Crochet Is Cool Again—Here's Why This Soothing Craft Is Trending
Many of us have been spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors this year, and in an effort to keep ourselves entertained (and sane), we've turned to learning new skills. Whether that be crafting or cooking, it's a healthy way to pass the time, and keep anxiety at bay.
One of those skills is needlepoint—specifically, crochet. Over the past decade, crochet has gradually gone from just a grandmotherly hobby to a bona fide form of self care and an actually on-point design element in everything from referential homewares to artisan fashion. There's London-based designer Rua Carlota, whose unique, colourful creations are also a way for the designer to challenge waste culture. There's Isa Boulder out of Indonesia, who offers a more minimalist take on the crochet trend. And there are emerging makers accepting commissions in their DMs, like Sydney-based brand Fruitopia.
Like knitting and other forms of needlecraft, the act of doing crochet has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. The repetitive hand movements involved in crochet can help the brain release serotonin, which makes us feel calmer and more likely to think positive thoughts, meanwhile the colours and textures of the yarn itself can offer additional tactile and visual satisfaction.
Remember that Tumblr called Things Organised Neatly? It's like that—except you're in charge. You're creating the neatness you want to see in the world. Except, unlike knitting, which is more rule-based and more likely to create a "perfect" result, crochet allows for more versatility and more room for mistakes. That last part, we love. Neat and messy at the same time. Just like life.
So if you've run out of things to do at home and need something to reduce the amount of time you spend doomscrolling every day, read on and decide whether crochet is right for you. (Spoiler: it probably is.)
Knitting vs Crochet
Knitting is the more popular of the two forms of needlepoint, but we're feeling the pull to crochet more so. Crochet is French for "small hook" and uses one hook to make knots (whereas in knitting you use two needles to make loops). It's also faster than knitting, making bigger stitches, and can be more versatile creating a heavier, stretchier fabric that works for a wider range of purposes.
While more synonymous with summer—specifically the Summer of Love hippy culture of the late '60s (and its mid-'90s revival)—crochet is essentially far less season-specific than knitting, meaning your wares will be relevant for the full 365 days of every year rather than just the colder months.
Honestly, the best way to get started is just to start. Here's what you need to do.
Choose your yarn
When choosing yarn, consider its texture and weight. Cotton can be slippy whereas mohair can be "grippy", but many people find lighter yarns, i.e. cotton, easier to handle. Try a few rows out on a few different weights and textures and see what feels good in your hands. Look for eco-friendly or secondhand yarn so your new hobby is environmentally sustainable.
Find a teacher
Head to YouTube, search "how to crochet" and watch a few videos until you find a teacher you like. There are literally thousands to choose from, so you're bound to stumble on a good one.
Pick a pattern
While you get the hang of things, make something—like a coaster. These make great gifts and they won't take forever to finish. They're also a great way to play with colour combinations without also having to think about the pattern itself.
Press play (not too loud) on a soothing playlist to make the experience less like school and more like play. (Unless you like school, that is, which is totally fine.)
Keep going. Give your hands the workout they deserve and soon crocheting will be your favourite way to unwind—and you'll have plenty of unique, handmade gifts to offer friends and loved ones in these trying times that we call 2020.