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Students, art teacher show appreciation for crochet, believe it creates relaxation and joy amidst a hectic life

Megan Xia

For senior Robyn Viall, crochet is a yarn-based art form that has acted as an outlet to relieve stress. 

“Crochet is a form of fiber arts using yarn and a hook. It gets confused with knitting, except (crocheting) cannot be replicated by a machine,” Viall said. “I think when I’m stressed, I do learn towards crochet. It’s a very continuous (movement) that I can do while doing other things. So I could listen to music or watch TV, it makes use of my time even when I’m stressed, so I can get a cool project out of it.”

Sophomore Taylor Zhuang said crochet has given her something to do when she’s bored. 

“I feel like I often crochet when I have nothing else to do. It gives me something to do with my hands, and the tactile nature of it serves as (a) really effective distraction from any worries I may have,” Zhuang said. “I started crocheting during the pandemic and it was a good way to make use of my time.”

Viall and Zhuang aren’t alone in their appreciation for crocheting as a stress-reliever. According to a 2020 study conducted by the University of Wollongong, 89.5% of people who crochet reported increased calmness, 82% reported being happier and 74.7% reported feeling more useful/accomplished after crocheting. 

Learning Crochet

Art teacher Christopher Kuhne said teaching crochet can be difficult at times but is overall very rewarding. 

“It’s a little difficult to (teach crochet) when you have a class full of 30 kids because a lot of (crochet) happens to be very hands-on. It’s also more difficult than (something like) embroidery, where you can just watch something and see how it works. Typically, you have to have someone watch you and tell you exactly where to go or what you’re doing wrong,” Kuhne said. “What I try to do is create really clear step-by-step videos on Canvas so students can follow along. Some students may need more in-person help and I try my best to assist them as well. Despite the fact that (crochet) is difficult, crochet skills are usually the ones people consistently enjoy the most.”

Viall said she agreed with Kuhne, and said crochet is confusing in the beginning, but after a little research, people usually tend to get the hang of it.
“When I was just starting out, it took me a while to grasp how to crochet. But then I went on YouTube and I learned how to do a slip stitch, which is the starting loop to put on the hoop to start, then you learn chains and build off of those,” Viall said. “I also learned the three basic stitches called single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet. Then, I learned other processes like ring circles to make spheres and plushies. Learning the basic techniques can be hard, but once you understand them, it’s easy to incorporate them into more complicated projects.” 

Junior Maggie Conti works on a crochet project during the Crochet Club meeting on Mar 19, 2024. “I really enjoy crocheting because I can create different things for my friends or make creative items that are more practical which I will use in daily life,” said Conti. (Zoe Tu)

Social Media’s Influence 

Zhuang said although crochet can be hard to learn, people still want to explore it because of how popular it has gotten on social media. 

“Since crochet is a pretty complicated type of yarn creation, it can be hard to be good at it immediately. I’ve been crocheting for a couple years and I still make mistakes every now and then. I feel like even though crochet is hard, the recent explosion of crochet on social media has motivated more people to try it out,” Zhuang said. “I know TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram have a lot of patterns and make crochet seem really interesting. Personally, I kept crocheting even when it got hard because everyone on social media seemed to figure it out and create cute pieces, so I figured I could too.”

Kuhne said he thinks crochet has blown up on social media due to its calming nature and the fact that it’s a tangible and oftentimes wearable art form. 

“Especially over Covid-19, people in lockdown were trying to find a hobby and crochet became a relaxing thing for people to try out. On my Instagram, the Woobles kits (beginner-friendly crochet kits) are constantly advertised. So I think people seeing stuff like that and then wanting to learn how to make that has been a huge deal. TikTok (and) Pinterest, those have all been ways that people have seen crochet and it’s how I kind of first saw projects that inspired me and then that’s what makes people want to come to crochet club or take a fiber arts class,” Kuhne said. “I feel like the projects people see really draw them into crochet. A lot of people want to make summer tops, that’s a super popular project. (Also), people see the little bees or fake plants they can crochet and have hanging from their rearview-mirror, those are all things that people are excited about making and being able to know how to make.”

Giving Back Through Crochet

Kuhne said he sponsored the crochet club because he cares greatly about the art form and how it can give back to the community and people in his life.

“Honestly, crochet and knitting are two of the biggest joys in my life. To be able to teach that to anyone who wants to learn is exciting to me. Also, being able to sell things that we’ve created and use the money for charity, which is something (Crochet Club) has done this year, is something I’m very proud of. It’s cool to use something everyone’s really passionate about and people really like, for a good cause,” Kuhne said. “Crochet has been a really good thing for mental health. I find that it’s nice to feel centered and feel very at peace, especially when things get kind of hectic, it’s nice to have something where you’re seeing slow progress. I also love doing it because you can create sweaters for people you love or make things people really enjoy, which is my favorite thing to do.” 

In light of National Crochet Month, Zhuang said she hopes everyone sticks with crocheting even when it gets hard and tries out other styles of fiber arts. 

Zhuang said, “Crocheting has helped me a lot with stress and I hope people don’t quit too early. It seems hard in the beginning, but if you keep going, you end up with pieces you can be proud of and use in daily life. Crochet and other fiber arts are really underappreciated and I think more people would benefit from crochet and its soothing ability.”

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