Tom Daley may have made knitting and crocheting cool again at the Olympics, but this ‘grandma hobby’ has, in fact, picked up speed since the pandemic began. It’s not just knitting and crochet — during the lockdown, more people have started dabbling in textile-related hobbies including embroidery, punch needling, macrame, and redesigning thrifted clothes.
How I started crocheting
Inspired by all the cute things that I could create with my own hands—I’m hopeless at sewing—I decided to take my first steps into the world of needlecraft by learning how to crochet. I didn’t know where to start and which crochet needles to use, so I bought an amigurumi crochet kit. For the uninitiated, amigurumi is derived from the Japanese words “crochet” and “stuffed doll”. Put together, amigurumi is the art of crocheting dolls.
Little did I know, the crochet kit I bought was not for beginners. In fact, it was for an advanced level. Nevertheless, I pushed forward and immersed myself in countless YouTube tutorials, learning how to crochet the very basic stitches. It wasn’t easy, but it isn’t rocket science either. I definitely spent several hours poring through the videos at a 0.2x reduced speed.
Why it was so addictive
However, once I got the hang of it, I became addicted to crocheting. It was the momentum of being successful — I was proud of myself, that in my 30s, I was still able to learn new things. I started taking on more projects and went down the slippery slope of buying more yarn. Any knitter or crocheter will be able to attest to this addiction.
But more than a new hobby to create new things, I was happy to be able to turn my attention towards something else that didn’t come with a screen. Like many others, I was experiencing screen fatigue. Being in lockdown during the pandemic seemed to make it worse, as I found myself “taking a break from the medium screen to look at the small screen while the big screen plays in the background.”
It was a vicious cycle.
Did it help with my attention span?
I slowly realised that I wasn’t able to truly focus on one thing. With so many things happening on multiple screens, I found myself multitasking with no good reason to. It was exhausting and shortened my attention span. I could not truly focus on work and only realised it when I attempted to read a book—once a favourite pastime—and wasn’t able to read more than three pages without feeling restless.
While I didn’t go into crocheting thinking that it would cure my attention span, it turned out to be a bonus side effect. Crocheting was a calming and therapeutic hobby, gently forcing my mind to focus on the task at hand. With amigurumi, much concentration is needed to focus on the number of stitches needed. This left no room for me to look at my smartphone for yet another update from Instagram.
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Meanwhile, when crocheting clothes, the repetitive nature of the stitches was meditative. There’s something about working with your hands that feels more therapeutic — and before you know it, hours have passed with you creating something. For those of us who feel antsy about not being productive, this hobby will certainly dispel any of those feelings.
As far as hobbies go, crocheting is a fairly inexpensive hobby and not at all difficult to learn. What you will need are some crochet hooks — you only need one at a time, but they come in different sizes for different yarns. If you’re starting out, acrylic and milk cotton yarn are some of the cheaper yarn options available out there. There’s a plethora of crochet patterns and projects you can find on the internet, and YouTube is a great channel to learn your basics.
If you’re also done with screen fatigue and want a way out, perhaps you should give crocheting—or needlecraft—a try too.