IU senior Savannah Price started crocheting after Harry Styles wore a knit cardigan in the summer of 2020. It was her first escapade out of quarantine confinement: a trip to Walmart to purchase a crochet hook and yarn.
On Tuesday, three years later, her how-to crochet book, ‘Retro Crochet Style,’ was released.
The book includes instructions on how to create 15 different retro-inspired garments.
“It's so weird to think I wouldn't have had half the time to sit in my room and watch these things and crochet if COVID hadn't happened,” she said.
She said she would watch movies and shows while crocheting, but was especially obsessed with Love Island (UK). What began as a quarantine hobby like making whipped coffee or doing at-home exercise videos became a long-standing passion — and the thing that would make Price a published author at 20-years-old.
Price is majoring in history and gender studies with a fashion design minor, which has helped her design some of her garments and edit the photos in the book. She also founded a knitting club on campus.
“Before I even started crocheting, I was like, ‘I want to find my personal style,’” she said. “So, I found it, so it was also a way for me to explore what garments do I like, what am I drawn to.”
As quarantine gradually lifted and Price moved from Kentucky to Indiana for college, Price continued to crochet gifts for her friends.
She started an Instagram page devoted to the craft named Savannah’s Stitches. With less than 15,000 followers in December 2021, she was contacted by Tamara Grasty, a young adult editor at Page Street Publishing Co. They asked Price if she was interested in having a book published.
By February 2022, Price signed the contract and began creating patterns and crocheting for the book.
Today, she has more than 61,300 followers on Instagram and runs a TikTok, consistently posting instructional and informational videos. Once, Price was even recognized by a cashier at her local JOANN Fabric and Crafts store. She said she’s overwhelmed with the amount of support she receives on social media.
When drafting the book, Price knew she wanted to create something beginner-friendly. After all, she had been a beginner herself less than two years before she signed her book contract.
“I just didn’t want to put skill level in there to turn people away, to make them think, ‘I'm not good enough for this yet.’ when they probably are,” she said. “They just need to maybe learn a few techniques and follow the images.”
Most of the designs in the book are unisex and size-inclusive. It also includes estimations for the amount of yarn needed for each size, from 1 through 9.
“It's just ridiculous,” she said. “The notion that if you are plus sized, you should have to do extra math on top of the pattern that you've already paid so much for.”
Since women’s clothing is notorious for not having a standard size guide, she based her sizes on numbered measurements so people didn’t have to guess whether they’re medium or large.
The book, dedicated to Price’s mother, divides the 15 garment designs with creative titles into three different categories: A Day at the Park, Dressed to the Nines and Keeping the Cold Out. A Day at the Park has spring clothing including skirts, shorts, and overalls. Dressed to the Nines has fancier garments including dresses and a cardigan. In the Keeping the Cold Out section, there are multiple sweaters and a cardigan.
Price said she is best known for her Floweralls pattern, which are crocheted short overalls with flower designs. The book also offers patterns for a Countryside Cardigan, Solar Flares, a Bell Blossom Top and more.
Sticking true to the beginner-friendly description, Price included step by step images, tips and techniques of caring for crocheted garments and terminology that is not too intense for beginners.
“I tried to make it just as easy as possible for anyone, from people who have been doing it for 15 years to people who haven't,” she said.
Price took all of the photographs in the book that don’t include her. She was in about two-thirds of the photos, while her friends modeled the rest of the garments. Most of the photos were taken in Bryan Park in Bloomington.
Rose Schnabel, an IU senior, is a close friend and roommate of Price. She modeled the Daisy Daze Dress in the book. The two met during their senior year of high school and have been roommates for the past four years.
Price photographed each model in her book. Schnabel said behind every photo, Price was throwing out confidence-boosting comments as each model was photographed.
Schnabel said her closet is overflowing with crocheted gifts from Price, from hats to sweaters and cardigans. She said her favorite of Price’s pieces is the Floweralls.
“A lot of the crochet that I see now is more exposed skin and more avant-garde, and I really like Savannah’s traditional retro style,” Schnabel said. “I like that you can adapt it and make it as full coverage or as not as you wanted to.”
Schnabel agrees that the book is very approachable and values size inclusivity.
“I see a lot of comments on Savannah’s posts that are like, “How do I make this for my body?’” Schnabel said. “It's amazing that she can just say, ‘Oh, I have detailed instructions on how to do that and I want anybody to be able to wear my designs.’”
Schnabel said Price is a very considerate friend, always making sure everyone around her is getting what they need. She treats her audience similarly as she asked for advice for the titles of designs through social media.
“I think that people really appreciated that because they felt like their feedback, their voice, was being heard and that's something that she does in daily life too,” Schnabel said.
IU senior Amangul Hydyrova modeled a crocheted cardigan in the book. Hydyrova met Price during their freshman year as Wells Scholars and they’ve been living together since sophomore year. Hydyrova said Price used to crochet during online classes.
The cardigan can be styled with anything, Hydyrova said. She loves each garment she has been gifted but said she feels especially beautiful in the Daisy Daze Dress.