A Good Yarn: COVID-19 lockdown spawns interest for knitting

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | August 17 

 The COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled an interest in a lot of creative arts and craft even as people realize that they have more time to spare for these pursuits during the lockdown. 

Knitting in particular has become an increasing trend even as a shopkeeper of a wool store in Kohima reveals that there has been a double rise in the demand for wool.Pre-COVID, he says, “only elderly mothers would walk in, but I notice that these days, a lot of young women and girls come and buy wool. You can make out that many of them are first timers.”

Every year, Ketoulenuo Solo and a few girls would gather and knit, crochet and sew as part of a Christmas project but the young mother of two children also confesses that the lockdown has undoubtedly intensified her love for knitting. “I bought so many yarns during the lockdown and can’t stop buying still,” she divulges.

“Now, it’s just three of us knitting together because of the situation”, she states while maintaining that “it’s a lot more fun when you sit together and knit as a group.” In the last few months of lockdown, Solo has bought different colours and varieties of wool worth Rs.20,000 while elucidating that it was also because “the next time you go to the wool shop, it would have run out of the particular wool you are looking for.”

She, along with her two companions have been engrossing in knitting sweaters exclusively and together, they have managed to knit about 50 adult sweaters from last week of March when the first total lockdown was enforced in Kohima.

“We are fulfilling orders, but also knitting some for the sheer love of it”, she says and further highlights that there has also been demand for sweaters for children and men.

Meanwhile, Theyievino Whiso, a young teacher expresses, “thanks to the lockdown, if anything good came out of it, then it would be my planters and crochet dolls.” Although the interest has always been there, she says, “I wouldn’t have started at all if not for the lockdown because I just never found the time before.”

She recalls how she learnt the basics from her mother, who used to knit their sweaters, and then took the help of YouTube. In a span of one month, she has done a total of about 30 crochet dolls. “I have this thing in mind—to write a paper and wanted to experiment something with children to see if their contact with dolls and stuff like this enhances their speech, if it stimulates their speech better via pictures and videos or through something they can touch it”, she puts across. Whiso teaches phonetics at Kohima Science College Jotsoma (Autonomous).

Observing that crochet scares a lot of people, she maintains that “I am also still learning but if I were to be honest, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple and easy, and I just want people to know that crochet is not that hard. And for those interested in it, all the materials are easily available in the market,” she says.

Using the crochet doll experiment with her niece, she also observes that it is so much better than via videos or pictures. “It is much better when she is able to touch them, and I feel this would also be ideal for specially abled children,” she further notes.

Crochet dolls, she points out are a little time consuming but it is unmistakably an accomplishment to crochet one doll a day, which she has been doing. With a growing demand for her finished products, she has also started taking in orders.

Prior to taking up crochet, she made cement planters for her mother who loves flowers, with the sole ambition to replace the polybags that carry her flowers in the Poly House. “I managed to fill my mother’s poly house and I’ve taken a short break from planters,” she puts across.

Ten year old girl, Somirin Raikhan has also learnt crocheting during this lockdown and has been zealously engaging herself in it. “I have finished more than a dozen crochet coasters and have gifted some to my grandmother and aunties, and I am still making some more,” she delightedly expresses.