The 87-year-old knitting her way through lockdown

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By Ellie Dawson

When the UK prepared to go into the first lockdown last year, 87-year-old Eileen Pawson decided she needed to keep herself occupied each day to help pass the time.

After working as a nurse for 20 years and bringing up five children – Eileen, Eric, Eve, Edward, and Earl Wayne, with her husband Eddie, Eileen is naturally hard-working and likes to keep herself busy. So when the first lockdown began, she decided she would do just that.

Knitting has always been a part of Eileen’s life

When her children were at school it would come in handy for knitting cardigans and jumpers for their uniforms, although she says it has taken her a lot of practice: “When I first started knitting I made a mess out of a lot of things.”

Eileen has been a member of Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours’ Scheme CIO for almost 16 years. So, when lockdown began and she could no longer attend activities, she decided she would use the time to improve her knitting skills and create a different scene every week to keep herself busy.

“When I get up on a morning I want a project. I’m doing it to keep me occupied .”

One of Eileen’s recent scenes was named ‘It’s cold outside’ when Leeds was blanketed with snow in the new year.

Eileen’s winter-themed scene ‘It’s cold outside’ from when Leeds was hit with a snowstorm.

Changing themes each time, Eileen keeps them relevant to the news that week: “My mind wanders and I just think, what can I do next?”

Eileen’s Scenes

Eileen is now onto her 73rd knitted scene, with over 800 items of furniture that she has already knitted- sofas, chairs, tables, beds, wardrobes, and dressers, waiting to be used in her next scenes.

“On the news, there’s been a lot of talk of people adopting dogs during lockdown, so I thought that’ll make a nice theme, and I’ll call it ‘Adopt me please’. “

After it was reported that many people have adopted and bought dogs during lockdown, Eileen decided a dog adoption theme was fitting for that week.

Eileen also includes up-cycling in her weekly works. Household items that would usually be recycled – tops off coffee jars and drinks bottles, and plastic bottles – all made into pieces of furniture or decoration for her scenes: “I enjoy looking at something and thinking, ‘what can I do with this?’”

Eileen up-cycles anything she can when creating her scenes.

Eileen says she enjoys letting her imagination run wild: “There’s nothing else for me to do at the moment. I don’t like just sitting and watching TV day in, day out.  I like having something to do, and people look forward to seeing my next project, so if it makes them happy, I’ll keep doing it.” 

The colourful creations are displayed in the office, and with restrictions meaning the it is much quieter than usual in the Scheme, it’s something to cheer staff up when it’s their day to work in the office.

Eileen’s work can also be seen in Crossgates Library – a Jurassic Park theme and American reality TV show Ax men theme.

Eileen’s Jurassic Park theme is featured in Crossgates library.

Pictures of Eileen’s scenes are posted every week and can be seen on our Facebook page.