I never thought to pick up crochet. Other than a few lessons from my grandmother as a child, the thought didn’t cross my mind. It seemed too complicated, time-consuming, and, indeed, a little dull. So it wasn’t until the dark depths of the first lockdown that I picked up a crochet hook. I was, like most of the country, feeling quite bored, and, having watched almost everything Netflix had to offer, I finally turned to crochet. Armed with only YouTube videos and a single hook, I found myself trying to navigate the world of complex patterns, stitches, and what appeared to be a million different types of wool. Starting with a humble hat, I quickly discovered crochet’s addictive quality. My first few pieces didn’t always go to plan, but pretty soon I found myself completely hooked.
There is no feeling quite like the sense of achievement you get from finishing a crochet project. One of the main reasons I love it is the dedication it requires. Most projects take hours upon hours of work and planning, and, yes, this is a big commitment, but the effort that it requires means that the final product feels all the more satisfying. A jumper that took me almost a month to make may not look as polished as the latest from Zara, but do I love it infinitely more? Of course. I find that the most gratifying pieces are those made for other people. The time and dedication that goes into crocheting makes for the most special of gifts, whether that be a new scarf, a jumper, or even an adorable costume for a furry friend (my poor cat has found himself parading endless little hats and costumes over the years). My favourite gift idea is to crochet a little bouquet of flowers. These last forever and take no time at all, making them the perfect last-minute–but thoughtful!–gift. It isn’t as if the time spent on these projects takes you away from other commitments; quite the contrary, you can crochet on the train, watching TV (or recorded lectures) and even with friends. In fact, my idea of a perfect night-in consists of wine, a little gossip, and crocheting on the sofa. Oxford even has its very own Textile Society, where you can crochet with friends and de-stress from the week’s work.
Particularly at uni, where my mind is so often full of essay stress, the creativity involved in crochet has really helped me take care of my mental health. Sitting down to crochet with a cup of tea and a podcast gives me the creative output I need to relax. The physical movements of my hands while crocheting are, in themselves, therapeutic. They are methodical and deliberate, allowing me to channel all my anxious energy into something productive and positive. Of course, knitting is another similar option; however, especially as a beginner, I found crochet to afford far more freedom for creative expression. Unlike knitting, it is incredibly simple to unravel your work if you make a mistake, allowing you to crochet freehand without a pattern. You can literally be as creative as you like, designing projects as you go: from funky tote bags adorned with cats to a blanket made up of a hundred different granny squares. With crochet, you can really do anything.
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