If they were giving medals for home economics, Olympian Tom Daley’s knitting and crocheting would probably get one. The 27-year-old British diver made headlines during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics not just for winning gold and bronze medals but also the hearts of many with his crafting skills. An athlete quietly knitting at the bleachers is indeed an adorable sight! It’s more than just a way of passing time until the next competition, though. Tom Daley shared on Instagram that his knitting and crocheting hobby keeps him “sane” amidst all the pressure of being an athlete.
Days before the closing ceremony, he finally unveiled some of his works including a cute cosy pouch for his medal and an impressive cardigan. We never thought that watching the Olympics would inspire us to take up knitting. If you’re like us and are ready to begin your knitting and crocheting journey, start with these beginner-friendly projects before diving into more intricate ones.
First things first, if you’re an absolute beginner (or simply forgot what your home economics teacher taught you back in high school) we recommend that you practice the basics first like how to do a chain. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks and one afternoon session may be more than enough to familiarise yourself with the basics. Once you’re ready to start a crochet project, pick something small and easy like a simple circle coaster for cups. This tutorial starts with an easy chain, which is easier than the usual “magic circle”.
What you need for this: Acrylic or wool yarn (both easy to work with), a 5mm crochet hook, a pair of scissors, a darning needle (a needle with a large eye) and a little bit of patience.
Plant cover (crochet)
Confident enough to try the “magic circle”? Then it’s time to try your hand at making a plant cover. This one uses big stretchy yarn so it’s easier to work with and forgiving with mistakes. A plant cover crochet is basically just an extended, bigger version of the coaster. After you make the circle pad, you need to crochet up to get that “pot shape”. It’s a great way to spruce up your plant collection without spending too much.
What you need for this: A t-shirt yarn, 15mm crochet hook and a removable stitch marker.
Top with tie straps (crochet)
Now that you’re becoming familiar with all the crocheting motions, you can go ahead and choose a project that’s a tiny bit more intricate than coasters such as a simple bandeau top with tie straps. What’s great about this is that it’s a flat pattern so you don’t have to worry too much about the fit. The tie straps are also much easier to make than sleeves so this is a great practice project before you move on to working on cardigans.
What you need for this: A stretchy light yarn (for a good fit), 5mm crochet hook, darning needle and scissors.
It can be argued that crocheting is easier than knitting because you’re working with only one hook. However, you’d still want to learn and master knitting so you can do a lot more designs. An easy knit project that you can start with is the “obligatory” scarf for beginners. There’s a reason why a scarf is the gateway piece for knitting. Once you have mastered the stitches, you’ll just need to do them again and again, keep on going and going until you realise it’s already done. It’s like you’re put in a trance and you wake up with a soft, pretty scarf on your hands.
What you need for this: Two balls of thick yarn, 9mm circular knitting needles (wooden ones have a better grip than metals), scissors, and yarn needle.
Mini purse (knit)
After successfully knitting a scarf, practice more with a mini sling purse. It’s still very easy and follows almost the same stitches as the scarf. The only difference is you need to make a strap for the sling and, if you like, you can even start adding a personal touch and practice mixing colours. You can also sew some beads and other fun accessories.
What you need for this: A medium weight yarn, 5mm knitting needles, a darning needle, scissors, measuring tape and other accessories you’d like to add.
Knitting and crocheting are only challenging in the beginning. Once you get the hang of them, you’d find that they’re a nice hobby you can do to quiet the mind and wind down. No wonder an Olympian like Tom Daley finds these hobbies to be calming. If any of these projects seem too easy for you, you can check out some of the kits Tom Daley uses from stores with international shipping like Wool And The Gang (cardigan) and Lauren Aston Designs (jumper). Enjoy!
(Cover photo from: @madewithlovebytomdaley)
Did you know that Olympians receive “victory diplomas”? Learn about them here.
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