“Some people do yoga to relax, I crochet and knit,” says Mirela Moldoveanu .

As we chat, she is busy unravelling the wool from a blanket she had started knitting, not because there is anything wrong with it, but because she “found something better [she] wants to do”.

Mirela (right) is originally from a small town in Romania, called Cumpana. Seven years ago, she, her husband and her son moved to Ireland to work and earn money to finish building their house in Romania.

Now, the house is finished, but they decided to stay working in hospitality in Doolin, Co Clare.

Starting a hobby

Mirela has grown up with people around her being creative with wool.

She says: “My father had a sister who knitted a lot – she did really amazing stuff. Also, when I was really young, about 10 years old, I started to knit socks with my grandmother.”

Mirela also crochets hats and gloves.

Although Mirela was always fond of knitting, she wasn’t too interested in crocheting. It was when a colleague’s wife asked her to join their crocheting meet-ups, that she started this new hobby.

About 10 women used to meet up weekly to crochet together and they helped Mirela to learn the ropes of crocheting.

Sticking with a hobby

It is one thing to start a hobby, but how do you stick with it? Having a group of people doing the same hobby can be helpful to keep it up.

However, Mirela encountered a little hurdle when the pandemic hit and the weekly crochet meetings stopped.

To keep learning, Mirela turned to YouTube crocheting tutorials. She used to copy patterns she saw in videos, hand-writing them into a folder, before tackling the actual crocheting.

She says: “The first thing I ever crocheted were socks. It was a disaster! After some time, I made a big rabbit, which also didn’t turn out that nice. But after that, I started getting better and better.”

The toy fox is definitely a fan favourite.

Mirela found the first year of crocheting the hardest. Whenever something went wrong, she simply did it “again and again and again” until she got it right.

It certainly paid off, as she now crochets toy animals, blankets, jackets, socks and headbands.

She says: “When I started crocheting, I didn’t like it. But now, I can’t stop!”

A hobby that’s part of life

Mirela knits and crochets as often as she can, usually in the mornings after she had coffee and a chance to wake up. She mostly crochets or knits for one to two hours, to relax before work or on a day off.

She says: “Sometimes [when I knit or crochet] I think about my home, my mother, my father and my family. Sometimes I also talk with my boys [husband and son], and in between chats I would tell them to shush, because I need to count.”

Variety is key for Mirela. Sometimes she gets sick of crocheting and then she switches over to knitting for a while.

She always has a few different projects on the go, and at this stage it isn’t only a hobby – it is an integral part of her life.

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