All We Knit Is Love
Story by Janna Khoo | Photos by Rachel Hoe
Often regarded as an “old people thing”, the intricate art of weaving a masterpiece together with just a hook and some yarn has been lost on young people of today. Defying this common notion towards crocheting is Rachel Hoe Jia Yi, a 29-year-old performer at Universal Studios Singapore.
In tune with her artistic side from a young age, Rachel has always had a knack for crafts. Be it for scrapbooking or card making, she was often seen cutting out magazines, collecting beads and the likes, despite not having taken up a study path pertaining to art.
And while most girls struggled to find space for clothes and beauty products, Rachel revealed that she had trouble with her yarn stash and craft supplies.
“To me, crocheting is more than just a grandmother’s hobby. It has become an essential part of my life since I love to create and make my silly ideas come alive,” she said.
All it took was a spark of curiosity caused by a colleague who crocheted a scarf for her mother, and the rest was history. Now the owner of Little Yarn Friends, a sideline business born from her hobby, Rachel wishes to share, love, impact and bless others.
Armed with her love for adorable trinkets, Rachel fell for the allure of amigurumi – the Japanese art of knitting and crocheting small stuffed animals.
“I do enjoy making scarves, beanies and sweaters, but the chances of wearing these things in sunny Singapore are close to zero, unless I make them for my overseas trips,” she explained.
Each piece is birthed from her thoughts, the things around her and requests made by her friends. Blessed with a powerful imagination in place of spectacular drawing skills, she visualizes her ideas before actualising them.
Rachel has built quite the impressive portfolio over the years, which includes notable works such as Lil’ baby unicorn and Lil’ Singa the lion.
As its name suggests, Lil’ baby unicorn is an endearing plush unicorn, and is her most well received creation to date – many using her tutorial to recreate this for family, friends, charity and more.
Lil’ Singa the lion, on the other hand, is a piece she made along with a simple stop-motion video for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s 91st Birthday, which aired on Channel 5, Channel 8 and Channel News Asia’s news 2 years ago.
However, the self-taught crochet-amigurumi artist revealed that things weren’t always smooth sailing.
“One of my biggest challenges was time management. When I first started Little Yarn Friends, I was really blessed to receive many orders. Since I rarely rejected orders, I ended up having too much on hand until it got a little too overwhelming.”
Striking a balance between her full-time job and managing orders for Little Yarn Friends hasn’t been easy. After taking a breather to regain that balance, Little Yarn Friends is now active again, though Rachel has stopped taking orders from the masses.
Rachel believes that crochet is a therapeutic hobby, which leaves you with a beautiful product. It can also help with training your patience if you’re looking to self-improve.
“It helps me take my mind off the hustle and bustle of life. Especially in a fast paced society like Singapore, it’s good to spend some alone time doing something relaxing," she added.