‘I relished the opportunity to reject perfectionism’: readers’ pandemic craft projects

With more time on their hands this year, many Guardian readers decided to get creative. From a sequinned romper to baby toys, here are some of their best works

Sarah Rowe’s patchwork blanket
‘It tells many stories’ ... Sarah Rowe’s patchwork blanket. Photograph: provided by Sarah Rowe
‘It tells many stories’ ... Sarah Rowe’s patchwork blanket. Photograph: provided by Sarah Rowe

Last modified on Fri 13 Nov 2020 12.51 EST

Ladies’ pond embroidery

Rita Ribas’s embroidery
‘I didn’t realise how long it would take’ ... Rita Ribas’s embroidery. Photograph: provided by Rita Ribas

During the first lockdown, I missed the Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond so much that I decided to make this embroidery, inspired by dreamy times there. Being an embroidery newbie, I didn’t realise quite how long it would take – Covid might be over before this is finished! Still, I am finding embroidery very soothing – a good temporary substitute for the ponds. Rita Ribas, London

A sequinned romper

Tony Bird’s romper
‘I fully intend to wear it on the next Pride march’ ... Tony Bird’s romper. Photograph: provided by Tony Bird

I have wanted a sequinned romper suit for years, since I saw someone wearing one in a YouTube video. Unsurprisingly, they are quite hard to find – especially in men’s sizes. I ordered the fabric from eBay and roughly copied a onesie to use as a pattern. I am really happy with the result. It’s all hand sewn and it doesn’t bear close scrutiny, but people are dazzled by the sparkle and don’t really notice the flaws. I fully intend to wear it on the Pride march next year (or whenever it can next take place). Tony Bird, graphic designer, London

Paint-by-numbers

Jason Thomas’s paint-by-numbers canvas
‘I made software that reduces a picture to a simple colour palette’ ... Jason Thomas’s paint-by-numbers canvas. Photograph: provided by Jason Thomas

I am pretty average at painting, but I am good at making computer software, so I made software that reduces a picture to a simple colour palette of perhaps six or so colours. Then I used a grid to sketch and transfer the edges of those colour regions on to a canvas. Then it just became a paint-by-numbers task. Jason Thomas, student, Victoria, Australia

Baby toys

A selection of Marija Rajovic’s toys
‘This project really brightened the days’ ... a selection of Marija Rajovic’s toys Photograph: provided by Marija Rajovic

During the pandemic, I decided to make some interactive toys for my baby.
It turned out that I was pretty good at it. Now I am sewing quiet books, play mats and memory card games and selling them online. I even made labels for my products with the logo I designed. I chose the name Brightica, because this project really brightened the days during lockdown. Marija Rajovic, English teacher, Serbia

A jewellery box

Marty Thompson’s jewellery box
‘My wife loves it’ ... Marty Thompson’s jewellery box. Photograph: provided by Marty Thompson

I decided to make my wife a jewellery box out of timber I had lying around the house. It features a blue wren, which is her favourite bird. I repurposed the lining from her old jewellery box, which had deteriorated due to years of usage. She loves the new box – and I am pretty happy with the end result, too. Marty Thompson, New South Wales, Australia

A patchwork blanket (main image)

Covid was an opportunity to finish a blanket that I had started a while ago. It’s made of old jumpers, bits of an old blanket, bits left from past projects, granny squares from when my daughter was learning to crochet, a scarf I made for her when she was little … basically, anything I could find. I relished the opportunity to reject perfectionism, the only rule being that I had to use stuff I already had at home. It tells many stories: of past lives; an anxious present where professional life is on hold and the future of my usual creative outlet is in doubt; and a lot of good drama series watched along the way. Sarah Rowe, musician, Sydney

A local tapestry

Emma Kneller’s tapestry
‘The colour palette emerged as I worked’ ... Emma Kneller’s tapestry. Photograph: provided by Emma Kneller

This tapestry of the village where I live took about two weeks to make. There are no people, cars or animals in it. Just the village. First, I looked at a few photos from different angles and in different seasons, then I drew on the canvas. Using wool, I started at the bottom of the hill and worked my way along the road, as if I was slowly walking up it, thinking of each neighbour as I stitched their house. I used wool left over from other projects and, luckily, I had many different shades of green, so the colour palette just emerged as I worked. Emma Kneller, carer, Dublin

A mosaic

Lisa Fox’s mosaic
‘I’m still stepping on bits of tile months later’ ... Lisa Fox’s mosaic. Photograph: provided by Lisa Fox

Nipping hundreds of tiles into mosaic pieces was occupational therapy akin to peeling potatoes in prison. I am pleased with the results, but I haven’t a clue where to put the finished product and I’m still stepping on bits of tile months later. I have one more mosaic to complete – of a gazelle from a Roman villa in north Africa. Lisa Fox, retired teacher, Brighton

A wooden stirrer

A wooden stirrer made by Wain Fimeri
‘My apricot tree has been invited inside’ ... Wain Fimeri’s wooden stirrer. Photograph: provided by Wain Fimeri

My apricot tree died, so I cut it down. I was burning the trunk and limbs when I suddenly felt ungrateful – she had not been a prolific tree, but she had provided the best apricots I have tasted. I saved the last limb from the fire and set to with a sharp hatchet, then a drawknife and a spokeshave – old tools used by wheelwrights. After several hours of rasping and a rub of good olive oil, I was finished. I have never had a wooden stirrer large enough for my 50-litre stockpot – try buying one. My apricot tree has been invited inside, transformed, and is admired once more. Wain Fimeri, Melbourne, Australia

Sock pumpkins

Lucy Purdy’s sock pumpkins
‘Each one took about 15 minutes’ ... Lucy Purdy’s sock pumpkins.

Trying to squeeze in crafting time between looking after our one-year-old son and working (with no childcare due to Covid) is a challenge, but these pumpkins – made from old odd socks, fabric and wool scraps – fit the bill. Each one took about 15 minutes: I just cut a sock off under the heel and stuffed it with beans and wadding. I tied wool tightly around the sides to form the pumpkin flesh, then fastened at the top before sticking on sticks for stalks, fabric leaves etc. Easy, relaxing – and they will easily last until next Halloween. Lucy Purdy, magazine editor, Highlands

A Beatles cross-stitch

Pauline Baker’s Beatles cross-stitch
‘I’m really pleased with the result’ ... Pauline Baker’s Beatles cross-stitch. Photograph: provided by Pauline Baker

I made this Beatles cross-stitch using a picture on the front of a Lego Art box and substituting bricks for stitches. It took me ages, but I’m really pleased with the result. My husband has been shielding, so I had lots of time to do crafty things. I also refurbished an old Welsh dresser and recycled a wooden bench (still a work in progress as I’m making a patchwork cushion for the top). Pauline Baker, retired, Liverpool

A Doctor Who scarf

Paul Humpage in his Doctor Who scarf
‘It ended up even bigger than I imagined’ ... Paul Humpage in his Doctor Who scarf Photograph: Paul Humpage

I have been knitting since I was a child, taught by my mum. As a way of relaxing, I make scarves and beanies, selling them for the cost of the wool only. I have been asked a few times if I could knit a Doctor Who scarf, but I have never really had the time or inclination. During the second lockdown here in Victoria, I was out of work for six or seven weeks and was asked again. The bloke who wanted it sent me a link to the official BBC pattern from the costume department, so I had a go. It ended up even bigger than I imagined. I am 6ft and with one wrap around my neck it’s still close to dragging on the ground. As it’s good-quality Australian merino wool, there is a fair amount of weight to it, too. I would like to knit one for myself to keep, but I don’t know if I would feel a bit of a goose wearing it around town. Paul Humpage, pub worker, Victoria, Australia

A dolls’ house

Michelle Gabriel’s dolls’ house
‘I love it and I can keep adding to it’ ... Michelle Gabriel’s dolls’ house. Photograph: provided by Michelle Gabriel

When I bought my house six years ago, I bought a wooden wall display unit that looked a bit like a dolls’ house. The unit has four main levels, like my quirky cottage. I wanted to make the unit into a dolls’ house modelled on my actual house and, towards the start of lockdown, I finally did it. The wall, floors and ceilings in the dolls’ house are painted in the same paints as my house. I found some paper tiling to match the terracotta tiles in my kitchen. I created dolls’ house windows with views of my garden. I put family photos on the dolls’ house walls and made some furniture, curtains and other upholstery to match those in my home. I had an amazing – but socially distanced – day with my daughter making food and candles from modelling clay. The miniature house is a hit. I love it and I can keep adding to it. I have plans for a feather duster made from tiny pigeon feathers, and lots more Fimo food. Michelle Gabriel, retired, Bishop’s Stortford

Pocket embroidery

Laura Matty’s pocket puss
‘When this wears out, I’ll have him framed’ ... Laura Matty’s pocket puss. Photograph: provided by Laura Matty

I decided to try to embroider my beloved and very much missed cat, Claude. He was born disabled, but had a grand life to the age of 15. He was grey, but it took 20 colours for me to get his colouring right. I decided to embroider him on my pocket; when this wears out, I’ll cut him out and have him framed. Laura Matty, retired, Edinburgh