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Baguio City Embraces Crocheting Once Again

In the heart of Baguio City, the charm of the past is reborn as the city warmly embraces a renewed affection for the crocheting trend.

Baguio City embraces a cultural comeback with the rediscovery of crocheting, weaving threads of tradition into the fabric of the city's vibrant identity.

In the bustling high schools of Baguio City during the vibrant decades of the 80s and 90s, a unique cultural phenomenon adorned the schoolyards and classrooms. Students, their backpacks brimming with rolls of colorful threads, proudly displayed their affinity for the delicate arts of knitting and crocheting.

Weaving Threads into Education

In this era, the canvas of education went beyond textbooks and chalkboards. For many, the threads became their creative palette as Technology and Home Economics (TLE) projects mandated the mastery of thread-based craftsmanship. Melanie Aquino, a Baguio native turned nurse in the United Kingdom, fondly reminisces about her high school days, where the click of needles and hooks echoed through classrooms.

While not everyone could boast intricate designs, the mandatory TLE projects were a testament to the widespread influence of knitting and crocheting. Aquino reflects on the camaraderie among her classmates, sharing stories of some who skillfully crafted toppers and table-top sheets, turning their skills into personalized expressions of creativity.

Photo: Bea Jn

A Trendsetting Cardigan and Marbay Memories

As the threads intertwined in school projects, Baguio's fashion scene also felt the impact. Aquino vividly recalls the "cardigan" craze, where wearing this fashionable piece signaled being 'in.' The Marbay shopping area, adjacent to the city market, was a treasure trove of knitted and crocheted apparel. Sellers engaged in their craft while attending to their stalls, turning Marbay into a vibrant hub where fashion met craftsmanship.

In an all-girls school, the possession of cute and colorful needles and hooks became a coveted symbol. Aquino admits to envying those schoolmates who could afford these tools, highlighting the socio-cultural dynamics at play during those times.

Threads of Time Unravel: The Decline

However, like all trends, the fervor for knitting and crocheting gradually waned. The click of needles and hooks faded into the background, and people set aside their once-beloved tools. The advent of technology and changing interests led to a decline in these traditional crafts, leaving the memories of yarn-filled classrooms behind.

A Resurgence Amidst Adversity

Fast forward to the Covid-19 pandemic, a period marked by uncertainty and isolation. Surprisingly, it was during this challenging time that the rhythmic dance of needles and hooks made a comeback. Crocheted items began to resurface, this time finding a new stage in the digital realm - sold and celebrated online.

Photo: Jayla Dionisio-Rondero

The Crochet Renaissance: Susan's Story

In the heart of this revival is Susan Recolosado, a 63-year-old member of the informal group known as the "crochet aunties." For Susan, crocheting is not just a pastime; it's a thread that connects her to the vibrant memories of her youth. Learning the art from her mother during elementary school, Susan's nimble fingers transformed simple lines into intricate designs.

As the Sunday Session road market unfolded, Susan found an avenue to showcase and sell her crocheted creations. What started as a pastime became an economic opportunity, proving that the timeless appeal of handmade crafts could endure even in the digital age.

Crocheting Against Boredom

For Susan and her 20-year-old daughter, Therese, crocheting became a pandemic ally. The craft served as both a creative outlet and a means to alleviate the monotony of lockdown life. As Susan remarks, "The popularity of crocheted items is coming back, and it is good because we used to be popular with this. Our handcrafted items are being bought, no matter how simple our designs are."

Crochet for a Cause

Beyond personal enjoyment and economic gains, Susan's group embraced a spirit of community service. During the pandemic, they donated crocheted bonnets to cancer patients at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. For Susan, it was not just about selling products; it was a way to share a piece of herself with those in need.

Conclusion: Threads that Bind Generations

In retracing the evolution of knitting and crocheting in Baguio City, it becomes evident that these crafts are more than just skills - they are threads that weave through the fabric of education, fashion, and community. As Baguio's heritage sees a revival in the rhythmic dance of needles and hooks, a new generation embraces these timeless arts, ensuring that the cultural tapestry remains vibrant and interconnected across generations. The needles may have paused for a while, but the artistry of Baguio's threads persists, stitching together the past, present, and future.

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