During the harsh winters of Nebraska, one would usually go and buy the necessary winter accessories like scarves, hats and sweaters. But if you’re like sophomore religious education major Nathan Mena, you would make your own winter accessories, more specifically through crocheting.
Crocheting is the art of making different garments such as scarves or sweaters by looping together yarn with a hooked needle. Crochet differs from knitting in that it uses only one hooked needle instead of two straight needles. The texture and look created varies, too.
“My interest started back in high school when a teacher of mine introduced our class to crocheting and knitting,” he explains. “She would teach us how to knit or crochet while teaching class, and soon everyone caught on and it became an everyday thing.”
Despite three years of crocheting for fun in his spare time, it wasn’t until last winter when Mena thought to sell his handmade creations. “I had a large bag filled with all the things I had made back at home and my mom took it to our church, sold it all and sent me the money. After talking to local craft stores I became inspired to open my Etsy store,” states Mena. Mena’s online Etsy store is called Hooked Adornments.
An Etsy store is a peer-to-peer online store focusing on vintage or handmade goods and supplies. Selling online may look initially appealing, but a lot of preparation and hard work comes with opening an online store.
After making the items, pictures are taken. The actual store has a process for setup, including creating listings of each item that contains the dimensions, materials used and proper instructions of how to take care of the items.
Once posted online, figuring out how to ship to the customer is next. Then the seller is responsible for all communications, transactions and shipment of sold goods.
Mena shares, “I didn’t realize how much work it takes to set up everything, but once it was running it was totally worth it.”
While the number of men knitting or crocheting is still less than females, the number is slowly rising. On campus alone some passionate crafters include James Clague and Gabriel Flechas (who also conveniently work for The Clocktower). “For me, crocheting combines stress relief and being able to pass the time without wasting it,” says Mena. “I have personally never experienced any negative comments about it, but it [the stigma] is still out there.”
Mena recommends having a positive mindset when going into any kind of crafting, regardless of stigma. He concludes, “At first I was a little worried, but people have been supportive of me. If you’re able to make something and you’re having fun while doing it, you shouldn’t worry about what anyone says.”
To see some of Mena’s crocheted creations or contact him about a personal project you have in mind, check out his Etsy store at: www.etsy.com/shop/HookedAdornments
Caroline Guchu is a sophomore studying communication.