Junior Andy Caroni is hooked on crocheting


Andy Caroni spends more money on yarn than gas. 

If you told pre-quarantine Andy where their allowance was going, they would probably tell themself to get their priorities straight. Even as a young child, Andy’s grandmother tried to impart knitting knowledge upon them, but they were too stubborn to learn. 

During the quarantine of 2020, like every other teen, Andy was scrolling through Tik Tok. They stumbled across a video about the trending temperature blankets, and they said to themself, “I’m going to make one of those.” So, they went to Walmart and bought their first crochet hook and yarn. 

“And I spent like five hours straight trying to figure out how to do it myself without a video because I had more pride than that,” Caroni said. “But then I gave up. I watched the video and that’s how I started.”

Prior to the pandemic, Caroni was never really an artistic person, but during quarantine, a plethora of creative content found its way to Caroni during COVID-19 through arts and crafts. 

“Instead of focusing on the terrible state of the world, people were going online and making and doing tutorials and ‘crochet with me’ sessions,” Caroni said.

A few of Caroni’s favorite crocheted pieces are shown above, such as a cropped sweater inspired by Phoebe Bridger’s Stranger in the Alps. (Photos courtesy of Andy Caroni)

While crocheting was a phase for much of the world, Caroni stayed firmly committed to the hobby because of the simplicity and serenity of the activity. Each simple movement of Caroni’s hands contributes to a bigger piece. Small, yet deliberate motions along the woven fibers:






“It’s very relaxing, especially when you get in the mood,” Caroni said. “I kind of compare it to a runner’s high. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get focused on it and you have to pay attention to it. It’s not like watching TV where you can just turn it on and look at it; you actually do have to look at the design you’re making. But once you get into a flow, you’re just enjoying the experience rather than focusing.”

Caroni truly understands what being “in the zone” means and the value of focusing on what is at hand. They noticed how modern hustle culture has created a generation of multi-taskers. People often watch a movie, scroll through Tik Tok on their phones, bake a frozen pizza in the oven all at the same time and call it productive. 

“I think that hustle culture has made people think that they have to constantly be doing something, producing something, doing homework or studying,” Caroni said. “Otherwise, they think, ‘I’m not productive. I’m not good.’ And so, crocheting [helps] me get out of that toxic mindset and realize, ‘Hey… I don’t have to be doing a million different things at once. I can sit down for an hour and just relax for a bit and shut up my mind.’” 

“It’s a kind of passive attention where you don’t have to be doing calculations. You just have to know how to weave the yarn.”

— Andy Caroni

Caroni takes solace in that hour each day with their hook and yarnforgetting about a world of tests, projects and scholarships for a time. They concentrate on the soft feel of the yarn in their hands and the cool metal of the hook.

“It’s a kind of passive attention where you don’t have to be doing calculations,” said Caroni. “You just have to know how to weave the yarn.”

Caroni fell for the initial charm of crocheting and quickly got wrapped up in it (pun intended). However, Caroni felt the honeymoon stage coming to an end when their grandmother inspired a shift towards larger projects. Their grandmother lived a difficult life in Brazil where crocheting was not a luxury but a means for survival.

“She would go to nursing classes all day, take the two-hour bus home, and she’d crochet all that time. After getting home she had two daughters at the time, and she would do her motherly duties, and crochet items to sell on campus. So, she was always, always working. I think that’s inspiring to me,” Caroni said. “The fact that not only is it her passion, but it’s also a necessity. The fact that I can just choose to go to Michael’s and crochet some pom poms for my friends shows how different my world is from hers.”

Caroni graduated from small pom poms to Harry Styles cardigans to sprawling quilts, until they decided to share crocheting with others and start the Yarn Ninjas Club at CVHS. As yarn grew into a bigger part of Caroni’s life, it began making bigger impacts.

Harry Styles inspired cardigan by Caroni. (Photo courtesy of Andy Caroni)

Any teenager who’s bored enough can find a new hobby, but Caroni found the will to stick with it to improve their mental health in the long run. Learning lessons of discipline from their grandmother led them to take a bigger step and accomplish what no other teenager has: deleting Tik Tok. 

“I deleted it, but it’s been very difficult for me,” Caroni said. “Sometimes I’ll be on my phone and then I’ll scroll to the section where Tik Tok was…, and it’s scary to me just how addicted I’ve gotten. I’m not even thinking about it. Now that I’ve deleted Tik Tok, it’s been very good for my mental health. I’ve been able to actually do homework. Before I would go home and think, ‘Okay, 2 Tik Toks,’ and we all know how that goes. Now I’ve been able to say, ‘Okay, I’ll do my pre-calc homework.’ Then, I’ll take a five-minute break where I’m crocheting instead.”

There are two words that can describe a CVHS student: procrastinator and perfectionist. Through deleting Tik Tok, Caroni took it upon themself to create an alternative to procrastination, and countless messy scarves taught them to provide space for the acceptance of mistakes. 

“When something goes horribly wrong, you can’t always laugh it off, which is very frustrating. When you have this creative outlet where something goes wrong, and it’s not for a grade, and it’s not due by midnight, it’s not something you have a constant worry for. When you crochet and make a mistake, you can just undo it,” Caroni said.

Caroni may say that they stumbled upon an unlikely fuzzy ball of life lessons, but it was their hard work and commitment that improved their life. 

“Crocheting not only changes your life, but also the way you go about things. The way you go about relieving stress, the way you go about navigating your relationships. If you find that you are stressed out one day and go home, and crochet. It just resets your day.”