BACK IN FASHION

Rebirth of an old Art and Craft skill

Aside from being a source of income, crocheting helps improve memory, concentration and creativity

In Summary

• Crocheting faded out of school curricular and is today taught in TVETs

• The yarn evolution by younger women is fuelling its renaissance

Balls of yarn arranged in crocheter Becky Adeli's shelf
Balls of yarn arranged in crocheter Becky Adeli's shelf
Image: VALERIE NDETO

Crocheting was arguably invented by Arabs in Morocco before it spread to other countries like Cameroon.

The Moroccan Berber shepherds traditionally made slip-stitched hats as they tended their flocks of goats and sheep. Today, both men and women crochet hats in Morocco.

In many parts of the country, crochet has been a household item, from seat covers to baby clothes.

 
 

It was part of skills taught in the traditional setup along with pottery, craftsmanship and music.

In most communities, grandmothers were tasked with teaching the younger girls these skills.

Crocheting was later introduced in the school curriculum in the 6.4.2.4 curriculum in the 80s in Art and Craft, but it was later listed as an optional subject in the 8.4.4 system.

Today, the crochet is taught in Technical, Vocational and Education Training (TVET) colleges, and with technology and new trends, the art is reemerging with popularity among the younger generation.

Crochet is the art of using a hooked needle and either yarn or thread to create a product like a sweater, scarf or beanie. Needlework done with the crochet needle is, however, different from knitting, which encompasses the use of two needles.

HOW IT HELPS

Aside from being a source of income, crocheting experts said the skill helps improve memory, concentration span and develop creativity.

 
 

“Crochet has been for me a way to channel my energy. It helps me relax when I am stressed, it is my go-to anger management technique,” Becky Adeli, 21, said.

According to Craft Yarn Council’s 2014 tracking study survey, 68 per cent of the 3,178 participants said crocheting helps improve their mood, while 93 per cent said it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Some 23 per cent of the interviewed group said it helps increase and retain their memory, while 43 per cent said it boosts their concentration.

More than half the group said they had developed a sense of confidence from crocheting, while a quarter said they have become better at solving problems after dealing with the challenges crocheting provides.

The future of crocheting will more or less be dependent on technology. This is likely due to the emergence of 3D printers, the possibilities of what these printers could do to the emerging fashion hand-knit industry.

Similarly, since there is an upward trend in popularity fuelled by the yarn evolution by younger women, we are looking at more documentation of the art of crochet, especially in the African setting, since that is still very much undocumented.

Employment opportunities are also nigh for crochet artists, with the art taking up space in the fashion industry and making strides to revolutionise our view of what crochet means.

Edited by T Jalio