Monday, March 8, 2010

ARE YOU READY FOR A WAR?!?

There was a thread recently on Ravelry asking if crochet is getting more popular on that site.  Apparently, there are quite a few crochet patterns on the New and Popular section cropping up.  Of course, in the thread, there were quite a few crocheters Rah Rah Rahing about the awesomeness that is crochet.  And then you had some knitters who were trying to hide their, "Say it ain't so!" while they ran to double check the New and Popular patterns.  

I think it's a bunch of hooey.  It's quite ridiculous this whole, "Us vs. Them" mentality that crops up between knitters and crocheters.  I giggle to myself when I think about it since I have a very vivid imagination (shocking, I know).  I keep picturing 2 sides of wild-eyed, tangle-haired, fiber wielding women- half carrying pointy sticks and half carrying not-so pointy hooks.  They rush onto the battleground screaming, "For our frrrrreedom!" in heavy Scottish brogues as they flash their cojones to each other by lifting their knitted or crocheted kilts.  There's blood! There's tears! There are even dismembered digestive systems!  However, ultimately, the kilts are the winners.

This was my response to the thread:

A couple of my projects have been recipients of some comments like that (“Wow, I didn’t know you could do that with crochet” or “I would learn crochet just to make that”). Unfortunately, crochet has earned it’s ugly red-headed stepchild reputation (darn the 70’s!!). However, there are some amazing things being done with crochet and some wonderful patterns that are coming out to hopefully bring people over to the dark side….err….to become hookers…..umm…..to try crochet. ;). Not to take away from knitting, but to open up eyes and minds to the different possibilities out there for appeasing this strange and urgent primal need to work and express ourselves with fibers. Whether with hooks or sticks, that’s what it boils down to. It’s all about the fiber.

First off, if you happen to be an ugly red-headed stepchild, then I must say.....sucks to be you!  HA! Secondly, if you've read my blog long enough, you know that I'm a nutritionist and that I'm all about the fiber.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: a clean colon is a happy colon.  However, in this case, I'm talking about a wholly different kind a fiber.  Yummy and good for you all the same.  The fiber that we use- whether acrylic, wool, or some sort of Frankenstein blend of anything that can be made into string- is what is makes us all light headed and breathless.  I don't go into the craft store to stare googly eyed at the crochet hooks.  I go to pet and drool over the yarn and dream about what I can create with it.  FIBER folks. 

I love crocheting. However, it's just by the luck of the draw that I picked up the hook rather than the sticks.  In 2007, at the same time I picked up a "Teach Yourself to Crochet" packet at Walmart, I also picked up a "Teach Yourself to Knit" packet.  For whatever reason, I ripped apart the Crochet one first.  I just connected with it instantaneously and the rest, quite frankly, is history.  Eventually, I did open up the knitting kit and I even tried it out.  (Gasp, shock and horrors!)  I actually knitted a washcloth early last year:



Yes, my friends.  I can both knit AND purl!  And, yes, I do become more awesome by the minute. Granted, my "square" dishcloth does look more rhomboid, but it's a dishcloth nonetheless.     

A few lessons I learned with this dishcloth:
1) Knitting takes for freakin' EVAH to do.  It took me nearly a week to knit that scrawny little thing!  In comparison, it took me nearly a week to crochet this:

BATTLE

1a) Ok, ok.  If I actually took the time needed to master the art of knitting, it probably wouldn't take me so long.  However, I'm extremely impatient.  Extremely.  That's why it made me laugh when folks said I must be so patient to have crocheted my Mario blanket.  No- not patient- just crazily obsessed. Extremely impatient, crazy, and obsessed.  About sums me up.

 2) Knitting makes a really stretchy fabric.  I really like the way this dishcloth feels.  Knitting does make a really nice fabric and is great for making wearables. I truly would like to be able to knit myself a sweater.  However, check 1a again. 

3) Even though most people say that Continental knitting (or "picking") would be easier for crocheters to learn since you hold the yarn in your left hand as you do for crocheting, I could not get the hang of it for anything.  Throwing the yarn seemed so much more of a fit for me.  Goes to show you that most people actually don't know anything and generally just talk out of their butt about everything.

4) If I had the time to practice knitting, I would.  I just have so many crochet projects running through my head and not enough time to get them fleshed out so knitting sits on the back burner.  Also, read 1a again.

I think it's unfortunate that there are some knitters who thumb their noses at crochet.  However, as I said earlier, crochet has not had the best of reputations. When people think of crochet, they usually picture orange, avocado, and yellow granny square or ripple afghans or little old ladies making a plethora of doilies that nobody is going to use.  I am proud to have some projects that have shone a positive light on this wonderful craft.  It's not just for old ladies to make tacky home accessories.  It can be cool and fun and ART.
However, we as crocheters have to do our part to continually show the world the awesomeness of our craft.  Designers need to keep making new and beautiful items that will continue to make people (including knitters) think, "Wow!  I want to learn how to do that!"

ETA: I'm not saying that doilies aren't art, as well.  Have you seen some of those thread crochet projects??  Check this out!


Stop making so many lousy granny square projects in tacky colors!  Use something other than pastels for gifts!  Use colors and textures and designs that may challenge you!  If you make a purse, line it and put attractive handles on it!  The finishing of an object makes all the difference in the world.  I LOVE it when I'm wearing one of my purses and someone asks where I bought it from.  They gasp and just can't believe that it was handmade.  That's the way it should be, folks.  If you find that people don't like your handmade gifts, stop thinking they're being ungrateful and take a cold, hard look at what you're giving them.  Are the colors tacky?  Is the workmanship shoddy?  It doesn't matter if you spent a week making that baby blanket- nobody is going to appreciate a piece of crap no matter how much "love" was put into it.

If you are a beginner, then this does not apply to you.  We all have to start out somewhere.  Look at my knitted dishcloth- a total piece of poo, I know.  Believe me, I have had my fair share of rotten crochet projects, as well. However, as your skills improve, don't just get stuck in the same old row after row of dc projects.  Branch out and try something new!  

I do think that the whole "us vs. them" thing is ridiculous.  However, I am a crocheter and I love my craft.  I don't want someone thumbing their nose at me just because I bring a dull hook into battle.  I want to show them that I can totally kick their arse with my weapon of choice.

How about you?

13 comments:

  1. I am a crocheter and proud of it. I'm working on your #4 because I like being versatile, but knitting is for me right now very time consuming, although I'm determined to get the hang of it. I think we all have to appreciate each craft for what it is and what it does and not do so much comparing. This is often very apparent in yarn shops. In the ones I've visited, I'm usually the only crocheter in there at the time and when I look at yarns, there isn't even suggestions for hook sizes, only needle sizes. But I buy the pretty yarns and go on my merry way.

    Crocheting has taken on a new form lately. The patterns are amazing; designers are doing their part to fight that negative "crochet stigma" and that makes me smile. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree! Every time I go to a knit/crochet group, I bring my crochet projects and everybody is surprised it's crochet. I try to think of something new to bring that way people can see you can do a lot of different things with crochet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My gram taught me how to crochet when I was weeeeeee little. I hated it cause the colors sucked and everything looked tacky. Fast forward 20 some odd years when Wendy stumbled upon your blog and what did she see? THE freaking coolest blanket IN THE WORLD! Mario! H E L L O! So thanks for the Mario blanket and the umph to get to work on my own cool projects! I have dabbled with knitting in the past but I agree it takes me WAY too long to produce something.

    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Libby- exactly!! I completely agree that "we should appreciate each craft for what it is and what it does and not do so much comparing." Brilliantly said. And, yes- there are some amazing designs coming out- crocheters are stepping up to the plate and I think that's awesome!

    Anon- keep representin' my friend. :) I hope to do the same with a new group I'm going to be joining!

    Wendy- yay! I'm glad to hear my blanket has encouraged you to rock your hooks again! Crochet has definitely changed for the better in the last few years. Lets teach our own children and grandchildren how to make gorgeous non-tacky stuff so we can spare them from going through a 20 year crochet drought. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I learned to knit before I could crochet.

    Then knitting took too long. I couldn't handle it.
    Whereas crocheting takes a hour to a week.

    I'm glad I switched.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm a knitter and I love it, however, I have a huge interest in crochet and it's on my todo list of things to learn. I can do granny squares but currently that's it. I see uses for both crafts and I have seen so many crochet patterns that I would LOVE to do. But like you, it comes down to time and patience and the fact that I have way too many knitted projects in my head/on my rav queue to do.
    It IS all about the yarn, the finished projects and the enjoyment of doing your craft. That's all that should matter.
    I'm looking forward to the day when I can say that I can do both crafts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Gege,

    Interesting post. I'm an avid crocheter, thank God. And love it and the results it produces. However, I'd also like to learn and accomplish my knitting skills more. I have put it off, because like yourself. Like to see 'instant' results. But, I find that knitting fabric is very beautiful and love the look.

    I have learned though from another blog that knitting DOES take more time in general, I guess because of those small tedious little stitches that you produce as opposed to crochet stitches .

    About the rivals in the crochet/knitting community. I agree with Libby, there are benefits in BOTH. We can surely(I hope)focus on the more positive aspects of our crafts.

    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your post tugs at my heartstrings! Not because I'm particularly pro-crochet or pro-knitting (I actually learned knitting when I was young from my Paternal Grandmother that has now past, but picked up Crochet this year because I couldn't deny my attraction to it, and found I enjoy it much more... come to find out my great-great maternal grandmother was a hardcore crocheter!) - but because I feel so passionate about fiber art and want to see many more people picking up hooks and/or needles! I can't believe there is such animosity between the to forms when the real issue is getting younger generations to appreciate and practice in either craft that had been passed down generations! And not just to make some crappy gifts, but to make genuinely beautiful handmade art - I think that part of your post hit me the most!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Joon- I wonder how many other knitters have decided to turn in their sticks for hooks b/c of the speed issue. Very interesting....it's so cool that you can do both, though!

    Helen- hopefully we'll both be able to one day be able to do both crafts. When will someone invent 10 more hours in a day??

    Anon- that's why I dislike single crochet so much- so many small stitches that take so long to build up, just like knitting. However, unlike knitting, you don't get the lovely drape of the fabric...well, depending on your yarn and hook size....Worsted weight and an I hook does not a drapey fabric make.

    Leitadala- I think that's what's so awesome about the uprising of so many geek crafts. It is getting younger folks to take up their "weapons" of choice to transform fiber into new and cool things! Down with the crap! Up with the art! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. yup, this.....

    Stop making so many lousy granny square projects in tacky colors! Use something other than pastels for gifts! Use colors and textures and designs that may challenge you! .... The finishing of an object makes all the difference in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My mother taught me to knit when I was about 7 years old. I taught myself crochet (and tatting) out of library books by the time I was 10. Like many others I was put off by the horrors of chunky crochet in the 70s (macrame was similarly mutilated) but now I do both knitting and crocheting depending on what I want to produce and how I feel. Being on Ravelry and getting all the chat and resources for both knitting and crocheting is really great. Having both skills is like being bilingual (it's bi-needual?), just means that you have lots more options for projects.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I see no need for the drama. My mom is a wonderful knitter, and a once in a blue moon crocheter. She taught me to crochet when I was little. She has tried to teach me to knit, at my request, a few times. I get the hang of it, but once I put it down all that info seems to float right out of my head. I am sooo right handed that I'm actually left hand handicapped. lol My left hand just does not want to cooperate! So I've stuck with crochet, and have branched out from the granny squares and ripple blanket.
    My paternal grandmother is a crocheter, and has shared some of her Annie's Crochet Newsletter stash with me. You could always count on a handmade gift from grammie for christmas. I've kept all of em.
    Your Mario stuff is amazing!! And I love love love your bags.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Margaret- tatting, huh? *runs off to google*. I hope to one day be bi-needual, too!

    Alicia- I'm the same way with knitting- once it's down, I can't remember a thing! I actually was trying to pick back up the sticks yesterday and couldn't remember how to cast on. I'm trying a very easy (according to the directions) ripple pattern and keep getting the stitch count wrong! And, I have no idea how to fix a mistake once it's made- crochet is easier to amend, me thinks. ;) Ah well- try, try, try again.....and then whittle the sticks into hooks.

    ReplyDelete