I would like to share my story, my journey from a simple woman who lives in Mumbai to becoming two times Guinness world record holder, an entrepreneur, and a homemaker.
Hi, I am Lalitha Shankar, a mother of three kids, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, and two times Guinness World Record Holder.
My journey with hook and wool started when I was 10. My mother was a Math teacher in a Government School. Being great with numbers, she was equally exceptional in arts. Seeing her, I inculcated an interest in knitting and crochet. I used to sit late at night with just a small light lamp and complete my crochet work. My parents used to scold me, but this is the only thing that lets me be myself and I too enjoy it completely. Wool has always been my only and forever companion.
While growing many people had told me to stop wasting my time on something silly and worthless. They used to mimic me and say, you are not a Grandmother yet to do such things. Only older people do Crochet & Knitting. For a very long time, I stopped this art because I was afraid people would judge me. I was unaware of the talent that I had.
When I was expecting my first child, I once again took the knitting needle in my hand. That’s when I realized how much I had missed it. Yet, I couldn’t continue as being a housewife, I was occupied with my daily chores. Only after my three kids grew up, I came back to the love of my life, my Crochet.
I used to make crochet dresses, tops, sweaters, necklaces for my children. I love seeing them in my creation. Admiring my children’s crochet dress, their friends enquire about the place they can buy it from. It felt so nice that there are people who like wearing handmade dresses. Slowly I started making keychains, earrings, brackets, and other fashion accessories in Crochet. More than selling these, I feel the happiness of seeing people wearing my creations. I never thought I could turn my passion into my profession, my business, my Cool Crochet.
I started Cool Crochet at the age of 50, a venture where I do what I enjoy the most. I started selling my crochet creations online via various social media platforms. Slowly I also began to participate in exhibitions and display my collections there. Apart from Crochet and Knitting, I also have a keen interest in Embroidery, making Kundan Jewellery, Silk Thread Jewellery, and Cooking.
In 2015, I was connected with MICQ (Mother India’s Crochet Queens) and became a part to make World’s largest Crochet Blanket. My husband who doesn’t much like Crochet and Knitting supported and encouraged me to be a part of this World Record. I joined MICQ in May 2015 with all the enthusiasm and passion. In Dec 2015, I lost my husband to a heart attack. This news came like such a shock to me and I completely stopped crocheting. It was my little Daughter, Gayathri who lifted me and boosted my morale, and made me continue my passion. Like they say, to come out of grief, you need to change your mind and do something you love to do. This certainly is true in my case. I not only came out of my grief but also went to Chennai to receive my Guinness World Record Holder Title. And then the very next year, I also received my 2nd Guinness World Record Holder Title for making World’s Longest Crochet Scarf along with other talented artists.
I donated Crochet Caps to an NGO through TATA Group of Companies. I have made Knitting Knocker and donated it to Breast Cancer patients through Saaisha India. Also, during this Covid-19 global pandemic crisis, I made Crochet Mask for all my near and dear ones.
I feel the art of crochet is somewhere vanishing in India. I see a lot of young boys and girls in foreign land indulging in this beautiful art of crocheting. And on the other hand, I see children here in India see this art as a Grandma’s time pass work. So, as a crochet artist, I wish to spread this art form to every Indian household. I started taking online classes with very minimal fees to make people aware of this amazing art called, Crochet. I was overwhelmed with the response I received for the online class. I am proud of all my students who have successfully completed both my Beginner and Advanced Crochet Classes.
I feel so blessed and thankful to God to have given me this opportunity to pursue my passion and come this far in life. I started believing in myself and now I know what I do is Art and not everyone has this talent. Only one thing I would like to say to everyone out there, no matter where your life takes you, don’t forget to listen to your heart. Because it will always guide you to the right path.
Photo credit: Image provided by the storyteller.