SNOW HILL — As school closed during the early, uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, many students were left with time to fill.
Greene Early College senior Aubrey Coombs was one of those students until she rediscovered an animal crochet kit she had purchased while shopping at Barnes and Noble.
The kit proved more frustrating than fun when first purchased.
“I didn’t like it. I couldn’t do it,” Coombs said.
That changed during the pandemic. With more free time Coombs picked the kit back up.
“One random weekend I was bored. I picked it up and started doing it. It was relatively easy once I looked into it,” Coombs said.
It didn’t take long before she completed a four-inch plush gray elephant using the kit. From there, she continued to create more plush crochet animals including turtles, cows, bears and dinosaurs.
“I just plan to keep doing it because I like doing it a lot,” Coombs said.
“I think it’s just being with crochet you can see what you are doing like build up really fast,” she said. “I like seeing that process and having something physical at the end.”
Her favorite creations is a prince pig she made using her own pattern. The pink pig is adorned with a crown and red cape and stands regally among her other creations.
“With crochet, once you know the basics it all just goes from there. It’s just different patterns,” Coombs said. “Following the pattern is easier but making them yourself feels more rewarding.”
As she progresses, Coombs has been adding other crochet projects to her list of creations. She has made several throw blankets and bags.
Coombs’ love for her newly found hobby gained momentum when she discovered that she could spread joy to those around her because others also enjoyed her creations.
She has given away a number of crochet plushes to her family and friends.
“My mom loves it. She wants me to make stuff for her classroom. She’s a pre-k teacher,” Coombs said.
Coombs is uncertain whether she would have honed her newly acquired skill without the aid of the pandemic and nationwide quarantine and self-isolation efforts.
“Because of the time it takes. I wouldn’t have put the time in to learn it,” Coombs said.
She is thankful she found the hobby and continues with it despite returning to face-to-face classroom instruction.
“These have been stressful times and this gave me something I can sit and focus on. It has been really important through all this,” Coombs said.
Hobbies are important for students, especially during the pandemic said Greene Early College liaison Sharon King.
“I think it’s important for them to find something they are passionate about outside of school, outside of a job and outside of family life. Something that helps them alleviate stress and helps them develop creativity,” King said.