February 25, 2022 | LIFE| By Carlee Castillo
Crochet was once a hobby reserved for grandmothers, an activity cemented in 1970s psychedelic florals and lacy vintage doilies. However, following nearly two years spent in pandemic-induced lockdown, crochet has made a youthful resurgence.
The origins of crochet are fuzzy, as the skill was and remains reliant on word of mouth. Scholars believe the craft to have developed from traditional practices in China, Western Asia, and Northern Africa.
In the early 1800s, crochet became popularized in Europe. The first European books of crochet patterns were circulated in 1824, including the works of Annie Porter and Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere, and craft makers began copying designs verbatim. Vintage lacy crochet designs transformed in the 1960s-1970s. The expressive, bohemian movement of the era was translated into crochet creations, including three-dimensional figures, clothing, tapestries, and rugs.
In our modern age, COVID-19 has forced many to spend an unprecedented amount of time isolated without activity. This hiatus from the business of life has inspired many to take up new hobbies, including the art of crochet.
Not only is this renaissance apparent on an individual level, but it has also infiltrated the world of high fashion. Launched in early 2021, the brand Diotima seeks to reinvigorate crochet and emphasizes its multifaceted cultural histories. Its founder, Rachel Scott, grew up in Jamaica. For her, 2020 was a time of deep reflection. Scott’s experience with lockdown inspired her to collaborate with a group of female crochet artisans in Jamaica.
“In Jamaica, crochet is a craft that is still passed down generationally, often from grandmothers and mothers to daughters,” Scott said during an interview with Vogue. “In the Rasta community, in particular, there is a special reverence for crochet hats and belts… I am always thinking about what fashion is from a Jamaican perspective.”
British popstar Harry Styles also enlightened his younger demographic to the world of crochet. After dawning an infamous rainbow patchwork cardigan designed by JW Anderson, Styles’ fans dashed to craft stores rather than shopping centers in order to recreate his look. Due to this crochet craze, Jonathan Anderson, the fashion brand’s founder, eventually shared the pattern on Instagram, making his approximately $1,500 design much more accessible to a larger audience.
Not only does crochet make expensive designer items more attainable, but it also serves as a means for meditation.
Colorado College crocheter and student Liv Bouthot ’23, explains that, as an individual with sensory issues, “crochet is super relaxing for me, and one of the only types of meditation that works for [her].” She was first introduced to the craft through a CC Arts and Crafts adjunct with recent-alumna Molly Lovett. Bouthot’s initial love for crochet continued through quarantine, which lead to the creation of her own crochet Instagram business @crochet.goodies_.
“Making people art also brings me joy,” Bouthot says. Her care and tender attention to detail is reflected in her intricate designs. When supported locally, crochet has the power to unify communities amidst isolation. It allows for relaxation and joy.
Whether you feel inclined to attempt crochet or purchase specially designed pieces, the reemerging craft is sure to stitch itself right into your heart.