Book celebrates UK ‘yarn bombing’ craze through lockdown

The book by journalist Belinda Goldsmith tells the story of a ‘very British’ trend that emerged during the boredom of restrictions.

Alison Tucker in Westward-Ho, Devon, opted for a seaside theme
Alison Tucker in Westward-Ho, Devon, opted for a seaside theme

A new book will chart a viral craze over lockdown which saw communities “yarn-bombing” letter boxes around the UK.

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.

Ms Goldsmith, a Thomson Reuters journalist, wanted to document “how people’s lives had changed during lockdown through the very unique route of these people who were starting to use their crochet hooks and knitting needles”.

Anita Warburton offers a Royal twist in Farnham Common, Bucks (Lockdown Letterboxes/PA)
Anita Warburton offers a Royal twist in Farnham Common (Lockdown Letterboxes/PA)

While on a daily run earlier on in the pandemic, she noticed a woolly green topper on a post box which she photographed and posted on Instagram.

After her friends commented that they too had seen similar creations, Ms Goldsmith went looking for more – soon discovering “hundreds of villages and towns in the UK” that had seen the same trend.

The journalist, from Pinner in north-west London, told the PA news agency: “People would see them and think ‘I could make one of those’, and it just went viral.”

Nathan Swain in Leverstok Green (Lockdown Letterboxes/PA)

All proceeds from book will be going to the charity YoungMinds. It features people aged seven to 80 who picked up their crochet hooks and knitting needles to bring a bit of light to their local areas amid coronavirus restrictions.

One 40-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, told Ms Goldsmith that making post box toppers had “given her something positive (to do)” during her chemotherapy appointments.

Another woman in her 70s took up the craft as she had to shield. Ms Goldsmith said she would put her toppers on the post box outside her house and passers-by would wave to her through her window – providing her only source of communication during lockdown.

A Remembrance Day topper in Leicestershire (Lockdown Letterboxes/PA)

After noticing a few cars were speeding down her road, she created a speed camera topper to encourage drivers to slow down.

Some of the most impressive pieces are from an anonymous crafter from Leicestershire.

One was produced in November to mark Remembrance Day and showed a World War One soldier surrounded by poppies. Ms Goldsmith described it as “absolutely breath-taking”.

Ameera Dulloo shows off her creation in Eastcote, Middlesex
Ameera Dulloo shows off her creation in Eastcote (Lockdown Letterboxes/PA)

It is not known how many of the letterbox toppers have been made, but it is likely to be a number in the thousands.

“This was a very British way of dealing with all the challenges we have faced,” said Ms Goldsmith.

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