When was the last time you had a hobby that wasn’t digital? Besides using technology for work or school, is digital media like social media or movies the first thing you turn to in your free time? Everyone has their own definition of ‘taking a break’ from everyday boredom: from solitary pursuits to more outgoing refreshments, there’s immense value in having an ‘off the clock’ activity to keep busy. But how often are these breaks based on technology?
With our lives bathed in social media and online news at our fingertips, it’s hard to stay away from the inevitable.”doomscrolling” through the mess. However, a revival of the hobby swapped sweeps for stitches: crochet. Unlike knitting, crochet only requires a hook, line and a lot of patience to learn the techniques of the trade. Due to the minimal supplies required, the activity is an accessible venture for novices and veterans alike. A throwback look at a not-so-retro trend puts crochet at the heart of the conversation, bringing brightness to a dark time indoors.
As with most pleasant and unexpected surprises, the crochet trend begins with a curious subject: a cardigan. Specifically, it starts with a colorful cardigan worn by the singing sensation Harry Styles. In February 2020 – before the phrase ‘quarantine trends’ became part of everyday vocabulary – the British pop star wore a patchwork cardigan during a soundcheck for her performance on the “Today Show”. Even if the garment was far from the outfit of the costume which Styles wore for her actual performance, avid fans pored over her comfy cardigan.
As teen vogue remarked how “suitable” the cardigan was for the singer, “the vintage-inspired style features squares in shades of bright green, red, orange and yellow and it’s definitely something towards which Harry would gravitate to.” Soon after, even her fans couldn’t deny how perfect the garment was, to the point that they needed it for themselves. Unbeknownst to the singer, Styles and his sweater”breathed life into the craft’s rise in popularity” and led the way in crochet.
Fast forward to a world teetering through repeated lockdowns and loosened restrictions, and Styles’ cardigan came back into the conversation. Knowing that the iconic cardigan was virtually inaccessible – due to its exorbitant four-digit price – fans took matters into their own hands and have made versions for themselves. TikTok’s platform especially boosted Harry Styles cardigan’s urge to reach new heights. Through the app, users shared their interpretations of how to “make” the gorgeous garment: from self-created patterns and impromptu tutorials, Styles fans were keen to hack the secrets of the sweater . Today, two years after the birth of the trend, the tag “Harry Styles Cardigan Tutorial” surpassed 100 million views on TikTok. It seemed like everyone, crochet lover or not, wanted to try their hand at making the colorful cardigan.
Eventually, the trendy label caught the eye of the designer of the original cardigan, JW Anderson. With the designer so moved by the global creativity surrounding his work, the company released the official downloadable model for the desired sweater. Fans would no longer have to imagine a fake design or learn how to make fakes from TikTok – they could reproduce an exact copy of the cardigan, without waiting for shipping and handling. In a quote from Vogue Business’s interview with TikTok about the phenomenon, the company said: “This is a great example of how the creators of TikTok showcased their crafty skills and expressed their fandom for Harry Styles’ iconic looks.”
Beyond mere entertainment, Styles’ different interpretations of the crochet cardigan stemmed from a dual love for an idol and the need to express that love in something tangible. It turned out that the hook easily met this need because of its ease of handling: with a handful of supplies and a multitude of online guides, anyone can learn to crochet anything. Even the designers behind Styles’ cardigan agreed on the accessibility of their own patterns, stating, “The great thing about this design is that anyone can learn these stitches.”
The trend has also sparked the interest of British diver Tom Daley. When he’s not diving into pools from 10-meter platforms, Daley can be found crocheting and knitting through his social networks. Jumping on the trend, the diver presented his version of the “Harry Styles cardigan” to his beloved TikTok followers. However, the stitches don’t stop there: the Olympian has also returned to the comfortable trade following various pandemic lockdowns. Her outlet above the water caught the attention of fans of her online presence and those on the stands. pictures of Daley crochets on the sidelines of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics quickly went viral, which subsequently increased yarn sales and knitting supplies.
As CNN stated, the “healthy” nature of the crochet trend is mostly favored over other hobbies since “affordability is a top priority, with many garments replicating that would otherwise be well out of their price range”. Seen for the first time through the quick responses to Styles’ sweater and Daley’s own designs, recreating desirable items in budgets closer to home makes crochet accessible to a wider audience.
There is no strict standard that amateurs must meet; the artisan community is just happy to welcome new members who want to assemble in line And off. Since the lust for the yarn was launched from surprising celebrity origins, where has it evolved beyond those fanbases? Scrolling through TikTok’s Crafty Corner, crochet enthusiasts have gone beyond simply replicating Styles’ cardigan or copying Daley’s craft. Yarn crafts and tutorials have grown to meet other creative demands in addition to these passing fads. Although most products from the crochet trend support small businesses, some creations come to life for the simple pleasure of the task.
The crochet trend has proven to be the most endearing among the “quarantine trends” which dominated the time inside. Collection 7 billion views on TikTok and 40 million #hook posts on Instagram, the numbers support the lasting impression of yarn obsession. To reinvent ” at Grandma’s house “ hobby for a 2020s audience brings together old techniques with timely interests. For example, many TikTok crochet accounts are inspired by Japanese craftsmanship. amigurumi figurines, using crochet to make adorably soft animals. While the amigurumi techniques can overlap with crochet, TikTok’s revival of single-needle craftsmanship has developed some rather peculiar fluff. Only on the platform can you find tutorials for a “strawberry cow” Where “chunky dinosaur” plush occupying the same dot-obsessed space. Crocheting isn’t just about the product – cute as it is – but the hobby is enjoyed for the calming process and rare satisfaction of self-production.
What makes the crochet trend particularly lively is its rise in the right place at the right time during the recreation revival. To eliminate the sugar coating, the transformative years following the Covid-19 pandemic reconnected everyone’s relationships to life online. At a time when the digital space has become one of the “safest” places to thrive, it has also become one of the most heartbreaking consumers of attention. Still, taking a step back from the internet is no easy task, due to the growing reliance on technology for some semblance of connection during shutdowns. So how does anyone get a break? As the The BBC reported on the convenience of hobbies like crocheting,” With much of the world facing travel restrictions and needing a break from ‘doomscrolling’ and Netflix, many have turned to hobbies to soothe their exhaustion home professional.”
coining the term “doomscrollingexplains the constant influx of bad news, that the digital hobby is not enough to “de-stress” every day. Since “Millions of people have been forced to find new ways to keep their hands busy,Trying to do this without the crutch of technology has sparked a need for “creative” alternatives, like handmade hobbies. With a little yarn and a lot of time, crafters can subdue their stress in the comfort of crochet. The tactile characteristics of methodically weaving threads together and watching creation come to life physically, add a sense of control to a time that can feel out of control in every aspect.
Putting down the phone and picking up the hook is a sign of release from this media cycle while serving as a picturesque reminder of the healing power of craftsmanship. By placing the tools a person needs to create something literally in the palm of their hands, this action leaves no time to stop for “doomscrolling” or searching for the news. Instead of obstructing one’s attention in a web of items, crafting allows a person to be captivated by a coping mechanism in their physical presence. An undigitized craft emphasizes “cutting out” the noise of the tech world and activities that make everyone smile, without requiring “likes” or “views.”
Thinking back to the cardigan that started the crochet trend, Styles’ original garment is currently housed in the V&A Museum for posterity. With the global influence this sweater has had – from its own fandom to the clever designs that followed – it’s no wonder the original piece should be treated as a “work of art”. However, the crochet urge doesn’t stop at this exhibit: new tutorials for crochet stuffed animals and clothes keep popping up every day. The constant sharing of ideas via TikTok or viral fashion trends also keeps yarn crafts in style all year round. Even though the crochet trend has gained a foothold in social media, it is the aspect of producing such items for oneself that brings it home and into the heart of the individual. By placing the power in the hands of artisans around the world, Crochet brings out the down-to-earth warmth that is lost when attention is immersed in digital clouds. More importantly, having the first and last say in crafting projects offers the least amount of control over anything, in a world where everything can change overnight.