Crocheting is far from a Catholic schoolgirl’s dreaded class project, or that thing that only your lola knows how to do.
The contraption itself has become a comfortable analog counterpoint to an anxious, tech-weary world. For onlookers, the crocheted instragram is a bright spot amid the dull monotony of pandemic life, a colorful balm for eyes and minds exhausted by a steady stream of mostly bad news. There is a solace to be had even looking at the rainbow of curiosities made by human hands.
Have a piece made for yourself, and the warmth of the crochet becomes all the more real – real warmth you can wrap yourself in to feel even a tenuous connection to another person, in this case, the one who made the room.
Not to mention that, these days, crochet is a craft that fits firmly into the look of the moment, the 70s throwback that models and influencers brought out of the darkness of the closet laden with big-name mothballs. mother and pushed back into the fashion spotlight.
Young people don’t just wear crochet pieces, they make them. The classic granny square and granny stripe were picked up by designers in their twenties and thirties. This is a demographic you wouldn’t expect to have the patience or interest in such slow-paced, focused activity — but they’re the same people who are suddenly spending their days cooped up at home.
With the world’s longest quarantine isolating them from friends and away from young adult activities, many have turned to crochet to cope with the boredom and anxiety the pandemic has brought on.
Tetel Cuevas, 31, has spent most of 2020 feeling isolated and alone. She was a barrio doctor deployed to Mindanao, where she worked as a frontline.
She crocheted when she returned from Manila after her deployment.
“I went through some really tough times while I was away – and came back with a lot of feelings that I had a hard time dealing with. I missed working with my hands and working with people,” she said.
After spending most of her time studying or working, she finally had the opportunity to explore her creative side.
“Crocheting and knitting have always fascinated me. Also, I loved the idea of developing a skill that I could use to do something for others. After a few days of scouring the internet, looking at what manufacturers were doing, I decided to give it a go,” she shared.
Tetel started with a yarn kit she bought online and learned by watching Granny Square tutorials on YouTube. Eventually, she learned how to make the bucket hats, crop tops, bralettes and halters that populate her TCCIC Crochet page — pieces that have been seen on influencers and clothing brand campaigns.
Proceeds from his commissions benefited AHA! Learning Center, a group that provides academic and educational support to public school children – a way for her to continue helping even at home.
“I was a frontline before returning to Manila and wanted to find a way to help as well, so I thought this would be a great way to start fundraising,” she shared.
Besides the fact that the craft itself is a creative outlet, a form of therapy and a way to give back, it has also helped Tetel connect with others – something that has become even more valuable and difficult in the pandemic.
She describes a culture of sharing within the crochet community: “You learn from each other. You work with customers to get their preferred measurements and colors. It’s very personal which is refreshing when the current situation forces us to isolate ourselves.
“I’ve met so many cool people and never imagined it would be possible at times like this,” she said.
For Donna Paguinto, 25, crocheting helped her cope with stress by forcing her to focus on the present.
“The part where you’re counting your crochet stitches is very meditative because you’re just focusing on what’s happening right now so you don’t hear bad thoughts and negativities because you’re too busy counting,” she said. .
Donna’s first brush with crochet was when she was 10, learning from her grandmother, but she really got into it in 2018. As a graphic designer and illustrator, she found herself frustrated with her art and turned to crochet to find a new way to be creative.
“I discovered amigurumi (which is a subsection of crochet where you make stuffed toys) and was instantly hooked!” she said.
By amigurumishe found small ways to become more sustainable and eco-conscious, recycling plastic bottles and textile waste into the toys she makes.
Her crochet brand, Fully Hooked PH, started with her eco-conscious amigurumi projects, but has since expanded into making clothes and garments that she makes sure are size-inclusive.
“I still maintain the eco-conscious message that it just moved into slow fashion and the importance of inclusivity in this craft,” she shared.
Size inclusivity is one of the challenges that comes with crocheting — Donna pointed out that many patterns are designed to only favor small sizes.
Other than that, she said the thread can be expensive and there are incidents of people copying or even claiming other people’s work as their own. She also shared that some manufacturers undersell their items, leaving customers to expect prices that are too low for handmade pieces.
“Despite all that crocheting is still an amazing skill to learn,” she said.
A personal touch
For Ish Perez de Tagle, 26, it was a skill that allowed him to make personalized gifts for his family and friends after a particularly difficult year.
“After the crazy year that was 2020, I wanted to give my loved ones Christmas gifts that would really bring them joy, and I felt that handmade gifts were the best way to show them my love,” she shared. “Seeing everyone unwrapping my presents with surprise and happiness really warmed my heart this Christmas.”
Ish graduated from medical school in June 2020 and is currently a medical intern, but due to the pandemic, she had to do her internship online. Although her hands-on medical training has taken a back seat for now, she’s at least able to keep her hands busy with the hook.
Like Donna, Ish started with amigurumias well as keychains, but she has since expanded her crochet portfolio to include clothing and accessories.
As she began to learn to do more things, crocheting became a way for her to make the clothes she couldn’t wear as a child, which brought her Instagram brand Ish Stitches to life.
“I like to think of my brand as curated by my inner child who couldn’t wear everything she wanted for fear of judgment and criticism. Now, as an adult, I finally have the courage to wear what I want in all the colors I want. And I have never been happier!” she shared.
Ish’s page is filled with pastel colors, candy, and pop culture references.
As with Tetel, Donna and their crochet contemporaries, the things they make are a testament to the world of design that can come out of a few simple stitches.
“I really love that with crochet you just start with a ball of yarn and then you can create whatever you want with it, whether it’s clothes, stuffed animals, bags or jewelry, and so much more. again,” Ish said. “If you can imagine it, you can crochet it.”
As a trend, crochet should eventually go out of fashion. But if only for the value it brings to many of its millennial designers, crochet might be here to stay. – Rappler.com
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