How this Sheffield woman has been lifting spirits in lockdown - by knitting toppers for postboxes
A Sheffield woman has made it into a new charity book after knitting toppers for postboxes over lockdown to spread positivity in her community.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, towns and cities across Britain witnessed the emergence of brightly coloured knitted and crocheted artworks topping the nation's iconic red postboxes.
Adorned with knitted animals, nurses, and even the Queen they became an outlet for all sorts of people who were trying to deal with the pressures of lockdown.
Journalist Belinda Goldsmith set out to research how everyone's life changed during lockdown but through the experiences of a rather unique group - those aged 7-80 who picked up knitting needles and crochet hooks and distracted themselves by making graffiti art for letterboxes during lockdown.
While out of school, furloughed, shielding, struggling with mental health issues, and separated from loved ones, they knitted and crocheted to cheer up communities and themselves.
The resulting book - "Lockdown Letterboxes: A very British yarn about postbox graffiti knitters during COVD" - was released this month and featured on BBC Breakfast, Channel 5, ITV, and London Live, as well as about 25 radio stations across the country.
Lockdown Letterboxes: A very British yarn is a book by Belinda Goldsmith, which showcases the emergence of graffiti knitters and crocheters making covers for the famous red post boxes over lockdown.
All proceeds made from the sale of the book go to the UK mental health charity, YoungMinds.
Yarnbombing started in the US and is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.
Lousie Green, 37, from Ecclesfield in Sheffield, started making toppers during lockdown when she was furloughed and is one of 16 people to feature in the book.
Louise said: “I got to a stage where I was concentrating on the news, and it was always doom and gloom right at the beginning of last March. I felt like I needed something to take my mind off it and keep my hands busy, so I decided to teach myself to crochet using YouTube videos, which took me a while to figure it out, but once I'd got going, I just carried on with it and then pursued it from there really.
“I started off small by doing little blankets for family and friends, and then I went onto doing my first postbox topper, which I saw on a local social group called ‘random acts of crochet kindness’, and I really wanted to give it a go. so I decided to go out and measure my local postbox and just got on with creating my very first one.
“It was coming up to spring, we were just going through a weather change, and I just thought it'd be nice to add a little bit of colour to the local environment while we were waiting for all flowers to bloom, naturally, so yes, I thought I'd just do a postbox topper with flowers on.”
She added: “I’m so pleased that the money will be going to charity because I think that's the best thing it could do, and what a good charity for it to go towards.
“It's just a privilege really to be featured alongside other people that have crocheted and knitted their toppers.”