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There is something enormously stress busting about working with your hands. Craftsmen and women have always known this. But some of us have been a bit late to the party. I’ve been told by a trauma specialist that repetitive movement is very good for a messed up head – so running – making repetitive movements with your legs, and crochet and knitting, where the movement is in your hands, are all good when you’re feeling stressed, whether from ongoing trauma – or from a current difficult situation.

And I can confirm that this is absolutely true. I decided in September that I would crochet a blanket. I’d admired ripple blankets I’d seen in glimpses of people’s living rooms online for some time, and I found out about the definitive tutorial website for crochet blankets. And Dreamer, who is already an experienced crocheter, mentioned that she had thought about making a blanket, so I knew I’d have company (or maybe competition). I was a complete crochet novice, so I practised by making half a scarf. And then I ordered the kit from Attic 24: a woodland blanket (although I used the slightly simpler neat ripple pattern). And it couldn’t have been better – glorious colours to match my living room – and hours of distraction for my restless fingers and buzzing head.

And when one wave of stress finished, so did my blanket. And it fits the chair perfectly.

Woodland ripple blanket

I lasted about a fortnight before buying the kit for another one – this time one perfectly designed for the Queen – whose favourite colours are muted blues and pinks and whose college at university is called Fylde (you’ll see the link if you read the description). And this one is going to be my quarantine blanket I guess.

Dune blanket progress

On last night’s Midlands Today they had the veteran presenter Nick Owens reporting from his self isolation and talking about what he’d been up to. He described a visit to a wool shop, where yarn was flying off the shelves. Perhaps not as fast as loo roll, but he said that there were a lot of purchases. Obviously by sensible people who realise that you can have a productive, creative and beautiful way to deal with stress. So whether your head is messy from something else, or it’s getting messy because of the constant news agenda, why not join me in fiddling with yarn instead of a phone?

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