In a recent post, MaNDA, the Hungarian National Digital Archive, came up with a great suggestion for quarantine: knitting! With its repetitive process of tying and casting off knots, knitting is a remarkably meditative activity, and the perfect way to wile away the coronavirus hours.

The Archive explains: 

Knitting, crocheting or any other needlework are not just excellent free time activities, but they also have similar effect on your brain as yoga has on your body. The repeating series of movements make you relaxed and cause a nearly meditative state. Source

It would be irresponsible not to address the elephant in the room: how to get a hold of knitting materials during quarantine? Not to fear, there are wool shops still operating in Budapest which will deliver supplies to your door, such as the excellent and English-friendly 1001 Fonal. Their webshop includes knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn, patterns, and a variety of accessories like markers, purse latches and even a pair of unicorn scissors. More pictures can be found on their Facebook page

Even the absolute beginner can pick up the rudimentary skills necessary to get started in knitting or crocheting. (For those confused at the difference, knitting is with two needles, crocheting is with a single hook.) YouTube is chock full of tutorials on how to 'cast on' the first stitches, with different techniques according to the knitter’s preference.

Once the yarn is cast on, there are two basic stitches which form the groundwork for all future projects. Mastering the ‘knit’ and ‘purl’ stitches are essential for making any knitted piece.

After a few rows of practice with the knit and the purl, the beginner knitter is already prepared to make their first project: a scarf! No more than adding rows back and forth along the needle, this is the perfect way to get used to the feel of knitting, and produce something wearable at the end. If a mistake is made, simply pull out the offending stitches and start again.

Knit a bunny from a square

If you can knit a square, then you can knit a bunny with this cute, quick pattern. This pattern is also a great one to teach to children, who will delight in making their own toys, and gifts for their friends. It's a little late to mention Easter, but of course this would be a great activity to do alongside egg-painting! 

Thick practical potholder

The more experienced knitter can create virtually anything from the end of their needles: hats, mittens, sweaters, socks, shawls, ponchos… One friend of a friend asked me, “Could you make underwear?” Well, certainly! One nice, practical pattern – which requires only a little extra skill – is this potholder tutorial: a thick, double-sided square which is endlessly useful around kitchen, and a great gift to boot.

Knitting socks

A very favourite pattern of mine, these socks require only a knowledge of the knit and purl stitches to create cosy, warm, hand-made socks. Thick socks can be expensive, so why not make them yourself? Each step is detailed in this online video, but it does require a set of knitting-in-the-round needles.

Baby clothes

The great thing about knitting baby sweaters, socks and other garments is that, well, babies are small, and so the patterns take a lot less time! A homemade baby beanie is a timeless, heartfelt gift for any new mother in your life, and likely a gift they’ll keep for other little ones who come along. Again only requiring a knit-and-purl stitch vocabulary, this basic baby hat pattern is available on Ravelry for free.

Venetian Light Shawl

Experienced knitters can really kill the quarantine hours with this Venetian Light Shawl pattern, which is inspired by the Fortuny light fixture illuminating the stairwell of the palazzo in Venice. Using lace-weight yarn and a fine set of needles, this pattern is also available on Ravelry for free.


If you’re ready to try some more advanced techniques, these legwarmers are elegant, classy and very fashionable. The pattern is not free, but only costs $6.34, and is even recommended for beginners. Once again, this pattern requires needles to knit in the round.

If you’re inspired to dig out some yarn and embark on a new project, there are great databases full of knitting and crocheting tutorials, such as the The Simple Collection, with 12 free patterns available, along with other tutorials and tips. Another source of inspiration is Ravelry, an extensive anthology which has free and paid patterns available in all categories imaginable.