Well, here we are, in a situation none of us could have imagined, even a couple of months ago! Nobody has experienced anything like this and it is often difficult to believe that this is our current reality. We can't see our enemy right now and just have to do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
We have seen the most wonderful acts of selflessness everyday from our amazing NHS and other front line care staff, to whom we are eternally grateful. We have seen other workers going the extra mile to make sure we get fed and remain relatively comfortable through this period of lock down. To them we say a HUGE THANK YOU for being there and working extra hard in very difficult circumstances. Indeed that heartfelt thanks goes out to everybody still working to keep things as normal as possible for us, whatever their role. Once this is over there will be a lot of businesses who have suffered great losses during this time. Please be mindful to support them in any way you can, now or once we get back to the new normality.
Many people are doing more than just saying thank you, they are offering practical help such as helping to plug the gap in PPE by sewing Scrubs and other items that can be used to help those mentioned above. There are volunteers delivering supplies to the vulnerable, or calling up neighbours to make sure they are ok and have somebody to talk to. Then there have been the amazing acts of bravery and kindness that have helped raise money to for those in need, not least of which must be Captain Tom, who has surely captured our hearts. I heard today on the radio that there are some not so good spirited people who are trying to exploit the situation with scams designed to elicit money from people on false pretences. Please don't let your guard down, these are not nice people. The radio article said that one of the ways to identify emails of this type, which can look totally convincing, is if they use GBP instead of £ sign. This indicates that they are from another country which does not have £ on their keyboard. This is not always the case, so the important thing is to be aware and if anything seems a bit unusual, hang up or delete straight away. Your bank still won't ask you for your security details in full or phone to ask you to move money. If you want to give money to help the cause there are many legitimate ways to do it. Choose one for yourself and only give what you can afford. Please make sure any vulnerable people you know are aware of this too.
Ok, so to brighter things! How can craft help us through all of this? Well those of you who have ever spoken to me, will know how passionate I am about the wellness benefits of all crafts and of knitting in particular. Knitting has been scientifically tested and found to do things you just wouldn't imagine, physiological as well as psychological, such as lowering your blood pressure (although we have all had projects that have been flung across the room!) If you go wrong, don't despair, look for the 'silver linings' and quietly unpick the bit that's gone wrong (you wouldn't be happy in the long run, if you left it) and rework it, therefor getting the 'wellness benefits' of doing it, all over again. I can't tell you how many people's knitting I've unpicked during the course of my time in the shop. Hopefully most of them have gone on to complete the project and felt very positive as a result. I've been watching Kirstie Allsop in her new tv show, 'Keep Crafting and Keep Calm'. In one episode she said that keeping you hands busy always helps to keep you mind calm, I couldn't agree more. (Isn't that just what the English habit of making tea in a crisis is all about?) It doesn't matter what craft you choose, it will have a positive effect. Last week I managed to finish off a quilt that I had started 9 months ago and had lain, not forgotten, but untouched in a bag. I can't tell how satisfying that was to finish it, and the sheer joy of being able to finally put it on my bed! You don't have to work on that scale. Even little things can be immensely satisfying. One of my customers is making little crochet rectangles and stitching buttons on each end, so that somebody wearing a protective mask can slip the elastic over the buttons to prevent it rubbing behind their ears. Quick to make and simple to do, and what a wonderful thing to be able to do, to relieve the pain this causes for somebody you don't even know.
A friend of mine has started a campaign to give hand knitted socks to Paramedics. She has a couple of friends who are Paramedics and knitted them both socks for Christmas. They commented that it made wearing their boots all day much more bearable and they could really feel the difference. She asked a few friends if they could knit some socks to start with and has now set up a Facebook page 'Socks for Paramedics' where you can find out more about this non-profit initiative. She also hand dyes the most beautiful yarns under the name 'The Yarny Octopus' and has designed a special 'Paramedics' colourway, which sells for £17 of which she is donating £10 to a charity providing coffee, snacks and treats for Ambulance stations (they usually have to provide their own). You don't have to use any special colourways, a stash dive might produce a suitable skein. Sock yarns with a 20% or 25% synthetic content are usually more durable and wash well. I've nearly finished my first sock and will post the pair off next week. They need all sizes for both men and women, the more the better.
As we can't open our doors to you at the moment, we have added lots of products to our website and will still be adding more. hopefully you will find something to inspire you. From Sunday 26th April until Sunday 31st May, we will give a £5 voucher if your online order is over £25 or £10 if your order is over £45 (excl p&p). Vouchers can be redeemed in the shop once we are back up and running. If you are not able to find what you want on the website and you think it it something we usually stock, please send us and email and we will do our best to help.
I don't know about you but I am missing my family and friends immensely, but I have found joy in some of the little things, like the very noisy birds in the trees near my house and the sound of the children playing next door, the air feels clearer too. Like I said, Silver Linings, sometimes you just have to look for the positive! Take care all.