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Crochet in the time of social media: The hobby is now seeing a revival

Crochet helps people focus in the moment and be present

Crochet helps people focus in the moment and be present
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I took up crochet during the pandemic. A friend saw one of my crochet-related Instagram posts and said she was worried. I wasn’t “acting my age.” But, is crochet really an activity best suited for the elderly? Social media says otherwise as the hobby sees a revival thanks, in part, to influencers wielding crochet hooks and knitting needles.

There’s a lot of repeated motions in crochet, especially if you are making a big project. So it helps centre me,” says 19-year old Ayaan Shariq attempting to explain what it is about the art that makes it so alluring. “The act of doing it helps me focus in the moment and be present,” he adds.

Ayaan and his mother Shaista Shariq started a crochet business on Instagram under the handle @lilacsinthecloset during the pandemic. Shaista learned crochet in Nigeria while she was assisting an art teacher who made crochet jewellery, while Ayaan was first taught the thread-art in school.

While Shaista brought the idea of a crochet-business to the table, Ayaan brought in his tech skills to run an online-business.

The hobby sees a revival thanks to influencers wielding crochet hooks 

The hobby sees a revival thanks to influencers wielding crochet hooks 
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

In the digital age, where even art has moved to a virtual space, Ayaan and Shaista says crafts like crochet are much-needed. “It just feels nice to sort of have a physical thing that you can make. Like a string of yarn that you can turn into anything. It feels almost magical!” says Ayaan.

Yarn artist Vaishnavi Ramesh is no stranger to this magic. She has been weaving for over 10 years now. She recently took up crochet and she hasn’t been able to put the hook down since.

Amigurumi is a Japanese artform of doll-making through crochet or knitting

Amigurumi is a Japanese artform of doll-making through crochet or knitting
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“I was planning a baby shower for my sister and I thought something handmade would be treasured more. So that’s when I came across these really cute crochet toys that are called Amigurumi,” says Vaishnavi.

Amigurumi is a Japanese artform of doll-making through crochet or knitting, “in Amigurumi it is essentially the same or similar stitches, like just two, three stitches that you have to know. And it’s all basically forming a 3D figure,” says Vaishnavi.

With a three-month deadline to get her crochet toys ready, Vaishnavi decided to utilise the power of the Internet. She reached out to several crochet artists on Instagram who came to her rescue, “a friend of mine, who I met through Instagram, taught me the basic stitches of Amigurumi.”

Once she got a hang of the basics, she took to YouTube and books to learn patterns, “I couldn’t get myself to stop. For literally three months, I didn’t do anything else but crochet,” says Vaishnavi.

Once Vaishnavi got a hang of the basics, she took to YouTube and books to learn patterns

Once Vaishnavi got a hang of the basics, she took to YouTube and books to learn patterns
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

From making a caterpillar to now making a Ganesha doll the size of a one-year-old, the thread artist’s crochet journey documented in @aslii_yarn_story has come a long way.

Delhi-based Indian crochet artist Sheela Bajaj who sells her creations on Instagram from the handle @caughtcrafthanded is 77. Sheela who has been crocheting all her life for family and close friends started her own crochet business during the lockdown with the help of her granddaughter Yukti Bajaj. “All I have to do is make the products, my granddaughter handles the business,” says the proud grandmother.

“We were not expecting it to grow this much,” says Yukti who has now expanded the business to include crochet work done by other grandmothers from their neighbourhood in Delhi and outside the city. “Children are lovely and when I make things for them, it is automatically with lots of love,” adds Sheela with an affectionate smile and a gleam in her eye.

Her joy is visible on her Instagram reels, which is probably what attracts a lot of young artists to her page. “Many people ask us for patterns of particular products and if we can make YouTube tutorials,” says Yukti.

What’s common amongst all these crochet-artists seems to be the joy of creating something with just a yarn and a hook, all while finding a community online to share this joy. While my rabbit-hole didn’t lead me to Wonderland, it did show me that there is a whole-bunch of people out there creating their own wonderlands, one chain stitch at a time.

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