Sheikha al Bahlouli examined the different threads scattered all over her workplace. The well-lit area allowed her to choose the right shade of blue necessary for her to improve on her project. Sheikha is one of the many women in the country who has been smitten by the crochet bug — an art that requires a cloth, a needle and dozens if not hundreds of different threads to come up with what is perhaps mesmerising work of art.
“A well-lit area is necessary as good lighting allows you to inspect the different colour threads and select the right ones for your project,” she shared.
“It is an art that requires a lot of patience and consumes lot of energy. It also causes different kinds of pain — from your back to your wrist. Those who had been doing crochet are aware of these pains,” she added.
A practitioner of the art for four years now, she pointed out that there are several dos and don’ts one have to pay attention to: exercise your fingers to warm them up before beginning a project, stop working every 15 minutes to avoid cramping or experiencing wrist or hand pain, rest your eyes as well to avoid overly straining them and always select a comfortable chair to avoid and shoulder and back pain.
Crochet is a growing trend amongst women in the country today. In ancient times, it used to be a hobby among non-working women to make their time productive. It was also mainly done to sew winter clothes but it has transcended such restriction and at present, crochet has produced countless things such as bedspreads, blankets, clothes, home accessories, toiletries, carpets, accessories, bags and many more.
The main reason why it has gained traction is that one does not need much to get started. To produce any piece of crochet, the producers only need a suitable crochet thread and a needle called a “hook”. The producers can find them from the shops selling sewing tools.
Other than the hook and needle, the other thing needed is a Patron — or a map or template of the piece that needed to be executed. Despite the variety of stitches used in this art, there are five basic stitches that beginners must learn and master: series, sliding, column, filler, stitch half column.
Knowing these five basic stitches will already help the producer come up with aesthetically pleasing products.
It is not difficult to learn this art, shared Iman al Ruwaisdi who has been doing it for three years now. But because some piece of works needs a long time, it is an art that needs patience exactly like any other manual art, she added. She also said it requires speed.
The best place to go is the Internet if one is interested to learn some of the most challenging techniques.
For Iman, what has drawn her into crocheting is that “unlike other art forms, with this one can make many and different things which we use in our daily lives, and it is an excellent alternative to fabric.”
There are some women who have also started monetising on their hobbies. Amal al Mayahi who had been doing crochet for five years now shared she knew a lot of women who do this.
“The number of women interested to do this has been growing in the recent years. Specialised shops have been opened in different parts of the country and the region because of its growing demand and popularity,” she said.
Crochet products need special care to lengthen their survival.
Souad al Tobi, who has experience in this field for about 4 years, explained that it is more appropriate to wash crochet products by hand, with light movement and using cold or lukewarm water to avoid the threads from unravelling.
She also recommends using shampoo to wash it off. After washing crochet products, Al Tobi advised to hang it but cautious of its form as it has the tendency to shrink. She also added that long-term exposure to heat — whether by sun or ironing — result to the product losing its colour and elegance.
Ruqaya al Kindi