SHAH ALAM: During the pandemic, many people amused themselves at home by learning peculiar things. Remember the Dalgona Coffee craze?
Others learnt to play musical instruments, improve their cooking skills or master a new language.
Tee Sue Jean, now 29, decided to pick up tufting, a form of embroidery that uses a craft gun to shoot yarn through a fabric screen to produce a pattern of your design.
Traditional hand tufting has been used for ages in the making of carpets, but the invention of the tufting gun and the lockdowns associated with the pandemic, propelled the craft to general popularity through social media.
The younger generation in particular was eager to make patterned rugs or wall decorations to call their own.
FMT Lifestyle recently visited Tee’s shop in Shah Alam, called Tuft Space, and chatted with her about this trend.
“In 2021,” she said, “I came across tufting and looked everywhere for workshops to learn it but I couldn’t find any. So, I resorted to watching tutorial videos online.”
At the time, she was working in e-commerce and had a hectic work schedule. She said she found tufting to be a calming and therapeutic hobby. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that she decided to quit her job six months after starting Tuft Space.
According to her, it doesn’t take long to learn the craft although mastering it can take a while.
“As with many crafts and hobbies, it takes a lot of trial and error. I had to test the thickness and density of the yarns used and to determine the best options.”
There are several steps involved in completing a rug of your own at Tee’s workshop. For example, you first have to draw your design on a canvas with the help of a projector. Then choose from the 80 yarn colours available before starting to tuft.
“It would typically take around two to four hours, depending on the sizes we are making,” Tee said. “After ensuring everything is completed nicely, a special carpet glue is used at the back of the tufted piece to secure the yarn. It is dried with a hot air gun.”
After the drying, the piece is taken out and is cut and trimmed to get rid of excess yarn. You are then allowed to take your finished handiwork home.
“There are plenty of other small steps and touching-up included, but that’s the overall big picture,” Tee said.
The workshop’s target participants are mostly teenagers and young adults, but some bring their parents in as well.
“You’d be surprised to hear that most parents are actually quite good at it, particularly the moms, as most of them are already familiar with threads and sewing.”
The shop also caters to corporate teambuilding events, private birthday parties and bridal showers.
If you are male, fret not over whether this is too feminine a hobby. Tee said plenty of guys go to the workshop without their partners to make their own rugs.
“Actually, this is quite a male dominated field overseas as the tufting gun can be quite heavy and hard to handle if you’re not used to it.”
Of course, it can be a time-consuming hobby as well. The long hours taken to complete a piece can deter some people, but the reward is satisfying. What is better as a conversation starter than receiving a compliment on your rug and replying with, “Thanks, I made it myself”?
No 46-1, Jalan Eco Ardence C U12/36C,
Eco Ardence Seksyen,
U12 Shah Alam,
40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
Opening hours: 12pm-8pm daily
Contact: 010-278 2378