Hello, my name is Dionne and I have been crafting for a very long time. As a very young child my mother tried to teach me to knit, it was a disaster. However, it must have sparked an interest in making things and, partly to prove that I was not totally useless and partly because I really wanted to make things, I taught myself to crochet. Over the years I have developed a love of cross stitch and all types of paper craft ..... I eventually even taught myself to knit.

I am married to a very understanding man, thank goodness, because I spend all my time either crafting, thinking about crafting or talking about crafting. I am hopeless at housework and dinner is often late!

Thank you for visiting my blog.


Friday 26 June 2020

Lockdown 2020

I do not think I would be exagerating if I were to say that the past few months have been nothing like any of us have ever experienced.  This virus has affected most parts of the world and be it the truly tragic loss of family and friends, or queuing for hours to find toilet paper, or being confined to our homes for weeks on end, very few of us can say that it has not made some sort of change to our lives.

People here are trying to take control of their lives back but it is a slow process and does not always go to plan.  A few weeks ago there was a lot of speculation that we would soon be allowed to leave our homes but we would have to wear face masks whenever we went outside.  I had managed to buy us a few disposable paper face masks to wear but these had taken a very long time to arrive and would not last very long if my husband had to take a couple each day for work. 

I should say right up front that have have always been skeptical about the effectiveness of face masks and have spent a lot of time on-line reading up about their worth and whether home made masks were much use at all.   Having worn my paper masks a couple of time I can tell you that they fit very badly, they ride up, steam up your glasses, if you wear them, and they get very warm.  I can certainly see how they may be of little benefit to the wearer but perhaps add some protection to others around them.  However, I always come back to one question - if face masks are ineffective, why do doctors and nurses wear them?

With the expectation that we would be required to wear a face mask every time we left our homes, I decided it was time to look more closely at home made masks and I did a lot more reading, gathering tips from here here and there.   I am not saying that what I made were the best you could make or recommending that everyone wears one, it is just what I decided to do.  I had read that several layers of fabric work better than one, that using unwoven interfacing as a layer works like a washable filter, that including a nose clip may help and that 100% cotton works better than polycotton.

My first attempt at mimicking our paper masks were not very successful, I struggled to pleat the fabric in the required places - I think because I had too many layers, therefore the fabric just would not fold where I wanted it to. These masks also fitted just as badly as the paper masks and, to add insult to injury, they would not stay open once you put them on.  Back to the drawing board.

A good friend came to my rescue.   She had purchased some fabric masks for herself, they were a very snug fit and they had a pocket where you could slide in a disposable filter.  My plan was to buy a couple of these masks for us but to take one of them apart and use it as a pattern to make more.  As luck would have it she was friends with the person who had made her masks and she persuaded her friend to send me a copy of the patterns.   How lucky was that? I received two patterns - one for men and the other for ladies. At the time I could not think why you needed two different shaped masks, to be honest I still do not understand why that should be, but they certainly fit better.  My husband and I have both tried on the other masks and we both agree about this. 

I have a guilty confession to make, I am something of a fabric hoarder. It all started when I tried dress making as a teenager and I would keep any left over lengths and then, when I started making fabric covered boxes, I discovered the pure joy of quilting fabrics.  I really was like that kid in a toyshop and would buy fat quarters and put them away ... just in case!  As a result I have a lot of very pretty fabric stashed in boxes and bags all about the house.

In the beginning I intended to just make a few masks for us to wear, then I made a few for my sisters and then they asked if I could make some for their children and partners.  Before long I felt as if I had gone into production.  160 masks later I have declared that enough is enough and I am refusing to make them any more ... well, unless one of them asks me to of course.  Over the last few weeks I have used almost ten meters of interfacing, over 150 nose clips, almost 65 meters of elastic, more than twelve reels of thread, three sewing machine needles and I have put a huge dent in my hoard of fabric.

Sorry, I found it very difficult to photograph the masks, I could have done with a glamorous model - or failing that a 'wig head', but I had neither, so I did the best I could, here are just a few of the masks I made .....

And a few more ....

Some of the fabrics have gold threads or paint, some have glitter, which I assume will wash off eventually but will be fun for a while.

And a bit of a close up ...

I wanted to show you the difference between the masks intended for men and those for ladies but it is hard to see from a photo.  The men's are higher at the nose but have a slight 'V' shape under the chin.

These are for men ...

Whilst these are for the ladies ...

Oh, and these are a few more for the men ....

One of my sister's asked me to make masks for her grandchildren.  I feel I should say that all of the articles and reports I have read do not recommend masks for young children, they fiddle with their masks and are at much greater risk from cross-contamination than from not wearing one.  

Nonetheless, my sister was insistent, so I did my best.  The result was a super cute mask, which I have tried to show you here but it is not obvious how much smaller the mask in front is.   Of the white masks in the front of this photograph we have, from left to right, a daddy mask, a mummy mask, a mask for the older child and then, just in frony, the tiny mask.

I have even made everyone bags to put their worn masks in until they can get home and wash them, this is to help prevent cross-contamination, for instance, with anything they may have in their car or bag.

I suppose the real irony is that when the announcement about face masks was finally made, here in England, we are only required to wear them on public transport.

I hope that none of you have been badly effected by this virus and that you, and your families, stay safe and in good health.