The Making Mechanism

Making during these troubled times can prove be an outlet to quell anxieties, some folk are finding it hard to think about making just now though – we all have different reactions to things. I’m still trying to knit even though I’m not well enough to sew just at the moment but would dearly like to as it keeps my head straight and I use sewing to get me through adversity usually. Lately I have been party to the daily creative exploits of my loved ones and enjoying their process vicariously.

My Mum has been busy making home furnishings from her old clothes and I’m enjoying hearing how she’s getting on when we talk each day. She was also wanting to try some knitting but has a limited amount of wool at home so I worked out some sort of project she can achieve easily but is something she hasn’t tried before. I did a quick test knit for a beret pattern before I relayed the details of it over the phone (she doesn’t want the internet) and modified it from knitting in the round to straight needles as is her preferred mode.

This is the Lancashire Rose beret, my test version. When I figure out how to make this downloadable I’ll pop it on here if anyone else wants to have a go. I’m just tweaking it at the moment too – tightening the band and lengthening the brim, that sort of thing.

So that’s in the pipeline and though my Mum isn’t a worrier, I know she’s not used to being indoors and is usually out galavanting all over the place so she may find her isolation hard though she’d never say. I do know she likes to talk so we’re spending our phone time having a laugh and spinning our existential threads to distract us from the grim reality that has been unfolding. I named the beret pattern after my county of birth and where my Mum still lives, Lancashire. Her phone doesn’t have photo capabilities (she likes to keep things simple, she calls herself a Luddite) so I’m unable to see how she’s getting on with her projects but she’s very descriptive luckily.

Here she is, my lovely Mum.

My sister has also been busy and she’s been sharing the process of her creative project during lockdown. She’s amazingly resourceful and she is particularly drawn to sculptural activities. For example she made garden people from old discarded lawn mowers and they’re brilliant, everything she makes has humour about it, it always makes my day seeing what she’s been doing.

She was feeling extremely anxious about the current situation and has found making helpful. She said in order for her to stop endlessly Googling for information about the impact that these strains of coronavirus are having to a detrimental effect on her mental wellness – she needed to unleash some creative energy. I think we can do a lot worse than making things as a coping strategy at the moment. Whatever folk need to do to get through stuff. A few weeks ago I struggled to have any interest in what people were making as it seemed so trivial but I’m realising that the most important thing is that it’s helping people cope whether they’re sewing their usual stuff or have turned their hands to mask production for example.

My sister is a practical person and very handy with power tools and we’re all genetically Wombles on my Mum’s side (in case you don’t know what a Womble is, if you look it up they were 70’s eco rubbish collectors making up use of what they found on Wimbledon common – there are other online definitions of womble but that’s not what I’m referring to in this case, haha)

Anyway, she decided she’d lop a branch off a tree in the garden that was blocking some light into her kitchen and used the wood from this to make Clyde. It just blows my mind what she’s done and how fun it is.

These are the beginnings of Clyde
Clyde’s legs taking shape
Boots fashioned from mud and hair clippings from her haircutting.

Every couple of days I’d get a progress report on how she was getting on with Clyde but over the past few days heard nothing so I just knew he was nearing completion. I was absolutely overjoyed this afternoon to get a video clip of Clyde partaking in a spot of lockdown baking.

I can’t stop watching it and marvelling at his moves and am especially taken with his hands and the hat she’s made. Love the music too!
Another daily update on Clyde’s activities, my sister says she’s been trying to string him like a puppet so he can do some dancing but he’s very heavy and keeps snapping strings so for the moment I think he’s held together by armature wire

I’m looking forward to meeting Clyde in person one day.

I completed a project myself yesterday and it’s one that’s been many months in progress. Admittedly I haven’t had to do much at it to finish it but at least it’s something. It’s a coat made from a few of my hand-knitted mohair jumpers that are too small for me now. The yarn was harvested from unravelling these garments and knitting double stranded. I didn’t use a pattern and quite like knitting with freedom.

During the knitting.

I made a lining from a lovely piece of silk from the scrapstore that I dyed as it was a light colour beforehand and not to my taste.

This is the finished coat. I’m ever so pleased that I’ve been able to add the lining to this after such a long time. It hangs so much better as the lining gives it structure and support. Without it, with all the weight it was saggy because it was heavy.

I’m not really sure why I’ve put all this in a blog post today, I think it’s just because I’m grateful to have the making gene and the benefit that brings at times like this even if my output is limited lately. I hope that your making is bringing you comfort just now and if you don’t feel like it at the moment – that’s totally understandable too and I hope you find your comfort in other ways that are kind to yourself.

Thanks for stopping by and take care.