Life&Style writer Polly Watton reflects on how crochet is making a comeback – from the health benefits to how you can utilise it to disrupt fast fashion
When visiting my friend at Uni of Sheffield last month, I did not quite expect to be sitting outside in the sun crocheting for two days – but it was the most relaxing two days I have had in a while. I had bought my crochet project to do on the bus up to Sheffield, without any knowledge that she had also gotten into the relaxing and sustainable hobby of crocheting. So, after we had gotten over the joy of the fact that we were both crocheting jumpers, we sat together for many hours in the sun, double crochet stitching and enjoying nature.
Crocheting is becoming increasingly popular amongst young people, coming at a time of an arguable ‘craft renaissance.’ TikTok creator @bumblingbaggins stated in her video, ‘Just a reminder that all ‘old lady crafts’ were once lifetime crafts until they stopped teaching us.’ She further explained in the caption, ‘it’s only an old lady craft now because marketing taught them to value store bought over homemade and they stopped sharing skills that have been passed for generations. Now we have to pick them back up the hard way.’ As this creator recognises, young people are picking up skills that their parents and grandparents learnt by default as young children. Crocheting is the skill that I have seen most commonly, but knitting and embroidering are also making a comeback.
I got into crochet a few months back, and it has been one of my favourite hobbies that I have learnt. Although at first, it is certainly frustrating to get the hang of – once you get into the flow it is actually quite relaxing. Not only does crocheting reduce cortisol levels and lowers blood pressure, which in turn reduces feelings of stress and anxiety, but it actually also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30 to 50 percent, by building and strengthening neural pathways in the brain. Health benefits aside, crocheting is extremely rewarding.
While fast fashion consumption becomes more and more worrying, seeing young people designing and making their own garments is inspiring and optimistic. Cheap crochet pieces from fast fashion stores are particularly worrying, as crochet cannot be made by a machine and requires someone to hand make it; this means if it is sold cheaply, then the worker would get paid a small amount in comparison to their meticulous attention to detail and long hours spent on the item. So, making your own crochet items is not only a beneficial past-time and rewarding, but it is an extremely sustainable option.
Although fast fashion can sometimes be temptingly cheap, it definitely works out cheaper to crochet some staple pieces. You can splash out on more expensive wool; however, I have found wool from places like ‘The Works’ and other independent stores in and around Birmingham to be just fine, working out at around £2-£3 a ball. Considering a jumper takes around 3 balls of wool to make, it would end up costing around £10. And crochet pieces do not have to be boring either; I am currently making a lilac tote bag and a green flower jumper, but the possibilities are endless, and you can get as creative as you want. Some popular TikTok creators who have impressed me are @mrsmoonheaven for quick projects, and @henripurnell and @studio.lieselottie for more long-term projects.
If you decide to take up crochet, and perhaps become a master at it – you can also consider selling your garments. With the cost-of-living crisis getting increasingly worse, not only does making your own crochet clothes save money, but it can also make money. There is a reason that crocheting and other similar crafts have been an integral part of people’s lives for centuries. So, if you have some free time, why not get started?
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