Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology Videos World
A Stitch a Day Keeps Your Worries Away; How The COVID-19 Pandemic Led to An Increase in Fibre Arts

The girl is wearing a bright purple cardigan, oversized and stitched meticulously with heavyweight yarn. She’s used careful double-crochet stitches to build the piece, with a row of ribbing around the base and cuffs. It’s a work of art, and more than that, it’s been made by her own two hands over days of hard work.

To her left, was a red beanie, slowly and surely built with thin knitted stitches. Just a few people over, a patchwork sweater is being pulled over a head, its greens and blues melding perfectly with the sky above us.

It seems to be a sea of handmade art around me. Has it always been this way? Has there always been such a passion for the many hours needed to create these fiber creations? Or, am I merely just now noticing others in the community, one I recently joined?

Brought on by the long COVID-19 pandemic-induced days locked in my bedroom, I began crocheting in 2020. I had always wanted to try my hand at fiber art, but it was not until the pandemic that I seriously considered giving it a shot. Inspired by the hundreds of videos I was seeing each day on my TikTok feed of colorful hats and Harry Styles-inspired cardigans, I zipped off to my local craft store and sat down to create my first project. And, it seems, so did the rest of the world.

The pandemic brought on a wave of new crochet and knitting enthusiasts. Across the globe, people turned to fiber art as a way to escape the stress and fear circling them. In 2020, reports from the Guardian showed that there was a 140% increase in new crocheters.

Since the pandemic started, We Are Knitters, a knit kit brand, saw global sales of more than 75%. Their reach greatly increased at the same time, with their Instagram engagement more than doubling between March 12 and 27 of 2020.

John Lewis reported that in August 2020 needle and wool sales rose by 90%. This was likely helped along greatly by the now infamous photos of Tom Daley knitting poolside at the Olympics.

Yet, this is not a new phenomenon. History has shown that uptake in knitting and crocheting in society is a common response to periods of stress and fear. For example, during World War II, citizens sheltering from bomb raids were often seen knitting. As seen below, it was a common way to wait out the raids. Moreover, World War I soldiers were prescribed embroidery therapy upon returning from battle, and World War II established the Victory Knitting campaign, which saw the Red Cross publishing patterns “of mitts for riflemen and stump covers for amputees”. Several times in history, organizations such as the Red Cross have had to request people to stop donating knitted clothing, due to the influx of such items during periods of distress.

Women waiting out a 1940 bomb raid in a London train station. https://www.theatlant

So why does everyone and their dog reach for a needle and yarn when the world is crumbling around outside them? At first glance, it seems a rather avoidant way of reacting to such a situation. However, it is a proven aid for anxiety and fear.

Studies have shown that knitting and crocheting can help with mental health, particularly with stress and anxiety. A study in 2009 that tested the effects of beginning knitting on patients suffering from anorexia nervosa saw enormous results. 74% of its patients experienced less intense fear and thoughts, 74% of patients “reported it had a calming and therapeutic effect” and 53% said it gave pride and satisfaction.

Many of those who began knitting or crocheting during the pandemic claimed similar results. One such person, Julie Eikland, who hails from Norway and is currently studying in Bergen, felt out of control during the early days of the pandemic. Her pursual of crochet began “as a challenge to learn something new” and a way to regain “a sense of power and autonomy.” Yet, long after the pandemic in its strictest form has ended, Eikland has continued her newfound hobby. She believes it has “become a tool to ground me by helping me put my phone away and focus on creating something and has given me a calmness and mindfulness that I haven’t gotten from anything else.”

Much of the community agrees with her, with the shared opinion being that knitting/crocheting decreases stress and produces an enormous sense of well-being. During the pandemic, this hobby allowed people to focus on something that they could control. It allowed all the fear and stress of what was going on to be pushed away for just an hour or two, while you created a tangible object. This sense of control and accomplishment is incredibly beneficial.

Ultimately, the increase in fiber artists seen across the world in response to the pandemic should be no surprise. We are simply following the trends of those before us. I for one, love to see all the handmade projects around as I wander the streets now.

Yet, if you are considering taking up this age-old art form, beware. You will spend hours staring at a tiny piece of wool you somehow cannot manipulate. When you finally get it right you will spend even more hours desperately chasing the end of a project, only to immediately begin another when you finish.

In saying that, there are few feelings better than getting to point to the item of clothing someone just asked about and reply “Oh this? I made it!”

Share This Post On

Tags: #COVID-19 #knitting #crochet


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.