PEOPLE | Crocheting a colourful career

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The 2023 National Women’s Expo participant Diama Vuruta with the crocheted spaghetti dress which won her the Best Dress award at the Expo’s Fashion Show. Picture: MERI RADINIBARAVI

CROCHETING was not something Diama Vuruta learnt from skilled experts.
Instead, the knowledge she acquired was from watching videos on You-Tube and social media.
The Fiji Times caught up with the Kadavu native promoting her artwork at the 2023 Fiji National Women’s Expo in the Vodafone Arena in Suva last week.
What caught people’s attention was an attractive crocheted basket displayed on her table.
She even had an equally colourful crocheted dress on exhibit.
“I’ve been doing this for a number of years now, and I’ve always been crocheting ibe vakabati (a special pandanus mat with several layers of kula). I’ve won a number of awards in past expos,” Diama said.
“I’ve also used my crocheting skills to add designs inside traditional iTaukei bures.
“After a number of years I finally decided to enter fashion shows.”
To make that fashion target a reality she decided to use her crocheting skills to design a sun dress with spagetti straps to showcase at this year’s expo fashion show.
“It never crossed my mind that I’d win the first prize.”
She said she was very grateful to be given the opportunity to showcase her talent and skills and get recognition for it.
“Women are blessed with talents and skills but it’s all about getting the right connection and choosing the correct pathway.
“It took me about three weeks to complete both the dress and the basket. This is also the first-time for me to do a basket.
“This expo has really taught me to continue learning and upskilling myself in crocheting so that I could make other things.”
Diama said, growing up, she would watch her aunt crocheting mats. It wasn’t until she got married that she decided to learn the art. So she began teaching herself the basics of chain stitching.
“I won a prize with the very first vakabati that I crocheted, and I continued to upskill myself at home, through videos online.
“Over the years, I taught and challenged myself to do something different every time.
“For this dress, I began crocheting it in a boat on my way here for the Methodist Church annual conference.
“When I returned home after the conference, I worked on it and completed it after a few days.
“This is a free-sized dress, so I was delighted when it perfectly fitted the model who wore it at the fashion show.”
Diama’s advice to women is to use their skills and knowledge.
“It isn’t hard to do if you put your mind to it. The internet has a lot of information. Imagine all the possibilities and the things you could learn. At the end of the day you’re doing this for yourself and your family.”