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Hobbies in Lockdown

By Lily Brown - The lockdown has meant many of us have more time to fill when we would usually be commuting into university and socialising with friends. As well as bingeing Netflix series’...

By Lily Brown

The lockdown has meant many of us have more time to fill when we would usually be commuting into university and socialising with friends. As well as bingeing Netflix series’ and attending hundreds of Zoom quizzes, I’ve taken up some new hobbies and revisited some old ones, to fill some of the time.

Knitting 

I first learnt to knit when I was about 12 years old. My grandmother taught me how to cast on, and how to do a basic knit stitch, and I knitted a scarf for my toy dog. For years I didn’t knit at all, but a couple of years ago I decided to try again. I bought a book with some projects for beginners and watched a couple of YouTube videos to remind me of what I had learnt years before. 

What you will need:

  • Knitting needles
  • Wool
  • Scissors
  • Knitting pattern

There are plenty of free knitting patterns available online, or you can purchase them from sites like Etsy. I’ve recently started knitting squares to make a blanket for one of my friends who is having a baby later in the year, and I tried knitting a hat which actually turned out much bigger than I had intended! In time, I would love to be able to knit my own jumpers for winter, so I think I’m going to keep practicing!

An example of Lily’s knitting

Embroidery

Embroidery is something I have wanted to try for years. My Pinterest feed is filled with pictures of beautiful embroidery projects and ideas for customising your own clothes with flowers, bees, hearts and more. Up until this point, I have never had the time to dedicate to learning embroidery, so I thought lockdown might be the perfect opportunity for me to give it a try. 

What you will need:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Fabric 
  • Embroidery needles
  • Embroidery thread
  • Scissors 
  • Pencils or water erasable pen for tracing or drawing your chosen design 

To get started, I ordered an embroidery hoop, some plain fabric, and some embroidery thread from Amazon, and downloaded an easy PDF stencil for beginners with some instructions on how to get started. From there, I practiced some of the easier stitches including the running stitch, back stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch, and french knots. I love that you can make something beautiful and effective just using these basic stitches.

After a couple of practice projects, I embroidered a ‘home sweet home’ design for my mum who was overjoyed to receive such a personal gift. For me, embroidery is a great way to relax and de-stress as once you get the hang of the stitches you can just sit in front of the television and work on your projects. There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest for beginners, and plenty of YouTube videos that introduce you to the basic stitches, and offer some great tips.

An example of Lily’s embroidery

Baking

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off, but I’ve never been much of a baker myself. My speciality at university used to be a banana cake you could make in the microwave in 8 minutes! 

During this lockdown, I’ve made a few more banana cakes (baked in the oven this time!) adding chocolate and blueberries to mix up the recipe a bit. I used the BBC Good Food ‘Brilliant banana loaf’ recipe but I used melted chocolate as icing instead of icing sugar, water, and banana chips. I also tried the Aldi recipe for ‘Blueberry and banana cake’ and they were both well received. Banana cake or bread is a fantastic way to use up old bananas and reduce food waste. I love having a cup of tea and a piece of banana cake in the afternoon to reward myself for getting some work done in the morning. 

When I was struggling to find flour, I bought a couple of packet mixes for Galaxy cookies and a Betty Crocker mix for a Victoria Sponge cake with ready made buttercream icing. Even if, like me, you aren’t a natural baker, there are still ways to whip up some tasty treats during lockdown. 

What you will need:

  • Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • Mixing bowl
  • Kitchen scales
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tin or tray

Couch to 5k

I’ve always wanted to get into running and do more exercise in general. I’ve attempted the Couch to 5k programme a couple of times over the years, but I’ve never been able to reach the end. Being allowed to leave the house for exercise gave me the push I needed to start again and to try and finish the course. I’m currently on week four and still finding it difficult, but I’m looking forward to reaching the 5k mark!

It’s also been nice finding new routes to run and taking the time to admire the countryside and wildlife I hadn’t noticed before. 

What you will need:

  • An appropriate Couch to 5k app
  • Running trainers

While there is no pressure to be productive during lockdown, I’ve found these hobbies have helped me to relax and keep my mind off everything that’s been going on. What have you been up to?

Images: Lily Brown, Konstantin Dyadyun on Unsplash, Theme Photos on Unsplash & Ev on Unsplash

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