Five things I’ve discovered since taking up crochet

09 Jan 2020

Five things I’ve discovered since taking up crochet
. by Gabriella Wells . 

I started to crochet the summer before last. I had seen a few friends sharing their gorgeous crochet creations on social media and loved everything I saw. There was a friend of mine who would often be sneaking in a few stitches on her latest crochet project while the kids played in the park after school. It looked so satisfying, and I really wanted to have a go myself. So, when this friend offered to host a crochet night to teach her friends who wanted to learn, I jumped at the chance! Eighteen months later and crochet is now very much a part of my life. Dare I admit, that these days I start to feel a little unsettled if I haven't crocheted for a few days?! There are a few things that I’ve learnt since getting hooked (!) which I would like to share with you here.

1. (Re)discovering the joy of creating
I took Art at A-Level and had dabbled in life-drawing classes while at university and just after graduating. I remember feeling really engrossed in whatever I was working on and getting a real sense of satisfaction from drawing or painting. But then my life took the predictable course of work taking over (before the children did), with “art” and “making stuff” being pushed further and further down the never-ending to-do list. Yet creating and being able to say that you’ve made something is just so satisfying and gives you a real sense of accomplishment. It’s thanks to crochet and its accessibility that I’m able to experience that again.

2. Who knew mindfulness could be so productive?
I often crochet at the end of the day since it really helps me to wind down. I also crochet if I’m feeling all out of sorts. It focuses my mind, calms me down, and cheers me up. I had heard of mindfulness (who hasn’t, these days?) and of its benefits but had never given it a try since I didn’t think I’d get on with it. Then a friend, who also crochets, said that she’d been to a crafting show where she’d attended a session on crochet and mindfulness. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me: of course, being totally lost in the moment as you concentrate on each stitch is the very essence of mindfulness. 

3. There’s a whole big world of crochet out there 
When my friend hosted that crochet evening, she taught us how to make a granny square. I was delighted enough with that but little did I know that there’s so, so much more to crochet. The possibilities are endless: blankets (lots of blankets!), clothing, toys, home décor. Not to mention all the different stitches and yarns available (natural, glittery, recycled, hand-dyed). There are crochet-alongs, YouTube channels, yarn festivals; beautiful crochet hooks, ergonomically designed crochet hooks, bamboo crochet hooks... and I want to try it all! According to social media gurus, I’m following way too many people on Instagram in relation to the number of my followers. But I don’t care - I want to immerse myself in as much crochetness as possible!

4. “Oooo...”
“Where did you get those gloves from?” 
“Oh, I made them.” 
“Oooo...”

“Where did you get your pumpkin hats from?” 
“Our mummy made them!” 
“Oooo...”

“Oooo...” is the response I’ve found I invariably get when people hear that I crochet. It seems people think that crochet is some sort of mystical, magical art, when, in fact it’s just a load of beautifully arranged loops. Conversations that follow from the above are usually along the lines of how they might like me to make something for them or for their house in the future. They would like me to bring a little of this crochet magic into their lives.

5. I'm now a part of a tradition
My parents are Italian and I remember my mum crocheting regularly as I was growing up. Crochet is experiencing a big following at the moment but it is very much a resurgence of a long-standing tradition rather than something new. The approach to crochet is what is taking this craft in a new direction. Whereas I’m following patterns and trying out ideas based on information I’ve found online, my mum and other crocheters of her generation will have learnt from each other as it was a part of their culture.

My parents’ hometown proudly displayed a large Christmas tree this festive period which was entirely made from granny squares. It was one of several Italian towns to do so. I like to think that a huge crochet Christmas tree doesn’t come together without there being a strong crochet following in the area. And so, for me personally, it feels good to see that crochet is part of my heritage, a tradition that I’m continuing, and one which hope to pass on to my children. 

I crochet for myself, family, and friends. You can see my work on Instagram via https://www.instagram.com/gabiwells8
 

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