If you’ve seen me on campus, I probably crocheted. This semester, I really discovered crocheting as a pastime with something productive, rewarding, and calming. I have generalized anxiety disorder and it makes it difficult for me to focus while my mind is working. Crocheting gives my hands and mind something to focus on that doesn’t spiral. It can even help me to pay attention to what is happening around me, for example in class.
Most people see attention in a certain way: eye contact, sitting still, nodding the head. So not all people respect. For me, I learn best when my hands are active as I am a kinetic learner with fear. Some professors find this behavior disrespectful, which is a long discussion about the expectations of neurodivergent and disabled people. However, I have spoken to some of my professors whom I feel safe with, and most understand when I explain my situation. If you have a learning disability and need additional accommodation, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors for a better classroom experience.
Even if you don’t want to crochet in the classroom, it is still fun to accompany you in your own four walls. I like to crochet while watching TV or attending lectures outside of class, which makes me feel more productive than just sitting and watching. For me, I crochet all the time, no matter where I am or what’s going on around me.
When people on campus see me crocheting, they often react with astonishment, compliments and the statement: “I could never do that”.
I always answer: “It’s easier than it looks!”
Crochet uses a hook that loops the yarn around itself to create chains and patterns. That’s all you need – a hook and some thread. You can find both at your local craft stores. I often go sparingly for cheap yarn for small projects. I found large bags full of random yarn for less than five dollars that I can turn into beautiful gifts. For larger projects, like a blanket, consider buying many skeins of the same yarn, which is easiest to buy out of the box. I keep an eye on Michael’s and Hobby Lobby’s year-round yarn sales which are between 20% and 50%.
I learned the art of crochet completely through YouTube tutorials and some practice on my own. My current process is to find projects on Pinterest, then look up for a tutorial Youtube, and then follow all of the steps. I’ve done this so often that I can now inspire or edit a lot of projects to better suit myself.
First, practice crocheting a rectangle repeatedly. Practice doesn’t solve the wobbly lines right away, but if you recreate the same rectangle a few times you’ll see results: a cleaner, more concise rectangle. The most important thing to practice first is tension, which is how tightly you are holding and hooking your yarn. Having constant tension throughout a project is the most important aspect.
Believe it or not, most things are just a few rectangles crocheted together, like blankets, purses, and some sweaters. Once you have these shapes below, you can learn what is called the magic circle, the stitch that is used to create circular shapes when crocheting. From there, you can make plush toys, mittens, hats, grandma squares, and objectively anything. Amigurumi is a crochet style that forms tight circles that most people use to sew soft toys.
For me, I mostly stick to the simpler projects, but I still crocheted some nice things. My proudest piece would be my Sunflower Grandma Square Bag, consisting of 18 Grandma squares with sunflower shapes in them and a large rectangular piece as a strap. I also designed purses, water bottle holders, a bag (for a game of cards), and more.
I stick with crocheting, which is more muscle memory than anything else, because my motivation for crocheting is how comforting it can be. My favorite hobby is to merge into one show while I endlessly âchain one, steady crochet 25, twist your work, chain one, steady 25, twist your workâ until I have something nice. There is a sense of accomplishment and a physical representation of my time.
I give most of my projects away for free if I don’t want to use them myself. I already gave my mother a Christmas present and I have plans for the future. Sometimes I crochet things that I have no intention of doing, so all I have is a box of finished projects. I could use them as a Christmas present, sell them, or give them away to someone who falls in love with them as I do.
I encourage everyone to try out physical, creative handicrafts, such as crocheting, knitting, painting or the like. It has helped me calm my mind while creating beautiful works of art that can be used for thousands of purposes.