being looked after 1-1 with my Auntie Elsie, she was a great character, very feisty for her 5 foot nothing and was one of the kindest people I know. I was fortunate that she used to encourage me to come and sit beside her on old leather pouf, with a ball and wool from the age of 9 years. I would shadow her movements like for like, and soon picked it up. She was left handed like I am, so that is how I learned. I soon began doing my own designs for my toy dolls and created all manner of outfits in the spare bits of fancy wool. My favourite was Aran and I still love doing cables and could do that before secondary school thanks to my Auntie.

At secondary school we had a teacher called Miss Jones who taught us smocking and sewing and knitting. I hated the fact that she mocked my left handed style of knitting in front of the whole class and forced me to learn right handed. Being left handed was still a stigma in the late 1970s-early 80s, and in a lot of ways it was an archaic all girls school. I still knit left handed but can still do it right handed if I had to so I really don’t know what her point was. The benefit of her forcing me to do that was that I play tennis, use scissors, hold cutlery with my right hand and when I sprained my left wrist badly slipping on the ice before my English exam, I managed to write the whole exam paper with my right hand and got an A plus, so thanks for the bullying Mrs Jones!!

Crochet, is something I taught myself from books – there was no YouTube in those days. I always found it easier that knitting and made a lot of shawls, blankets etc in my early 20s. It fell by the wayside until a few years ago, when Mum taught me how to actually hold the crochet hook and its so much easier. I moved onto squares and different patterns with fancy bobbles and such. Today one of my old school friends who is a carer was looking for someone who could make some face mask adapters – these go at the back of the head and the loops of the face masks loop around them to stop the carers ears getting sore. So I dusted off my hook and made up a batch after watching a YouTube by Bella Coco who is easy to understand and to follow patterns from : https://youtu.be/9Fjo-kJcr80 . It has made me think that perhaps some local care homes might be grateful of some, I think the hospital staff will have the tie masks so not useful, but will spread the word among crafters that I know on my social networks. There is also a Facebook group called Crochet Mask Adapters UK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1292446424298035/