Last weekend, British Olympic champ Tom Daley made headlines, having been spotted knitting at the stands during the women’s three-meter springboard final in Tokyo — much to the delight of the yarn-loving community. The project he was working on was a tiny sweater for Izzy, a French bulldog who’s quite a celebrity on social media.
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The star athlete took up knitting while in lockdown in London last year. He has since opened an Instagram account dedicated to his newfound hobby — the very aptly named @madewithlovebytomdaley, where he also previously posted a short clip, showing off a tiny pouch he made that protects his first Olympic gold medal from scratches.
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However, Tom was far from finished with his crafty chronicles at the Olympics. On Thursday morning, the decorated competitive diver revealed a new creation — something he calls his “Olympic knit jumper,” which carries several symbolic motifs, including the iconic Olympic rings, the Union Jack, and the word “Tokyo” in kanji. Just brilliant.
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So what is it about knitting and crocheting that even an Olympian would love? Well, Tom claims that the one thing that kept him sane throughout his journey is his “love for knitting, and crochet, and all things stitching” — and crafters (this writer included!) totally get what he means.
Knitting and crocheting, both of which used to have a reputation as granny activities, are now being embraced by people of all ages in need of something that will keep them busy and make them feel productive. Yep, knitting and crocheting are literally for everyone!
Read up as I list down more reasons why you should grab some yarn, hook, and needles to knit or crochet — whichever you prefer — the quarantine away:
Any hobby can cost some money, but, at least, knitting and crocheting are inexpensive. In fact, you can finish a beginner’s project — say, a hat or a scarf — without burning holes in your pockets. Since many physical craft shops are closed during this period, some good places to look for tools and materials to get yourself started are online shopping apps, like Shopee or Lazada, where 500 PHP can go a long way. Of course, as you fall deeper in love with the hobby, you might find yourself purchasing more yarn (oh, beautiful yarn) than necessary, but let’s not talk about that. *nervous laugh*
If you’ve long been looking for a creative outlet but drawing or other conventional visual art just don’t cut it, perhaps, knitting or crocheting will work out for you. There are just so many things you can make from a ball of yarn — household objects, fashion accessories, complete ensembles, the possibilities are endless, you will be surprised!
Increased problem-solving skills and patience
Needless to say, knitting and crocheting require some, if not a lot, of practice, and the entire process of making just about anything can put your patience to a test. You will most likely have to troubleshoot some issues, too, as you go (think skipped stitches or missed counts), which will exercise the analytical part of your brain. These little hurdles might make the supposedly stress-relieving activity sound daunting, but there is no better reward than finishing a project that looks great and fits perfectly!
Being part of a passionate community
There are countless knitting and crocheting groups you can join online, where members are encouraging, helpful, yarn-obsessed, and just downright friendly. Being part of these groups also allows you to pick up hacks and tips from experts that are sure to hone your skills. I personally love interacting and exchanging ideas with fellow crafters, so much so that I feel like I’ve made new friends!
Once you’ve got the hang of the hobby, you might want to take it to the next level and turn it into a business. Now, not everyone would want to make money out of something that de-stresses them, but if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, it could be worth a shot. In case you’re wondering, spray bottle holders and mask straps are some of the best-selling crocheted items at the moment, but wearables, plushies (amigurumi!), and home decor are always in demand.
Perfect side activity
Do you enjoy binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix? Swap reaching out for your go-to high-calorie snacks with some yarn and a hook or needles and stay productive while tuning in to your new favorite show! (I gotta admit, though, it might be hard to catch those subtitles on K-Dramas while working!)
Handmade (and heartfelt!) gifts
When I started crocheting and knitting again, I realized that I’ve completed a handful of projects that I wouldn’t use anyway (I enjoy making hats a bit too much), so I decided to send them out as presents to friends and family, and the smiles in pictures I get in return… simply priceless. With the “-ber” months drawing closer, you can start making gifts in time for the holidays.
Knitting and crocheting are great wellness activities
No kidding here: Knitting and crocheting are good for your health! Not only are they widely acknowledged stress-busters, but they are also excellent pain-relievers! Speaking from experience here — earlier this year, I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition in my pelvic floor, and no amount of medications alleviated my suffering. Adding crocheting and knitting into my treatment plan — which is comprised of physiotherapy, mindfulness, and psychotherapy — made a significant difference in how I feel and manage my daily pain levels. The repetitive nature of these hobbies provided an ideal escape for me and turned my focus into something else other than pain, making my mind and body relax as a result. The best part? I’m currently off all meds.
For more fun quarantine activities, check out this article!