The members of Crochet Along are hooked on yarn

Saraswathi Vasudevan, Priya Ayappan, Vineetha Nair, Sankari Manikandan and Priyanka Vasudevan   | Photo Credit: Liza George

A group of women are hard at work. The women, members of Crochet Along (CAL), are busy making products for an upcoming Crochet Fest. The festival will feature bookmarks, hairbands, doilies, table runners, cushion covers, dream catchers...all made from yarn.

CAL was formed last month when former mathematics teacher-turned-art and craft instructor Saraswathi Vasudevan posted an invite on a WhatsApp group she had formed. “I have been holding crochet classes for the last three years and have taught those as young as nine to those in their mid-80s. Some of them are so passionate and talented that I felt I had to create a platform for them to display their work. I mentioned in the invite that I was planning a Crochet Fest and asked if anyone was interested.” Four of her students responded.

Priya Ayappan is one of the four. A freelance search engine optimisation analyst, Priya learnt the art of crocheting from Saraswathi two years ago. She joined the class on an impulse. “I soon found the needle and yarn therapeutic. I had to keep the passion on hold, however, when I ran out of places at home to display my works,” she laughs. The fete, she says, comes as a relief as not only does she get to rekindle her passion, but also she does not have to hunt for a space to store the products.

A member of CAL crocheting a product

A member of CAL crocheting a product   | Photo Credit: Liza George

Vineetha Nair, preparing for the Public Service Commission examination, says her grandmother beamed at her when she showed her a crochet hairband she had completed. “My grandmother told me that her mother was a crochet enthusiast too,” says Vineetha, who is attracted to the creativity of the craft. “You can make a wide range of items from yarn, right from headphone wraps and pencil toppers to crochet jewellery and hair clips.”

Saraswathi, who runs Tejas Art and Craft recalls, how crochet was a much practised art in Delhi during her school days. Her mother, Gomathi Venkatraman, taught her how to crochet from the age of nine.

“In those days, one crocheted the edgings of one’s handkerchief, petticoat and even dupatta oneself. Every girl in Delhi then knew how to crochet. I remember how in various neighbourhoods in Delhi, women would gather at the nearby community hall during winter. They would sit together, gossip over tea, and crochet. It’s sad that such get-togethers are a rarity now. It was a fun way to show off one’s projects, finished and work in progress. We would swap yarn and even patterns and stitches as there was no Internet then and patterns and techniques were not available at the click of a mouse,” says Saraswathi, who holds various art and craft classes at Tejas.

While CAL was started with the purpose of creating a space for crochet craftsmen to showcase their work, Saraswathi hopes it will turn into a weekly gathering of yarn crafters. “I hope to preserve the art of crocheting. Such get-togethers are a fun way to make friends who enjoy crocheting and who also appreciate the time and effort that go into handmade pieces. It’s a good place to share what you’ve learned and learn from others. Sometimes, having someone demonstrate a technique in person is a lot easier than figuring it out on your own with Youtube videos!.”

The Crochet Fest is perhaps a first of its kind in the city. “We have had numerous art and craft exhibitions but none that is dedicated to crochet alone. The festival hopes to educate visitors about the history of crochet, starting from the first ever published public pattern and showcases some vintage crochet pieces, handmade about 50 years ago.” Lekshmi Balachandran, based in Kochi, will be displaying her crocheted bags.

Some of the crocheted products

Some of the crocheted products   | Photo Credit: Liza George

A counter will display some of the items made by women in Narsapur in Andhra Pradesh. “Narsapur is known for its lace-making and we wanted to promote the women behind the craft. We hope to inspire more people to pick up the art of crochet through this exhibition.”

After the fete is over, the women plan to start work on crocheting Christmas ornaments.

Saraswathi hopes to create an amigurumi (crocheted stuffed toy) nativity scene.

The Crochet Fest is at Tejas Art and Craft, Dally’s Apartment, Chalakuzhy Road, Pattom, from July 25 to July 27.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 10:21:10 AM |

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