With the current pandemic, we are in a life-and-death situation, all feeling isolated and scared. Most of us are doing our best to comply with medical advice and government regulations. We are practising social distancing by staying at home and minimising contact with others. Tapestry weavers and other artists are used to working on our own, but what about everyone else?

Many sources are recommending using this time productively by, say, learning a language or mastering cryptic crosswords. My view, unsurprisingly, is that tapestry weaving is well suited to our current set of circumstances, and   I have been interested to note that sales of my book, Tapestry Weaving, seem brisk. Perhaps those who had thought of learning a new skill now have the time to devote to it.

The equipment needed for tapestry is not elaborate, and the technique is simple. One chapter of the book is devoted to the basics of creating your first tapestry, and materials can be ordered online. In the UK, I suggest the handweavers studio and gallery for all supplies: https://www.handweavers.co.uk/. A frame loom can also be made out of four pieces of wood, though preferably they should be jointed.

I find that the weaving itself, with its rhythm of placing the yarn and beating it into place, back and forth, is calming. Perhaps it is its repetition, like watching the waves roll in, another meditative experience. You do also have to concentrate, which means that you can’t think about those things that induce anxiety.

Older children might also enjoy learning to weave. Who says home schooling has to be all about academic subjects?

Learning this new skill has to be better than drinking too much and watching endless YouTube videos. At least I think so. #quarantinecrafts