This lockdown has been radically different, and much easier for me. There's a big difference between being in the city and the countryside - some of which is quite frustrating. I've been quite surprised at how many people in the villages seem to take a really lax view of lockdown compared to my city neighbours. There's a lot of traffic between houses and an assumption that you can come in for a cup of tea that is very at odds with the mask wearing care, and general avoidance of people, in my block of flats.
It's not everybody by a long way, and as my (mums) dog has a dodgy reputation in the village, people who stop to talk to us give us plenty of space anyway. I'm loving having the freedom to walk as far as I like (never quite as far as the dog wants to go, but we're doing 3-4 hours a day which I think is enough) and the company. It has very much underlined that whilst we're all in the same storm, we're also all in different boats as we get through Covid.
Mum, who is recovering from a hip replacement op is getting cabin fever whilst I'm enjoying the relative freedom of the same situation. It doesn't help her that she can't get comfortable enough to read for more than a few minutes, or that she's finding sleeping difficult, but recovery is going well and by the time lockdown lifts she ought to be able to get out and about quite a bit.
Meanwhile I've been knitting hats, lots of hats. They're destined to be Christmas presents and I've just started my 6th since the Cursiter Kep. I'm cash poor at the moment without a job so a bit of stash busting is very much in order and I think (hope) that people will like them. A winter hat is always useful and suitably light and unbreakable to post.
The overall design is continuing to evolve - a pattern on the crown or plain, how quickly or slowly to decrease, how roomy to make the hat, and lots of thinking about colour combinations, but I do now see these as very much my hats. They're far enough removed from all the original sources of inspiration to be their own thing. There's an extra warm brim for keeping the hat in place and ensuring warm ears (which the dog particularly likes) and a slouchy crown big enough to bundle long hair into. Wool is reasonably rain resistant if it's not tight against the skin as well so these are good in a shower.
The patterned crowns can sit quite flat at the back of the head which I also like - the blue and orange one would make someone very easy to find in a crowd. I'm also really pleased with the hat in traditional Fair Isle colours - this one decreases into a square which gives an impression of something a bit like an old fashioned smoking cap, or night cap. It'll be finished with a tassel, I like it's relative plainness.
How decreases and hat crowns worked was something that I found easy enough to follow on a pattern, but confusing to work out for myself until hat number 4 when it suddenly made a lot more sense and now I think I'm good to go when it comes to working out more of my own motifs and combinations of designs.
They also feel like the perfect lockdown project. Each one takes me about 5 days pottering about on, they're good for using up scraps of yarn, give plenty of scope for variation, are small enough not to get tedious, but big enough to actually clear out some of the yarn I've accumulated , and have sizable sections (ribbing and the plain bits of the crown) which don't demand much concentration which is just right for fitting around mum and her dogs routine.