As the college senior that I am, finding time to do anything but schoolwork can be incredibly difficult. I found myself searching for something that I could do when I wasn’t neck-deep in literature readings or pulling my hair out from the pile of essays sitting on my to-do list. Sitting and bingeing Netflix original crime documentaries is only so fun for so long. At some point, no matter how interesting the show was, I just couldn’t help but feel like I was wasting my time. I would find myself feeling even more stressed because I was just sitting there not really doing anything until I went to bed and started over the next day. I wanted and needed a hobby.
So I took some art classes last quarter. Though both were fun classes, they weren’t exactly practically hobbies. Ceramics and throwing clay isn’t something that I can realistically do in my house after a long day of classes and homework. Plus, during my ceramics class, I found that clay really isn’t my medium. It was really just frustrating me more than what doing twelve hours of homework did. My other art class was painting and that was a lot of fun too, but it again wasn’t something I could easily do in the space that I have. When I tried painting at home, my cat was overly involved in the process and could not stay away from the paint on my pallet. So out of the safety and cleanliness of my humble abode, I decided that neither of these would be feasible options for a hobby.
As the new year began, I still had no hobbies. I was waking up in the morning and doing school work virtually until I went to bed. My mental breaks consisted of scrolling through TikTok, Instagram and Twitter for hours. Simply just consuming media because I didn’t know what else to do. One of those mental breaks sparked an interest and the possibility of a new hobby. A TikTok was uploaded sometime at the beginning of the year that was raising awareness about the unethical labor and wages that the fast fashion website Shein uses to create their products by using a top that the creator had made. (Unfortunately with how vast TikTok is, I am unable to find the specific TikTok that I saw, but there are many out there that talk about these same messages, topics and research findings). Just like most college students, I’ve used sites like Shein because it is a quick and cheap option for finding trendy clothes. Saying that, I cannot and will not support their company anymore because they don’t pay their workers fairly. Another TikTok that I saw is a person that sparked so much joy, that I couldn’t help but follow them. @sambarsky is a pattern-free knitter who shares his creative sweaters and what inspired him to knit that piece. In each Tiktok, he is so excited and proud of his work that it’s inspiring. I decided that I wanted to try something with yarn, I wanted to make something.
After feeling inspired by @sambarskey I wanted to try making something with yarn. I talked to my more artsy friends about what they thought about knitting and most of the reviews I got were not that positive. Most people told me that it was difficult to get the hang of and that most of them never finished their first projects. Their sad half-finished scarf had been sitting untouched since the beginning of the pandemic. Luckily, there is more than one way to work with yarn. My mom used to crochet when I was a kid. I remember her sitting there watching the TV after a long day and crocheting to unwind. It was something that she really seemed to enjoy and I know that the afghan she made me is one of my all-time favorite gifts I’ve ever received. Suddenly, it felt like the stars aligned and I found something I could do in my free time.
Let me tell you, I am so happy that I did! I took a trip to my local yarn store, Yarn Folk, and I asked for some help. The incredibly kind owner set me up with two balls of yarn, a hook to match its gauge and a how-to book. Twenty-ish dollars later I was out the door and on my way home to try crocheting out. I got home and read the book, I looked up a YouTube video to get a more visual instruction. It took me one video to understand what I was supposed to be doing. One single fifteen-minute YouTube video and I was able to understand the basic and intro steps to crochet. I tried it out and I absolutely loved it! The first thing that I crocheted was completely unusable. It wasn’t really supposed to be anything other than a “tester”. Even though it wasn’t great or something that even was usable for anything, I was so proud of it. I had no idea how much fun it was going to be and how quickly I was going to catch on. It’s been about two weeks since I started and I am currently working on two different projects. One of them is going to be a striped blanket when it’s finished. It has its flaws and it’s not perfect, but I love it. My other project is a poncho that I am planning on wearing to a festival this summer. I have gotten noticeably better at crocheting in the few weeks that I have been trying it out. It is something that I have fallen in love with and it's something I find very rewarding. As I sit and I binge my Netflix shows after doing hours of homework, I don’t feel bad for being unproductive. I can actively work on something while watching something. It has been a wonderful way of distressing with all of the chaos that is so prevalent in the world. Plus, as I start to crochet clothes, I know that I am doing my part to make the world better. I am doing my part, even if it’s small, to make the world a better place. Crocheting is something that I do almost every day and something that I look forward to doing. It is something that is sparking joy in my life for a number of reasons. Even though it might be a “grannie hobby”, I still think that it is a cheap fun pass time that others should try!