Sustainable Crafts: Crochet
Here at Whering, we love slow and sustainable fashion, so what’s not to love about crocheting? Obviously it depends on how the animal is treated, but generally speaking, wool and yarn are sustainable materials as they biodegrade a lot faster than polyester and nylon. Yarn is often made up of old materials, like jeans and used cotton, it even sometimes contains recycled plastic fibres, making it a highly sustainable alternative to what most of our clothes are made from. All in all, crocheting is a fun, stylish, cute, and sustainable option.
It’s safe to say lockdown led many people to discover new talents and hobbies. Emma (@emmadoescrochet) is no exception. She started crocheting in the early stages of the pandemic; when Emma realised it was more than just a hobby she started selling her creations.
When did you start learning how to crochet?
I started learning during the first lockdown, around April 2020. My mum is Polish, so I grew up watching her knit and crochet different things, and I’ve always wanted to pick up the skill- lockdown finally gave me the disposable time to do it.
As you hadn’t crocheted before, how did you go about beginning to learn?
One of my friends, Tereza, makes loads of her own clothes, so she’s quite skilled in sewing, as well as other crafty skills- she started teaching me how to crochet. Alongside that, I also used a lot of youtube tutorials to learn different patterns when I was starting out, but now I just kind of make the patterns myself as I go.
Note: Patterns are written instructions on how to make something: they tell you what stitches to use, when to make a new row, when to switch colour, etc. and they’re written in a specific code. That’s why youtube tutorials are a lot more accessible for beginners, as opposed to trying to figure out patterns.
How long were you learning for before you could consider yourself ‘good’?
In my opinion, ‘good’ is subjective, and going from that, I’ve kind of always thought I was good. I never let myself compare myself or my skills to anyone else, and every time I’ve managed to create a finished product, I’ve considered it an achievement which I am proud of.
Food for thought: Crocheting helped save lives in the Irish famine. The Ursuline sisters established multiple crocheting centers around Ireland, providing jobs for lots of Irish people making crochet textiles that were sold to rich English aristocrats. The profits helped many families around Ireland get back on their feet.
What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out?
My advice would be to watch a lot of youtube tutorials, there is definitely a lot for beginners out there, and they make it really simple; I mean we’ve all been there with the DIY makeup tutorials. Also, I would definitely say don’t be afraid to undo your work and start over. It’s rarely going to be perfect right off the bat. Don’t set expirations for yourself because one day you’ll look back on your first creations with fondness.
What has been the best thing about learning this new skill?
I think the best thing is that I now control what I make, and in that way I think it’s quite sustainable because if there’s something I want, I can envision It and make it myself as opposed to going out, spending time and money to buy it from a store. I also think that by making your own designs, you kind of predispose them to last you a lot longer, than an item I would usually buy, because it holds a more significant value. You begin to understand and appreciate the value behind the production process of any item of clothing or accessory, which we often don’t consider when the only thing we see is the ready-made clothes in a store.
And finally, what are your favourite 3 items you’ve made and why?
- Checkerboard bag
Because it’s the first thing I was able to make myself without following a preset pattern. It’s something that’s quite easy to make for my friends (as I’ve done for gifts), and it’s definitely a fan favourite. It makes me happy to see my friends so happy with something I’ve made them myself.
- A sweater plant pot I made for my plant Horton
I bought a massive plant from a market sale, but of course it didn’t come with the pretty pot. Instead of buying something to cover up the brown pot it came in, I ended up just crocheting a sweater-like thing to slot it into. As well as saving me money, it made me realise the power I have to consider creating things I need as opposed to buying them.
- Halter top
Even though I haven’t worn it that much (thanks British weather) it was something that was really fun to make, and I think it’s definitely been the most technically challenging.
Thank you to Emma for taking the time to tell us about her beaut designs and shed some light on the art of crocheting ✨ Check out her Instagram @emmadoescrochet to see more of her designs and follow her work.