COVID19 crafting: Proxy hugs

I have always enjoyed a bit of crafting, and now I am trying to do COVID19-inspired crafting to keep myself from total boredom and as a nod to the strange times that we’re living in. So, when a friend mentioned how much she misses hugs (and how her friends should expect extra hugs post-COVID), I thought that I should find a crafty way to send her one. But I wanted to send something a bit more tangible than just a card that said, “here’s a hug”.

Of course, having never attempted to send a hug through the post before, I wasn’t sure how best to do it. I thought about tracing my “hug span” onto flipchart paper and cutting it out, but that seemed like it would be a bit bulky and it wasn’t really what I had in mind. And, really, I would have needed someone else to do the tracing for me. Then I rummaged through the various craft materials and office supplies I have in the cottage to see what else might work. I thought of a simple length of crocheted ribbon; I thought of paper hands with folded paper (accordion-style) connecting them; I thought of plastic canvas hands connected with braided yarn.

But in the end, I decided to use some pastel notecard stock for the hands and lengths of ribbon for the arms. I had also considered using a variety of materials to make rings for my fingers but decided to draw them on instead. I felt that this would be the best way to create something that could easily be folded and sent through the post.

To make the hands, I traced my right hand (I am left-handed) then used that cut-out hand as a template for the rest of the hands. The cardstock I used was pre-scored in the middle. When I did the tracing, I made sure that the score ran through the palm of my hand. This way I would be able to fold the hands without folding the fingers, which might have made them more prone to tearing.

Once the hands were cut out, I coloured my fingernails red then drew on my wedding rings on my left hand (yes, they’ve moved back!) and a fun ring on my right hand. They were then connected with a length of ribbon that was approximately my arm span. I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon at the end of the hands then wrapped an additional bit of ribbon around the wrists creating sleeve cuffs that also served to hide the raw edge of the connecting ribbon.

In total, I made three sets of what I’ve deemed “proxy hugs”. With them, I included instructions for use (basically: unfold and wrap around you as needed). I also included a promise for real hugs when that’s allowed. The hugs went to the friend who inspired this round of COVID19 crafting, a second friend and her wee daughter, and my parents back home in America (with a note to share the hug with my sisters, if they can do so safely). They are merely a symbolic gesture, but I hoped that the recipients would find a bit of joy with them. And from their reactions, I think that my plan worked!

The project made me realise that not only have I not had a hug since I entered isolation in March, but I haven’t had a hug since the day my parents dropped me off at the airport after my last visit to The Homeland. So, I haven’t had a hug since August 2019! And now it’s looking fairly certain that I won’t enjoy the warming comfort of a hug until sometime in 2021, which makes me wonder just how long a human can go without one. (Forever, I imagine. But that wouldn’t be a lovely way to live!)

But don’t worry about me: As I’ve said before, I am used to living an isolated life and I have found solace in my solitude. And, thankfully, I get to see my folks on Skype quite regularly. That isn’t really a hug, but it does make me happy!

Stay safe, everyone! And if you have someone at home that you can hug, give them an extra-long hug today… because you never know how long you’ll need to carry that hug in your heart!

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