Have you been using your time during the lockdown to start a new creative arts and crafts hobby or to dedicate to an existing interest?
 
We know there are thousands of interest groups continuing to be active during this time and producing some fantastic items.
 
Consequently, we are looking for your ideas, suggestions and pictures of what you have made while we are in this lockdown period. If you are able to direct people to resources or sources of support so that others can have a go, either on their own, or with their interest group then please do so. We will publish as many of your pictures and ideas as possible.
 

'Papercraft Group Projects' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

'Papercraft Group Projects' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

During lockdown the Papercraft Group from Saltburn District U3A has been holding Zoom meetings. Each week a project is selected and when we meet online we have a show and tell time for everyone to share their 'makes'. We then discuss a project for the following week. Each member is encouraged to forward copies to me of anything they have produced and this is then uploaded onto our own website page. When possible I create diagrams and instructions for the ongoing projects which are also put on the webpage so that members who cannot join in the zoom meetings can have access and try out the projects if they wish. This picture is a snap-shot of some of the projects undertaken so far; the themes include a rainbow design; a sunburst design; a design on a garden theme; a design to include a small envelope. All the designs can be created from left-over materials and we encourage up-cycling as much as possible. To view the member's contributions and instructions visit our website Saltburndistrictu3a - select groups - then select Papercraft.

'Crochet robot' by Jacqueline Dechamps of Baddow & Galleywood U3A

'Crochet robot' by Jacqueline Dechamps of Baddow & Galleywood U3A

I crocheted my robot from Hobbycraft blog. Very easy pattern to follow and will make it again, this one is for my grandson

'Wine bottle planters' by David Hammond & Marple Bridge & Mellor U3A

'Wine bottle planters' by David Hammond & Marple Bridge & Mellor U3A

I’ve amalgamated my love of wine and my love of glass sculpture. It seemed a shame to keep throwing away the empty wine bottles so I decided to cut the bottles in different ways to develop self watering planters.

'Kumihimo' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

'Kumihimo' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

I learnt the art of Kumihimo. An ancient Japanese braiding technique. Originally used on a big round wooden frame to make the handles on a samurai sword.

If anyone wants any information about it, or wants to give it a go and doesn’t know where to start contact me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’d be happy to help.

'Tatting' by Germaine Kemplay-Amow of Ealing U3A

'Tatting' by Germaine Kemplay-Amow of Ealing U3A

This is advanced tatting. I was given some chunky buttons & I said I could make some broaches or pendants from them. I first learned to tatt from an Aunt of mine when I was in my teens( about 65 years ago. I belong to the ring of tatters & have demonstrated at Alexandra Palace Knitting & stitching show

'Exhibition' by Andrea Valdez of Crouch End & District

'Exhibition' by Andrea Valdez of Crouch End & District

During Lockdown I have curated/posted an online exhibition selling art and craft made during Lockdown by artists and Friends of my private art gallery, The Crouch End Gallery at Front Room Art.

Front Room Art has been running since 2015 as two private North London art galleries, places where people could visit for occasional weekend exhibitions and view and buy art in friendly and informal settings. We have held numerous exhibitions and raised over £5000.00 for charity as part of our sales activities.

Recently my gallery partner Judy Gilley, moved to Buxton and we lost her gallery, the Avondale Gallery, and now The Crouch End Gallery is hoping to continue with her help from a distance.

We decided to invite former artists and Friends of Front Room Art to contribute images of work made during Lockdown and to sell it themselves (via a link on our website) provided they donated 20% to a named charity or sold it under the hashtag #artistsupportpledge. The contributors were also asked to give a short account of their Lockdown experience, which we included in the post.

I attach a screenshot of part of the exhibition which can be viewed online at Front Room Art https://frontroomart.kimvaldez.co.uk/category/news/

NB Front Room Art is not taking any commission for this exhibition, though I should add that my own artistic work is also displayed there.

'Screenprint Fish' by Marie Lenehan of Settle District U3A

'Screenprint Fish' by Marie Lenehan of Settle District U3A

I escaped in my imagination to the sea. I’m a ‘wild swimmer’ it is my escape. So this lino print I made was inspired by the underwater world where COVID doesn’t exist. Let your imagination loose.

'3D Printed Logo' by Catherine Wykes of Derby U3A

'3D Printed Logo' by Catherine Wykes of Derby U3A

I bought a Prusa 3D printer kit last summer, and have had lots of fun (as well as lots of frustration!) making a variety of things.

This week, I thought I would try to 3D print a U3A logo. The logo JPG provided on the Third Age Trust website was the foundation. Two STL files are required, one for the yellow part and the other for the blue part. The black and white JPG and its negative can be converted to SVG files, and these can then be converted to STL files which are then converted into gcode files which drive the printer.

This is when it gets tricky, because normally, the printer can change colour only when it changes layer. However, I found, through the Prusa forum, that someone has produced a modification to the slicer program which would enable colour swap between the ""yellow"" model and the ""blue"" model on each layer. Its a bit fiddly because you have to stand by and swop the filaments in each layer.

This one measures 83x28x3mm, and took about 50 minutes to print.

I've almost run out of yellow filament but will experiment with other sizes and thicknesses when I get a new supply.

I'm happy to pass on the files to anyone who wants to have a go

'Apron' by Fiona Lean of Chorleywood U3A

'Apron' by Fiona Lean of Chorleywood U3A

Don't throw away those old jeans!

Here's a picture of an apron I made from the seat of my pants!

The shape is there, the pockets are there, the waistband is there.

All you have to do is extend the waistband with pieces from the discarded legs, and add a contrasting binding to the edges of the apron.

'Tapestry' by June Whetherly of St Albans U3A

'Tapestry' by June Whetherly of St Albans U3A

I have in the last few years been doing tapestry weaving. This piece "Hope over the rainbow" is inspired by the principles of Permaculture learnt at a Permaculture Design course I attended in the late 90s. The principles I learnt are People care and repair, Earth care and repair and Fair shares - the motifs over the rainbow are intended to depict them.


'Trauma Teddies' by Lesley Johnson of Saltburn District U3A

'Trauma Teddies' by Lesley Johnson of Saltburn District U3A

These are Trauma Teddies that I have been knitting during lockdown. I put them in my window along with an NHS rainbow that my five-year-old grandson made. To date I have knitted ten including one for him. I just like to knit them of an evening while watching television. The pattern is on the internet.

'Still Life' by Androula Joannou of Palmers Green & Southgate U3A

'Still Life' by Androula Joannou of Palmers Green & Southgate U3A

I was inspired by a short film on the National Gallery website to make some photo "still lifes" using objects found around the house. Here is a photo of my favourite.

If anyone wants to have a go, the National Gallery film with suggestions of how to go about it is at www.nationalgallery.org.uk/stories/make-and-create-construct-a-still-life

'Keyring' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

'Keyring' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

Here is a keyring I made for my friend’s 13 years old son’s birthday. It is made with thousands of tiny knots

'Bike bag' by Marion Ridsdill of Castle Bromwich U3A

'Bike bag' by Marion Ridsdill of Castle Bromwich U3A

My son needed a bike bag for his sleeping bag that fitted between the handles of the bike. He specified that the bag didn't move around or touch his hands when he is cycling. I used an old waterproof jacket to make the bag using the elastic and catch from the hood to close it. I gave it more strength by adding straps that go all around the bag securing them with velcro. He's very pleased with it.

'Planters ladder' by Shirley Hammond Marple Bridge & Mellor U3A

'Planters ladder' by Shirley Hammond Marple Bridge & Mellor U3A

Two ladders are better than one!

In February we bought a new pair of step ladders but as usual, we never got round to throwing out the old set, which were rather wonky. During lockdown we have been trying to clear out lots of items that have passed their “sell-by date”. One of these was the old set of ladders. But, where do we put them? All the tips were shut!

David had a brilliant idea. We could use them to display some planters in the garden. They were rather tall, so we sawed them in half. Cutting through both the steps at the front and the support at the back. The top half was fine as it was hinged together and we found a way to hinge the bottom 2 pieces together so they would open and close as a normal stepladder.

We then realised that the individual steps were too narrow to balance a planter. An old bookcase provided the perfect answer. The shelves were cut to size and then screwed on each step. Just right to balance a variety of planters and garden ornaments. They now look delightful adding height and colour to our garden display.

Now David had the bug! We’d bought a new polythene greenhouse. What do we do with the old frame? It can’t just be thrown out! His trusty saw came back into use along with his Heath Robinson mind. We now have a beautiful 3 tier display stand for some more planters.

'Apron' by Fiona Lean of Chorleywood U3A

'Apron' by Fiona Lean of Chorleywood U3A

Don't throw away those old jeans!

Here's a picture of an apron I made from the seat of my pants!

The shape is there, the pockets are there, the waistband is there.

All you have to do is extend the waistband with pieces from the discarded legs, and add a contrasting binding to the edges of the apron.

'Toy Treehouse' by Anne Verghese of Burton Joyce U3A

'Toy Treehouse' by Anne Verghese of Burton Joyce U3A

At the beginning of the pandemic we had just moved many miles from home in order to be able to look after our youngest granddaughter. Our friends were a long way away, we hadn't had a chance to meet new people up here and all of a sudden we were useless to our daughter. We had joined the local U3A but our walking groups were cancelled. U3A Keeping in Touch was a lifeline.

I have two young granddaughters (cousins, not sisters) and decided to make something that they could both enjoy. One loves fairies, the other loves animals, so I decided to make something a bit different that they would both enjoy when, and if, they can finally come to visit.
We already have a dolls house, so I started to research tree houses and ended up with this. It sort of evolved as I was making it and ended up much bigger than I had first planned! It has stairs and ramps and a ladder at the back, so now my husband has made a base with castors (with brakes) so that it can be pulled out and turned for play.

It is made out of Amazon boxes, cooking foil, paper towel and PVA glue. I found the technique on Youtube but adapted it a bit as I'm all for quick results! It's very messy but satisfying and occupied me for several weeks during the first stage of lockdown.

My husband made the little beds, which I painted, and I trawled Facebook Marketplace for the rest of the furniture and the animals. I couldn't find any owls the right size, so then sent for a Needle Felting kit and learned how to make the owls you see on the top. (They have a special ledge to sit on around the back)

I now need a fairy family. Does anyone out there make fairies?

'Bracelet' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

'Bracelet' by Emma Lee of Settle District U3A

I’ve been making bracelets and Keyrings. I’ve made quite a few. So here is one of the bracelets I’ve made. It’s made with lots and lots of tiny little knots.

'Tea cosies' by Ann Moody of Flintshire U3A

'Tea cosies' by Ann Moody of Flintshire U3A

The ‘Corona Cosy’ saga resulted from a somewhat nostalgic conversation I had with a friend at the beginning of lockdown. Our chat was peppered with references to, among other things, liberty bodices, beef-dripping on toast, knitted swimming costumes (very scratchy) and tea cosies. My friend mourned the disappearance of the tea cosy, so, despite the fact that I hadn’t knitted for years, I resurrected my stash of yarn and knitting needles from the loft and made her one. The project snowballed from there to the point where at least seven pots of tea are being kept warm in Flintshire. I no longer have the pattern but memory obviously served me well. 

'Sun hat' by Kathryn Houghton of Newark & District U3A

'Sun hat' by Kathryn Houghton of Newark & District U3A

Reversible child sun bucket hat. Used a pattern from the web, there are lots to choose from. Cut the inside of the sewn brim with sheering scissors to make it easier to get a sharp bend.

'Rag Rug' by Ruth Robinson of Palmers Green & Southgate U3A

'Rag Rug' by Ruth Robinson of Palmers Green & Southgate U3A

A small rag rug wall-hanging (or possibly cushion cover) made by hooking cut strips of coloured T-shirts onto a woven base fabric which looks like hessian but is finer.

After hooking, the loops are sheared to give a pile-like look and I find that this helps to blend the colours.
I don't usually do abstract designs, preferring people or nature as subjects, but experimented with torn coloured paper from magazines to make a collage and worked from that.

If you're trying to work out a design for a rag rug, then collage is a really good way to start, especially if you find the idea of drawing or painting a bit daunting. Collage has a very liberating effect as it's not too precise - you can play around with the colours and shapes, and you can always add some extra detail later once you've decided on your basic design.

'Plarn Bag' by Ros Mitton of St Albans U3A

'Plarn Bag' by Ros Mitton of St Albans U3A

I read about using plastic bags for yarn - ‘plarn’ - years ago and saved some plastic carrier bags in case I wanted to try it one day. (Since then it’s been possible to re-cycle plastic carrier bags). In lockdown I got them out, read how to cut them up for plarn, re-learnt some crochet stitches and made this bag as an experiment. (It was an amalgam of patterns from YouTube videos, using a half double crochet stitch). Its been perfect for something to do with my hands while I’m watching tv in the evenings. I’ll try making another to experiment with a different width of cut strip, larger size crochet hook and a different crochet stitch. There are plenty of YouTube videos that demonstrate making plarn and making bags with it.

 


'Bag' by Valerie McCarthy of Barnet U3A

'Bag' by Valerie McCarthy of Barnet U3A

As a passionate stitcher (the word ' sewer' never looks as good in print!), lockdown provided an opportunity to enjoy many hours at my sewing machine. I joined a local hub of volunteers making masks, bags and scrubs. I also started to use up some of the fabric stash I have acquired over time making bags and hope, when things go back to normal, that some of the projects my wonderful U3A Sewing Group have made, can be sold for charity. Modern technology means that access to so many helpful videos is easy, so you don't have to be an expert to find something you could make, and it keeps both mind and fingers active.

'Cushion Cover' by Mamie Munro of Penicuik & District U3A

'Cushion Cover' by Mamie Munro of Penicuik & District U3A

One of my hobbies is silk painting and over the years I must have made a few hundred scarves, pictures etc. I could not bring myself to throw out any of the scraps left from each project and as a consequence, I now have bags of beautiful, brightly coloured silk pieces that I was always meaning to make into something. By doing crazy patchwork with some I have managed to make this cushion cover. As the silk is very thin and stretches a lot it is important to first use very fine, iron-on vilene to back each piece before cutting out randomly shaped pieces. These are then pinned overlapping on to a firm piece of fabric cut to your cushion size. Finally, each piece is machine stitched on using a narrow zig-zag stitch. The cover was completed using up some fabric from my store for the back.

'Breeze Block Sculpture' by Kevin Daniels of Woodspring U3A

'Breeze Block Sculpture' by Kevin Daniels of Woodspring U3A

I made this sculpture from a breeze block given to me by brother as something of a joke birthday present 12 years ago. I realised that if I did not carve it now it would never happen. The consistency of the material surprised me. It was rather like a cross between balsa wood and Parmesan cheese. An old poor quality wood chisel did the job by gently tapping with a hammer and paring away the block. The image was adapted from a carved block set into a wall in Naples that I photographed 10 years ago. I have only done a little carving in stone and wood but this was by far the easiest material to work with. The block costs £5 from a builders merchants. Why not have a go at carving a Thermalite breeze block yourself?

'Doorstops' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

'Doorstops' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

I decided on a project of making doorstops and lockdown has given me more than enough time to tackle these. Three of the designs have been made by upcycling some milk cartons which was a recent challenge by our local U3A.

'Felt Dolls' by Anne	Allery of Beeston U3A

'Felt Dolls' by Anne Allery of Beeston U3A

I made these small (about 4 inches high) felt dolls to go in Literacy Volunteer Story Sacks for use when children go back to school. I made my own patterns and used scraps of felt, sequins and knitting wool. Because I only had brown felt in the beginning, I made several Gingerbread men but after an appeal to friends, I was given lots of different coloured felt. The other characters are Rapunzel, Goldilocks, a princess and Jack of beanstalk fame.

'NHS Hero' by Mary Pearce of Barnet U3A

'NHS Hero' by Mary Pearce of Barnet U3A

I am an avid crocheter but could also be called a Happy Hooker! I saw this on Pinterest and eventually found the pattern on the Internet. 

'Jewellery' by Julia Kujawinska of Hucknall & District U3A

'Jewellery' by Julia Kujawinska of Hucknall & District U3A

New interest recently taken up during lockdown. Jewellery supplies mostly from eBay who have a wide range at reasonable prices. Plenty of Youtube tutorials although you can just use your own imagination.

'Powerpoint' by Sunjai Gupta of Norwood U3A

'Powerpoint' by Sunjai Gupta of Norwood U3A

This was a powerpoint diagram I made during lockdown. Please note that a modified version of it also figures as part of the online Waterloo Festival

'Butterflies' by Vera Duncan of Saltburn District U3A

'Butterflies' by Vera Duncan of Saltburn District U3A

I have always liked butterflies and decided to try doing a butterfly "Banksy" on my back wall. I live in a town house near the sea front and only have a back yard with plants and a small bistro table and chairs. Over these lock down weeks I decided to draw round a cut out and have enjoyed painting them plus they have given me a lot of pleasure from inside and out. Thankfully they have also weathered the rain this week and I intend to keep adding some more for my friends to enjoy when they decide to come and sit outside for coffee/tea and my delicious scones; don't all rush maximum three at a time.

'Crochet Blanket' by Wendy Barker of Hinckley U3A

'Crochet Blanket' by Wendy Barker of Hinckley U3A

This crochet blanket has finally been finished after probably 2 years as I can’t remember when I bought the wool to make it! It looks nice on the sofa at the moment but will, at last, be ready to snuggle up in during the winter. The eagle-eyed amongst you will spot some mistakes but no ones perfect! The pattern is available for free download from Stylecraft https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/Ross+Blanket/0_CAFA122_CAFA150_CAFA161.htm

 


'Stay At Home Quilt Piece' by Mary Pearce of Barnet U3A

'Stay At Home Quilt Piece' by Mary Pearce of Barnet U3A

The Upcycling Group is to make a quilt of our pieces when the lockdown is over. This is just once piece

'Quilt' by Jacki Hebblethwaite of Yate & Sodbury District U3A

'Quilt' by Jacki Hebblethwaite of Yate & Sodbury District U3A

As a quilter I was born for lockdown. Despite two rooms dedicated to quilting, my fabric stash still migrated to every room in the house. My plan for lockdown was to make or finish a project every day. How easy is that! Too busy to cook, clean or embark on any perilous activity around the house, my days have been spent walking the dogs and then getting stuck into sewing. Together with other members of our quilting group - remotely for course - we made for the hospitals, for the elderly, for disadvantaged children, for baby animals in Australia and made a huge numbers of Morsbags which are given away to avoid using plastic bags. Christmas presents are made as are fabric gift bags to put them in, our sofas are awash with new cushions and as for bags - how many does a gal need?? We have a new baby coming to the family in September so here is his first playmat. Living in Cornwall, the family will love the coastal theme as much as I enjoyed making it. I wonder if he would like another for Christmas?

'Scarecrow Family' by June Simpson of Saltburn District U3A

'Scarecrow Family' by June Simpson of Saltburn District U3A

used an old knitting book pattern. now charity shops are open they can often be bought cheaply , or found online. you are never too old to learn and once you can knit you never forget. it helps take your mind from worries as you follow patterns and create new items. The last time I did any knitting was when my two sons, (now 54 and 48}, were still at school. So, you could say I was a bit rusty. Knitting needles and patterns had gone to a charity shop years ago, however I joined a knitting group but got bored with the time it took to knit a jumper. When sorting a cupboard, I came across a pattern book of a family scarecrows that had missed the clear out. Early lock down, I began with the baby, as she was the smallest and because I enjoyed it, I continued with knitting the whole family - 7 in total. I created adornments - grandad has a snail in his hat and a medal, grandma a ladybird and a rolled-up umbrella with a large patch - each member has an addition. Nothing takes long so I don’t get bored and the end result is charming. I have since knit a rabbit to complete the set. I am an active member of the U3A garden group and we met at our garden to have a photoshoot as it seemed an appropriate place for my family to live and play. After lockdown they will go to the local hospice who cared for my son and I will be continuing with my newly started again hobby. So my message would be never think its too late to start again.

'Quilt' by Louise Matlock of Islington U3A

'Quilt' by Louise Matlock of Islington U3A

At the start of lockdown, I decided to set myself a challenge to make quilts for Project Linus (https://projectlinusuk.org.uk/). I've done lots of crafts and sewing, but never really got down to patchwork quilting, so it was a learning process! the Project is particularly keen to have quilts for boys as most people prefer to make flowery ones. I incorporated trains, light houses and dolphins into some of mine. I've now made 6 and have moved on to crochet blankets, which is more of a comfort zone for me. So I'm making a sea coloured, wave patterned blanket and will make starfish, turtles etc to sew on to it.

'Glass Rainbow' by Barbara Prater of East Berwickshire U3A

'Glass Rainbow' by Barbara Prater of East Berwickshire U3A

5 years ago I took up a new hobby. Making "Stained glass". I love the colour of old blue glass bottles and so thought it would be an interesting hobby. I turned up at the community centre where a number of 'old hands' were already engaged in composing beautiful pictures of flowers and patterns. After an hour sitting with an uncut bit of glass in one hand and a glass cutter in the other - I realised that it is more complicated than it looks. However I am now reasonably competent, and my veg box delivery lady asked if I would make her a rainbow the same as the one I had made for myself and was hanging in my window.... so I can't be too bad.

'Crotchet Rainbows' Karen Thorley of Sandbach & District U3A

'Crotchet Rainbows' Karen Thorley of Sandbach & District U3A

I made this for our baby granddaughter who loves bright colours. We currently haven't seen her since she was 8 weeks old before lockdown began as they live a long way off. The hearts are knitted, I did them in one flat piece side to side, repeated that and then folded them over, stuffed lightly and crocheted around to join. Then I crocheted name letters to personalise. The rainbows and clouds are crocheted, really easy with just a bit of experimentation. I then strung them on a padded hanger.

'Toy Cat' by Steph Collins of Seaham & District U3A

'Toy Cat' by Steph Collins of Seaham & District U3A

I made this for my granddaughter. I sent for the pattern and the wool online; it's an old Woman's Weekly pattern. It's actually the first knitted toy that I've made. I'm still learning the knitting so had some new things to learn.

'Patchwork' by Susan Tricklebank of Northampton U3A

'Patchwork' by Susan Tricklebank of Northampton U3A

This patchwork creation was intended to be a cot cover for my son 31 years ago. For some unknown reason I abandoned it, only to rediscover it in a cupboard a few weeks ago, and I became re-enthused. The original pieces were bought at Laura Ashley, and I was able to find additional similar pieces on the Etsy website. I am really enjoying the creative process. It will now be made into a double bed cover.

'Lockdown Landscape' by Frances Owen of Haxby & Wigginton U3A

'Lockdown Landscape' by Frances Owen of Haxby & Wigginton U3A

Our Craft Group is in suspension but we continue to work at home and send photos to our Craft Leader. Here is my Lockdown Landscape, reflecting a longing to be out and about in the countryside during lockdown. It is known as a Hooky, using lengths of recycled material looped through a hessian backing, so simple and effective and a great way of using old teeshirts and odd yarns. A new take on the art of rag rugging.

'Face masks' by Jan Nolan of Richmond upon Thames U3A

'Face masks' by Jan Nolan of Richmond upon Thames U3A

I bought the material and made a 9 x 7 pattern sewed inside out attaching elastic leaving a small gap to turn back right side. Once turned right side making pleats and sewing over pleats.

 


'Face Masks' by Cheryl Gordon of Norwood U3A

'Face Masks' by Cheryl Gordon of Norwood U3A

I made these masks and others for my extended family in various parts of the UK. The pattern follows the guidelines but is not medical PPE. The masks were easy to make, with basic hand stitching required (or you could use a machine). I was able to obtain a supply of elastic from a local shop and used material I had already purchased for other crafting projects. This has meant the masks are colourful and varied in pattern. The adults in the family have chosen the most unlikely patterns, from Mr Men to penguins.

'Rainbow Patchwork' by Frances Berry of Ashburton U3A

'Rainbow Patchwork' by Frances Berry of Ashburton U3A

Used fabric scraps to make the Rainbow patchwork, with a matching border, hand quilting , not finished yet just like lockdown!

'Dolls House' by Ruth Watson of Hornsea & District U3A

'Dolls House' by Ruth Watson of Hornsea & District U3A

This was a wine box that I received as a Christmas present and made into a mini dolls house. The usual size for a dolls house is 1/12. I had to make this 1/18 to fit into the box so it was very fiddly. I haven't been able to download the folder showing the bits and pieces I made, scent bottles, laundry basket, blanket box, chocolate cake, bedding, curtaining etc

'Cross-Stitch' by Yvonne Stone of Crowborough U3A

'Cross-Stitch' by Yvonne Stone of Crowborough U3A

This was a cross-stitch project which has been in the draw for many years. I decided during lockdown that it was going to be completed. It is counted cross stitch in 14 count Aida fabric. Now to get it stretched, padded and framed!

Fruit Cage by Richard Tolfree of Barnet U3A

Fruit Cage by Richard Tolfree of Barnet U3A

To prevent the birds eating the blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries in my garden I have built a fruit cage. I used old tennis balls, in which I drilled suitable holes, and garden canes for the frame and secured the netting with clothes pegs.

'Sun Bucket Hat.' by  Kathryn	Houghton of Newark & District U3A

'Sun Bucket Hat.' by Kathryn Houghton of Newark & District U3A

First ever hat I’ve made and took hours but love it. Next one will be quicker. Got the challenge and pattern from a fat quarter Facebook group.

'Acrylic Painting' by Jan Nolan of Richmond upon Thames U3A

'Acrylic Painting' by Jan Nolan of Richmond upon Thames U3A

Using acrylic paints did the tutorial from tube they are the Hocus Pocus Witches from the movie with Bette Midler. The tutorials are really good I recommend setting aside a few hours painting the whole canvas first in the background colour

'Beachcombing Picture ' by Julie Kinsella of Glens & Dalriada U3A

'Beachcombing Picture ' by Julie Kinsella of Glens & Dalriada U3A

I live by the sea in the beautiful Glens of Antrim and walk the dog every day on the beach. I started collecting sea glass and beach pottery and have made some pictures as gifts for family and friends and for my own home. It's quite intricate work, gluing tiny bits of glass, pottery and beach-washed wood to card. On sunny days I sit in the garden to design and frame the pictures and it's a lovely, relaxing way to spend an hour or so.

'Face Masks' by Pam Spencer of Chester U3A

'Face Masks' by Pam Spencer of Chester U3A

I’ve been busy making different styles of face masks for family and friends. I’ve used close weave cotton two and three layers, with an opening for a filter if they wish to add one. YouTube is my best friend.?

'Mosaic Platter' by Jacqui Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

'Mosaic Platter' by Jacqui Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

This mosaic platter uses a bamboo plate from Flying Tiger as a base as it’s quite light. A variety of cut up tiles and glass nuggets are then glued to the base with pva and when dry, the whole piece is grouted and cleaned

 


 

Scrub bags, Mask supports & hair bands by Jacqueline Sharp of Leigh on Sea U3A

Scrub bags, Mask supports & hair bands by Jacqueline Sharp of Leigh on Sea U3A

Being housebound and wanting to be useful. at the request of my Daughter who is a UHS Emergency nurse in Maidstone, I set to work making scrub bags, mask supports, and special hair bands that keep their hair out of there eyes and have buttons at the back. She tells me that their ears are raw as the masks rub, so could i help. The scrubs have to be safely brought home and washed and the idea is that the scrubs go in the bags, and. Then when she returns home they can go straight into the wash, without the need to dispose of plastic bags safely. I really enjoyed raiding my mother's button tin and, spent an enjoyable afternoon reliving memories of buttons from my childhood and beyond.. It is lovely to think that although my mother is no longer with us, she is still helping. Keep. Safe all. Xxxx

Embroidered Bag by Karin Slade of Saltburn District U3A

Embroidered Bag by Karin Slade of Saltburn District U3A

Going through some old craft magazines I came across this scene in the from of an outline. I traced the drawing, transferred it onto a scrap piece of linen and used simple stitches to add colour. I then added more fabric to make a draw string bag for my Aunt's birthday. I often use simple outlines as the starting point of an embroidery - clip art pages are a great starting point and you can combine images to make a pleasing whole.

'Reading Pillow' by Sue Shannon-Jones of  Swansea U3A

'Reading Pillow' by Sue Shannon-Jones of Swansea U3A

I've had an embroidery/sewing machine for some years now. After much deliberation I decided to upgrade it to the latest model. It was delivered from a local shop the day before Lockdown! One of my grandchildren has a birthday coming up and ever one to encourage learning I've made her a reading pillow. She loves unicorns so choosing a pattern was easy! She will be able to read while resting on the pillow which has a pocket to keep her book in.

Carrickmacross Lace by Maureen Marshall of Beckenham U3A

Carrickmacross Lace by Maureen Marshall of Beckenham U3A

This is Carrickmacross lace, which is a type of needlelace. Traditionally, this is worked in white on white fabric but I tried fabric painting the background fabric and embroidering in coloured threads. It is worked using several layers. At the base is a padded layer, then there is the outline of the pattern, then a clear hard, shiny layer traditionally, this was a type of very fine stiffened linen but today you can use a plastic sheet; this is covered by a fine cotton net and finally a layer of organza. You work closely around the outline couching a thread. When all the outline has been sewn, a looped stitch is applied closely to the outside edge. Then parts of the organza are cut away and the net beneath is embroidered. In this example the background organza was trimmed and a dotted background stitch applied. If you live in or around Bromley and are interested in learning to make all sorts of lace, tatting, cross-stitch or even knitting, please contact me and I can put you in touch with a local group.

Knitted Squares by Gill Dowling of Norwood U3A

Knitted Squares by Gill Dowling of Norwood U3A

These are small knitted squares for patients with dementia in hospital. They are for their laps with many different surfaces to keep their hands occupied. At this time with no visitors the dementia patients are in need of something to “fiddle” with.

'Garden - before and after' by Michael Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

'Garden - before and after' by Michael Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

This has been an ongoing project since we moved in - nearly 10 years ago. The house had been empty for nearly a year and consequently the garden was overgrown. Trying to find our way around when we first visited the house was like a journey of exploration - a bit like the Lost Gardens of Heligan, only on a smaller scale. The estate agent was very happy to show us round the house, but declined to venture in the jungle that the garden had become. As we fought our way through bushes that had turned into trees, climbing roses that barred our way and knee length grass we found a shed complete with chair and table, clearly set up to catch the afternoon sun for tea. Then in the distance we came across another shed, but we were unable to get there. We made an offer as soon as we fought our way back to the house. The first task having moved in was to relay the patio outside the back door, as we had built an extension that now meant the raised beds were too close to the house. They came out and the pond was dug. Behind the pond still had some large trees that we left in place, as the before picture shows. Last autumn we had to replace the fence to the right and took the opportunity to have the trees removed revealing an extensive part of the garden we had not been able to get to before, but too late in the year to do anything about it at the time, thinking this will be a job for the spring. So come the lockdown I set to and built the patio area in the corner, as you can see with the lighter (cleaner) shade of stones.

Plant Pot by Jacqui	Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

Plant Pot by Jacqui Osley of Crouch End & District U3A

I covered an old plant pot with broken tile mosaic to brighten up our lockdown lives. Any one can do it using any ceramic tiles they have left from d.i.y projects. Just put them in a bag, smash with a hammer and then use in a jigsaw formation using tile adhesive available from hardware stores (which are currently open)

Draught Excluder by Cheryl Gordon of Norwood U3A

Draught Excluder by Cheryl Gordon of Norwood U3A

Having received the pattern and basic material before lockdown I decided that now was the time to tackle this large project of a draught excluder. While I followed the instructions I needed to improvise as I am a hand stitcher/sewer. I used material from my own supplies to make the doors/windows and roofs. I also added my own embellishments, such as a 'For Sale' sign (outside number 71!) and birds and shrubs. If others wanted to have a go making something similar I would recommend it as it has been an enjoyable learning experience and I am very pleased with the end result.

Greenhouse by Richard Bulch of Hackney U3A

Greenhouse by Richard Bulch of Hackney U3A

I was replacing my garden shed prior to lock down and decided to recycle it into a small greenhouse type structure, i managed to obtain some double glazed units which someone was throwing away i replaced the roof, put one into the side and made a glass shelf to allow plants to be placed below, everything in it is now thriving.

'Rattle' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

'Rattle' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

"Baby's rattle. Made from a rare wood; Tanbutt.
Carefully sized; not too big to hold and not too small to eat.
The marking out is important, the rings are made in situ from the blank; not added later as you might think. Sycamore or maple would be safer for use."


Resin paperwights and a necklace by Liisa Brown of Hartley Wintney & District

Resin paperwights and a necklace by Liisa Brown of Hartley Wintney & District

flowers, dandilion seeds etc, which I picked up when walking in the lovely Hartley Wintney woodlands, during the lockdown.

I had bought a very regular resin kit from Internet some time ago, but did not seem to have time to make anything with it, until now! The kit contained everything needed to make different shapes, jewellery etc.

I chose my Resin Casting Molds, then mixed the Resin Liquid with the Hardener according to the instructions. I added some flowers etc into the Molds and poured the Resin mixture into the Molds. Within a few hours they had hardened and ready take out of the Molds. I fixed the small pendants into a simple cord (obviously you can use a proper chain for this as well).

This was my first effort. The variety of objects you can make is endless! I have not even touched the colours, different decorations and shapes you can choose.
A good project to do with your grandchildren, I'm sure!

Table Lamp by Ray	Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Table Lamp by Ray Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Hi I'm Ray Dodd and have been wood turning now for the past 3 years; after learning how to use a lathe at school (a very long time ago!!). This lamp has been made of two woods, ash and walnut. I began by choosing a piece of ash 14" long x 5" square. I then cut this diagonally (creating two wedge shaped pieces of wood). Next I selected a 2" thick off cut of walnut, and cemented this in between the ash wedges; and held the whole lot together with sash clamps until firmly set. Trimming off the excesses, I was then able to mount the bonded woods on the lathe to begin the turning process. The main concern with multi wood turning that's been cut like this, is the unknown strength of the bond between the surfaces; so this needs monitoring throughout the turn. Where the wood has been cut on the cross, it has a tendency to come apart due to the centrifugal forces placed upon the joints. When gaps do appear, these need stabilizing with super glue and fine sawdust (together they make an extremely strong joint); certainly I didn't end up with chunks of wood flying around my ears. I finished off by going through the various sand paper grits, to attain the level finish I needed, applied the wood sealant and after the friction polish was dry, gave it a good buff, attached the various electrical components, and hey we have a lamp!!!

Sculpture by Keith Appleby of Henley On Thames U3A

Sculpture by Keith Appleby of Henley On Thames U3A

I spend at least some time everyday working on a variety of projects in wood. This recently finished piece was inspired by a visit to Japan last year and part of a series of sculptures that reflect the culture and architecture of the country. I am a woodturner who produces sculptural work and love to explore the texture and colour of natural wood often combining with other materials such as glass and brass. I particularly enjoy producing hollowed forms and also exploring the use of texture and carving. Isolation has provided an ideal opportunity to indulge my passion for wood. I am the group leader for photography and history of art at Henley U3A and have been also been busy delivering talks using the video conferencing app, Zoom.

Pens by Ray	Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Pens by Ray Dodd of Bourton & District U3A

Hi it's Ray again, pen making is a really worth while project, on so many levels. There are very few things you can do with pieces of wood just 2 long"" x 1""sq, but all too often us wood turners find ourselves with many of these small left overs. Personally I never throw them away; they are brilliant when making pens or Christmas decorations. The finish results make very acceptable presents (something we may have to consider if this lock down carries on). I usually buy most of my wood at local wood auctions (Ledbury in my case). They normally have about 3 or 4 auctions a year, and it's a great way of building your stocks up at very competitive prices. I also keep my eye out for trees being felled in my area; ok you have to give the wood time to dry out,but there's no hurry. When bidding for mixed boxes of wood, it's there that you can find beautiful small pieces of exotic wood, ideal for small projects. So there you have it, why not make small beautiful presents that really are well received, cost very little to make, and are cheap to post.

Happy turning.

'Recycled material bookmarks' by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

'Recycled material bookmarks' by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

Made using old, damaged book pages, scrap card, scrap wool and embellishments of choice. I have made these as Christmas gifts for my Book Group buddies but the idea can be adapted to suit any occasion or theme.

1. Cut rectangles (any size you like but mine were 5cm x 20cm) from damaged book pages. (I ‘aged’ mine using printing ink-pads but you could do this with a used tea bag and let it dry.)

2. If available, stamp an image or if you’re more talented than me, draw or paint directly onto the printed page to decorate.

3. Mount onto card and cut out leaving a small border all around. (I used two layers of card to create a sturdy bookmark)

4. Trim to a point at the bottom.

5. Punch a hole centrally at the pointed end and using wool scraps create a tassel for each bookmark.

6. Add embellishments if desired. (I used small wooden snowflakes, but buttons, sequins, fabric or paper scraps could also be utilised) 

Bench by Dina	Jung of IoW U3A

Bench by Dina Jung of IoW U3A

I had an eyesore in the corner of my garden that I could see from my windows. The things in the corner were essential, i.e. a black plastic compost bin, plant supports, pieces of very useful wood and metal, unused hanging baskets, etc., but I had nowhere else to put them.

I woke up one morning with an Aha! moment and set to work to make a high backed storage bench. The framework used up some of the ""useful"" bits of wood (this was some old teak I had found in a skip about 15 years ago. The top of the bench is another couple of bits of ""useful"" wood and the inside floor and sides of the bench are the slats from a pallet.

I bought a black bamboo Java screen and cut it to size for the back and front and the hanging head is a momento from a trip to Borneo. The storage seat holds all my precious terracotta pots and the back completely hides the compost bin, etc., whilst still allowing me access via the lefthand side to top it up. I can even sit in the sun on the bench (if I had the time).

I had a great couple of days designing and building it and was inspired to also build two very simple bamboo ladder shelf systems to hold my plants whilst they harden off. I have not had so much fun for ages and it is now one of the features in my garden.

The best tip I can give is design around the materials you have at the moment but allow for the fact you may have to buy some more to finish it.

Ascot Dress by Auriol Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

Ascot Dress by Auriol Ainley of Pershore & District U3A

I started on my outfit for Royal Ascot just before this isolation- then learned 2 weeks ago that the whole event is cancelled - so my silk dress is now waiting for Somewhere Nice to wear it! Perhaps a celebration when life returns to normal once we are given permission to socialise again!

But I have several unfinished outfits stowed away in boxes, so there is no excuse for not finishing everything now. Then I will have a full wardrobe to wear!! My next item is a doll from an Australian pattern I bought when over there some 11 years ago!! Watch this space.....

Scrubs by Jenny Hill of Swansea U3A

Scrubs by Jenny Hill of Swansea U3A

I became a member of “For the love of scrubs” in mid April after seeing it on Facebook. A local lady in Swansea had started it on April 1st using her own fabrics and donated old duvets, sheets and pillowcases to make scrubs, laundry bags, masks ,scrub hats etc for the local NHS front line. Many many people, mostly ladies have volunteered to make things at home.It has grown fantastically with over 1800 members now.
I was keen to help and made the 3 sets of scrubs to a pattern on line, copied by my husband and the correct fabric.I was surprised that it took me so long (4days)realising that I was out of practice and had never been an industrial machinist. I was very pleased but needed a rest afterwards!

The group has grown even more supplying care homes etc with a large team of men volunteering to drive fabrics around and pick up finished items before they are packaged and taken to needy institutions. I am in awe of the lady who is the central organiser and so pleased to find so many still have needlecraft skills — skills that should be taught in schools today.

Bird Table by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

Bird Table by Louise Moore of Saltburn District U3A

During the first couple of weeks of ‘lockdown’ my partner and I designed and built this tall bird table feeding station using offcuts of wood and a piece of steel mesh found lurking in various corners of our garage! I had wanted it to be tall enough to be seen through the window from my favourite chair and to house a couple of plant pots beneath the bird table itself. The steel mesh was a great find as were able to use it as the feeding platform and it also ensures effective drainage during wet weather, avoiding soggy breadcrumbs etc. The dowelling ‘perches’ around the platform itself were a suggestion shouted to us over the fence by our neighbour (we are practising social distancing here in the NE) who suggested these would help keep the bigger birds e.g. pigeons and magpies from stealing all the food. An inspired idea which has really worked! Once complete, the entire construction was creosoted to protect it and the roof was tiled using shingles left over from our dog-kennel project (made around 10 years ago). To date, the bird table has attracted numerous bird species including sparrows, blue-tits, starlings, blackbirds, (who usually ‘clear up’ at floor level) a robin and tenacious pigeons and magpies who are determined to get over those dowelling barriers somehow! A wire feeder container has been stuffed full of border-collie fur and has been much collected for nesting material, particularly by the blue-tits.

'Cushion cover' by Jill Richardson-Jones of Horsley U3A

'Cushion cover' by Jill Richardson-Jones of Horsley U3A

This is a painted cushion cover.
Pure cotton covers are available from Amazon and are not expensive. I have used Acrylic fabric paints, that can be used just like watercolours when diluted.
The secret is to always use pure cotton covers, as the paint will flow better.
If you have an old towel, insert it into the cover, so that the paint won't leak through to theback of the cushion.
Having chosen your subject , use a graphite pencil to draw out an outline - very lightly.
Choose the colours you need, also have a jam jar of water, some kitchen towel .. and wear an apron!
After painting, and as soon as it is dry, using a hot iron go over the painting, this will seal the pigment so that it can be laundered.
The field is wide open for any subject to be painted onto your cushion cover .... anything from flowers, insects, butterflies to portraits.
Acrylic Fabric paints - and I use ""Keep Smiling Fabric Paints"" -are again available from Amazon.
This is a lovely hobby and can be used to make delightful gifts for family and friends - useful ones too!

  


 

'Mask bands' by Christine Palmer of Barnsley & District U3A

'Mask bands' by Christine Palmer of Barnsley & District U3A

I’ve made about 50 mask bands from both elastic and crochet. I’ve also made about 30 wash bags for the nurses to put their uniforms in. Don’t have a photo of these but some I made from pillow cases, just sewed a tie strap to one side, they didn’t need any other sewing.

'Rainbow' by Chris Winner of Flintshire U3A

'Rainbow' by Chris Winner of Flintshire U3A

My neighbours are all displaying Rainbows of Hope in their windows and I was the odd one out.

I have been crocheting almost all of my life and I have a huge stash of yarns and hooks so that’s what I turned to to make my own rainbow.

The are lots of free patterns on the internet I used one of those, it’s one with bobbles and it is actually made a a circle and folded in half. I modified the pattern by doubling the number of rows and instead if bobbles I made the flowers. The actual width of my rainbow is about 50cms which turned out to be too big for my window. It hangs over the back of a sofa.

The original pattern size rainbow is about 30cms wide so I have made a few of those to use.

Quick to make and very colourful.

'Goblet in Yew' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

'Goblet in Yew' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

On the lathe, make the bowl first, then support that end while cutting the stem, and finally the foot. Friction polish or Beeswax will make it shine; Tung Oil will make it dampproof, but I wouldn't drink out of it.

Spatula by Matt Carroll of Swansea U3A

Spatula by Matt Carroll of Swansea U3A

I run a Natural History U3A group in Swansea. During the lockdown I was asked to make some videos about the Natural World. One of the influences on our woodland has been the management system used over hundreds of years. This system of coppicing is completely sustainable and the coppice products supplied the furniture and housing industry. The coppice workers were known as Bodgers and the photo Is taken from a video on how to make a spatula.

'Storm' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

'Storm' by Wyn Jones of Flintshire U3A

Inspired by Rodin's 1898 sculpture; 'The Storm'; this copy is carved from a limestone block, liberated from an old farmhouse in the Charente, France, using just a chisel and mallet

'Five Bags' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

'Five Bags' by Judith Brun of Saltburn District U3A

Many of my U3A friends had a crafters tote so I had been wanting to make one for myself to use for my sewing group. Lock-down has given me the time to master the instructions and having completed one I thought I could do with another for my knitting. I was using material from a recycled duvet cover and set myself the challenge of seeing how many I could make from the rest of the material and managed five altogether. For the wadding I used some old pillow protectors; (with scraps from these I made some face masks!) It would be lovely to see what other ideas crafters can come up with - maybe a tent to hide in when it all gets too much!

Scrubs by Hazel Woodhead of Pershore & District U3A

Scrubs by Hazel Woodhead of Pershore & District U3A

At the beginning of April I heard that there was a shortage of PPE and that nurses and doctors were having difficulty getting hold of scrubs. I found out, via Facebook, that a nurse called Ashleigh Linsdell had that difficulty in her own unit in Lincolnshire and with some friends decided to make scrubs themselves. Thus was born For the Love of Scrubs, where women (and men) formed local groups of seamstresses to make bags, scrubs, and latterly masks and headbands. Fabric was purchased from donations which has been streamed through crowd funding, purchased by individuals or donated by large companies. Quite a lot of bed linen has also been donated to make bags and scrubs. In quite a short period of time websites for local groups have sprung up with coordinators to supply finished articles to hospitals, clinics, care homes and GP practices but at the same time distribute fabric, thread etc to the local volunteer sewers.

The national site suggested an approved NHS pattern, which could be downloaded, but a print company agreed to print the pattern which could be bought at cost price which is what I did.
If you are a reasonably competent dressmaker/seamstress the scrubs are not difficult, although sleeves and facings can be challenging! They comprise of a short sleeved v neck top with patch pockets and loose fitting trousers with patch pockets on the back and a draw string waist band. An overlocker is a valuable addition to the kit as raw edges are not welcome as they harbour bacteria. French or flat seams or zig zagging is acceptable too.
So far, I have made ten sets of scrubs of various colours and there are at least five more sets in the pipeline.

The group I sew for is gloucestershiresewingforthenhs.

'Scrubs bags' by Hilary Jones of Flintshire U3A

'Scrubs bags' by Hilary Jones of Flintshire U3A

These bags are used by NHS staff, coming off shift - to take their scrubs home to wash. They are very simple, the size of a pillowcase with a draw string round the top. If you don't have piping cord or equivalent - a cord made out of the material works very well. I was pleased to put some of my fabric stash to good use.

Robot by Ed Link of Kinross-shire U3A

Robot by Ed Link of Kinross-shire U3A

Definitely not a fished product but a whole new endeavor. The Lego EV3 Mindstorms programmable robot. The kit includes a programmable 'brick' and a whole set of components, motors, sensors and wheels to make very sophisticated robots. I have made some of the suggested really cool pellet firing, talking robots that the grandchildren love. But now the real work has started.

I am learning to program my EV3 in Python. Python is a well known scripting language that underlies many popular apps. My EV3 is now wi-fi enabled and loaded with the Python interpreter and I program it using Microsoft's free Visual Studio Code. My learning robot is equipped with an ultrasonic sensor, light sensitive and touch sensors. It finds it way around the flat and seeks out a light source, then does a little dance and whoops with joy. Learning to program in Python and its EV3 extension is intensely absorbing. I wonder if there are any others out there for an online interest group.

Crochet by Gail Bent of Barnet U3A

Crochet by Gail Bent of Barnet U3A

I've always enjoyed working with tessellated patterns and colours so I used my time during lockdown to crochet this large (120cm x 160cm) throw. I got the pattern through Stylecraft magazine -there's also a website with lots of projects for all abilities. This particular pattern was quite complicated as no two coloured motifs are the same. For beginners of crocheting there are lots of youtube instructional videos available. Crocheting is an ideal skill for groups to practice and improve together.