Lancashire knitters show where there's a wool there's a way to cope with the coronavirus lockdown
An army of knitters across Lancashire have not been sitting at home in the lockdown twiddling their thumbs, instead they have been putting talents to good use.
Olympian Tom Daley has been showing off his knitting skills online amid the coronavirus crisis but here in Lancashire a whole range of woolly wonders have their own yarns to tell about the good needle work they have been doing.
Many have been making headbands for NHS and care workers to wear to protect their ears from having to wear facemasks all the time, others have been making scrubs bags for medics to store their workwear safely.
Still others have been making rainbows to cheer people and to hail the wonderful work of the NHS teams nationwide and some have been knitting or crocheting hearts for one hospital which gives one to the coronavirus patient in isolation and one to their family back at home.
The growth in knitting and crocheting at home has kept many Lancashire businesses busy sending out balls of wool to the crafty crafters.
Susanne Johnson from Mrs Johnson's Emporium, in Bond Street, Blackpool, said that many people were finding knitting a great way to keep calm and do something creative and useful.
Kate Makin from Northern Yarn in Middle Street, Lancaster, said online knitting groups meeting via Zoom have been a great moral booster.
Bot businesses area managing to keep going through their online channels.
Susanne Johnson said: "We've been supplying lots of people through our website and by telephone orders, people who have as much time as they want for knitting and crocheting.
"We've also been supporting lots of newbies who are wanting to learn a new hobby to avoid boredom, for example the husband of one of our knitters, an ex soldier who now lectures at UCLAN and is sharing his adventures in learning to knit with his students.
"Some US states have designated wool shops as an essential business because of its importance in the fight against isolation effects on mental health."
Kate Makin said: "I’d say for us knitting, crochet and weaving has been really important in keeping us connected - all the time but especially during the lockdown.
"To each other, our communities and ourselves. Some in our group are vulnerable and have been in complete isolation - knitting has helped to keep them sane and really feeds in to our mental health. We keep in touch via our Ravelry group (an online worldwide knitting and crochet community) and our weekly zoom meetings."
She said many of her groups had been making the headbands for NHS and care workers She added: "Others in our group have made pairs of knitted hearts requested from Royal Lancaster Infirmary for coronavirus families - one heart goes to the patient the other with the family."
Susanne Johnson added: "Most humbling of all though is the people we've been supplying goods with at below-cost prices to make things for the NHS and care homes. People have been making hundreds of 'kit bags' for medical staff to stash their used scrubs in, to take home and put, still in the 'kit bag', straight in the washer, thus avoiding contamination of their home and exposure of themselves and their family.
"Others have been making thousands of face masks, both cotton and disposable with J-Cloth type cloths, especially for care homes, who do seem to have been neglected for PPE.
"And there's the people who are knitting and crocheting little bands for the back of medical staff's heads, with buttons to take the facemask elastics, thus protecting the back of their ears.
"There are care homes and nurses who need various of the products that our crafters making. But often crafters are struggling to get their makes to people who want them. If any group need them they can contact us via: facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Johnsons.Wool.and.Haberdashery/ or email: [email protected] and we soul be glad to help."