About a week into Covid lockdown 1 I realised my only hobbies were going for coffees with friends and the occasional night out, and Netflix wasn’t really going to cut it when keeping away the boredom. I then invested in animal crossing and played a ridiculous amount of hours. After that I decided to revisit a prior passion of mine…. CRAFTS!! In the past nine months I have retaken to crafts.
The first craft I took up was crochet. This is something I unusually do in the winter months but with more time on my hands now I started on bigger projects. For years I’ve been promising to make my best friend a crochet poncho and this year I finally did it. Using a 8.5mm hook and extra chunky yarn and it took about 3 days after work to complete. Of course I decided to make myself one too because a working in from home poncho was too cool to resist. I love crochet and was taught by my granny and mam but when I’m trying to figure out a pattern or new stitch I will always turn to the internet. There are so so many free resources for crochet online. It’s not an expensive hobby to take up but can be pricey in the long run. A hook will cost about €2-€3 and a cheap ball of acrylic wool can cost around €2-2.50 so you can start learning for under €5. Larger projects can start costing a lot quick. For the two ponchos it cost me €75 for all the wool. It was cheap wool and something we will both cherish forever so it was definitely worth it and I will continue to crochet!
- Here is a video on how to crochet for beginners
- This is a second beginners tutorial, it shows you how to make a granny square and if you keep crocheting a granny square in rounds you’ll get a blanket!
The second craft I took up was knitting. I learnt to knit years ago in secondary school but never got the same satisfaction that I got with crochet. I decided to knit a scarf and it took ages!! It’s not even complete yet and I started over 3 weeks ago. Every time I put the scarf down the needle falls out and I have to rip a full line or try to rethread the needle. I have enjoyed the clicky sound of the needles but I definitely need more practice. Again knitting is relatively cheap to start learning, you could easily find a set of knitting needles lying around your house. There are loads of knitting tutorials online which will help you do anything from cast on to knitting that beautiful jw anderson harry styles cardigan. Some advice I would give though is to reach out to family members and see if anyone knits and ask advice. When I first learnt to knit in secondary school my gran gave me tips and I found out my dad had been great at knitting when he was in secondary school!
- You’ll find a great Step by Step knitting for beginners tutorial and really easy to follow along here.
Then I finally moved onto a craft I haven’t yet tried and that was rug hooking. I don’t know if making rugs is now a trend or my timeline has been warped about the times I looked up tips for rug hooking. Rug hooking uses a mesh rug canvas, a latch hook and wool. The latch hook cost me €4 and the rug canvas for 1m x 1m cost €24 and then I bought various thickness of wool too. I set out to make a wall hanging and so far I have made a 20cm x 20cm one and it looks great! Latch hooking wasn’t difficult to learn but it is time consuming. I bought two hooks when starting and gave one to my mam so we could learn together and I was nice to learn with someone. After we talked about it so much my Aunt became interested and she was an absolute natural and way faster at picking it up then us. I looked online on youtube for tutorials starting but then to instagram for inspiration as to what to make.
- Here is a simple tutorial on how to make a latch hook rug
- You’ll find amazing inspiration for latch hook wall hangings here
The next thing I decided to do was candle making, I love candles and with those lex potts candles being all the rage it ignited a need for more candles in me. It also seemed like it would be a lovely Christmas present from me and my little brother. It cost me €105 to buy all of the materials to start so way more than anything else. This yielded 21 8oz candles. The costs involved were the wicks, the essential oils, the bowl to melt the wax in, the wax itself, the tins to hold the candles and dye for the candles. I did really enjoy doing this with my little brother. it only took us a morning to get some great smelling candles. I did lots of research into melting temperatures for optimum scent throw but it wasn’t too difficult to figure out the rest.
- Here’s a handy tutorial
I have also been spending time painting in watercolour and jelly gauche which has been really nice. I’ve bought a lovely film camera off an online auction house in great conditions and have been learning to use it. I have used plaster bandage to plaster cast my hand into a small ring bowl which only took about 15mins but looks great! During the summer months I also transferred a few of my succulents into an open glass biome which only took an hour and some succulent potting soil. For my next project I would like to make a clay trinket tray. I have worked with clay before so don’t see it being too difficult. Or make some friendship bracelets with my sister.
I would advise anyone interested in getting into crafting to shop local and talk to the people working in the shops. I always chat to the staff in wool shops because they are always so insightful about their crafts. Many wool shops also provide classes and Arran Street East has brilliant ceramic workshops! A payed for class is also a great gift idea
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning new things throughout the course of the year. As much as it has been a difficult year it has been nice to escape through doing something creative. And finding something new to chat with my family about. I would advise everyone to try something new, it’s a great way to unwind and not be sitting absentmindedly binging Netflix shows or spending hours on end on my switch.