Srinagar: Six years ago, 23-year-old Nazar Nasir struggled with an abnormally fast heartbeat and bouts of anxiety. That was until he saw his sister practicing the craft of crocheting. Captivated, he tried his hand at the knitting technique. Not only was he hooked to the craft but it also became a source of healing.
Crocheting is a knitting art form that involves one hook and yarn. It can be done by hand or machine and involves creating stitches, and loops of yarn in a row, either flat or round. Gradually, Nazar, a resident of Lal Bazar in the old city, learnt the nuances of crocheting through extensive tutorials on Youtube. It didn’t take him long to master the craft.
Today, his hobby has turned into a successful crocheting business through which Nazar sells custom-made handcrafted accessories. He has four employees working under him and more than six thousand followers on his Instagram handle—Knotty Crafts.
“It all started in 2016 when the valley was shut down for six months. I had nothing much to do at that time. Moreover, the frequent bouts of fast heart rate made it worse for me. I suffer from Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), a type of abnormal heart rhythm and it added to my anxiety levels. That was when, I got introduced to the craft and there was no looking back,” Nazar told in a freewheeling chat with The Kashmir Monitor.
He said the crochet stitches help him unwind and de-stress himself. “Interestingly, the frequency of my PSVT attacks has stopped to a great extent after pursuing this craft. Most importantly, the joy of seeing something beautiful develop out of colorful threads gives me a sense of purpose and motivates me to better my craft every day,” Nazar said, who is pursuing his master’s in English literature from Amar Singh College, Srinagar.
He recalls browsing a few crochet-making videos on social media in 2017 and thought of giving it a shot. “I faced those initial hiccups and discouraging comments from people around. They told me it’s more of a “female-oriented craft” and I should not do it. However, I dismissed this preconceived notion and continued to do my research on crochet making. Soon, I began experimenting with basic patterns and made some customized knits for friends and family. When they saw my work, they instantly liked and appreciated it,” he said.
The appreciation motivated him to showcase his work to the public at large. “I opened an Instagram handle–Knotty Crafts–where I displayed some of my handmade products. To my surprise, I received a bulk of orders.”
Nazar specializes in a range of handcrafted products, including sling bags, plant hangers, frames, dolls, sweaters, accessories, beanies, socks, gloves, and home decor items. They are priced between 500 and 7000 rupees depending upon the client’s requirements. On average, he receives around 20-30 orders in a month. The orders are usually placed through direct messages on his Instagram handle.
The youngster has plans of expanding his business in the future by opening a full-fledged studio and a website. “Crochet is not my side hustle. I plan to take it as a full job after finishing my master’s. Currently, I have hired four female employees from my locality. They assist me in completing the orders. I usually dedicate four hours daily to crocheting. On off days, it can extend up to 10 hours,” he said.
He believes crocheting should be enjoyed and relished as an art. “Kashmir has always been known for its rich handicrafts and art form. We should be proud to contribute to it in some way. I am glad, I am doing my bit and will continue to strive.”