A very important question: what can’t Tom Daley do?
The Olympics, for most, is a lofty, nebulous thing. The honour of attending — let alone reaching the podium — carries the same implausible mysticism as, say, winning an Oscar. Starring on Broadway. Earning Michelin stars. It’s an achievement that’s statistically improbable, reserved for a microscopic portion of humanity that’s somehow managed to whip into shape a heady combination of personal aptitude, grit and sheer will. Not to mention a healthy measure of Lady Luck. A perfect storm.
Despite the ongoing reminder of the pandemic made explicit with every wide-angle pan showing a stadium empty of spectators, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics set the scene for a lot of happiness, too. Hong Kong’s own Cheung Ka-long’s historic win — the city’s first gold medal in a quarter of a century; the first-ever in fencing — roused a city-wide ripple of “Hurrahs!” still sounding to this day. As did swim-star Siobhan Haughey’s double silver wins, also a first for the city, and Hong Kong’s most recent bronze victories courtesy of the women’s table tennis team and Grace Lau for karate.
Another beaming ray of sunshine in a dreary, impossible moment in history? Great Britain’s Tom Daley being a damn good sport. Daley — Olympic gold medalist for synchronised diving, husband, father and all-round heartthrob — adds yet another notch to his laundry list of greats: a very talented knitter.
In yet another instalment of ‘They’re Just Like Us: Celebrity Edition,’ Daley’s enthusiasm for knitting — tirelessly documented at a dedicated Instagram: @madewithlovebytomdaley — is likely borne out of the same restlessness that befell the rest of us intra-pandemic. You know, when you decided it was a good idea to start gardening; tie-dying. Making baking trays of sourdough after sourdough.
But, as expected with a literal Olympian, Daley does it better. His cardigans, dog sweaters and, even, little cat couches are picture-perfect and absolutely worthy of the same crazed fervour we harboured when we all flocked towards ‘How To: Knit’ YouTube videos after Harry Styles wore that patchworked, TikTok-famous JW Anderson cardigan.
Now, for those who think they could be as good as knitting as an Olympian gold medalist — well, the first step is always the hardest. These following kits will help.
Shop: 7 beginner-friendly knit and crochet kits
Wool and the Gang’s Malibu Sweater Kit (Approx. HK$816.50)
Tom Daley himself used this very same pattern from Wool and the Gang. He “[loves] the 70’s vibe of the colours, baggy sleeves and cropped finish,” and, you know what, he’s right. It’s perfect.
Yarn in the Works’ New World Beanie Crochet Kit (HK$550)
For consummate beginners! You cannot go wrong with a hand-knitted beanie; in fact, your ears will thank you come brisk autumnal mornings. Also: great gift.
Stitch & Story’s Pusheen Sloth Knitting Kit (Approx. HK$346)
Capital-A adorable, Sloth — Pusheen’s super-soft friend; also, kind of looks nothing like a sloth — is a perfect starter project. He’s moderately shapeless, conveniently monochromatic (save for his claws and eyes) and just keen to hang. You’d get to say “I made that!” while your friends smile wanly, nod and move on.
The Knitting Room’s The Stripey Big Blanket Kit (HK$710)
What feels better than snuggling under a perfectly cosy blanket? Snuggling under a perfectly cosy blanket you knitted with your own ten fingers. Tell that to whoever you’re knitting this for, too.
Double Yarn Knit’s Muffler 101 Kit (HK$189)
If you’re looking to get stuck in, a fringed, nothing-special scarf is something of a gateway project for amateur knitters. Start here! Then, an entire world of knit designs await.
We Are Knitters’ Simone Cardigan Knitting Kit (HK$1,285)
A thick, chunk-knit cardigan is the sartorial equivalent of a warm bear hug. Naturally. Best paired with a mugful of piping hot cocoa.