Showing posts with label knitting vs. crocheting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knitting vs. crocheting. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Case for Crochet

On May 8th, this little Franklin Habit essay, "Play Nice", in which he implored knitters and crocheters to give each other's crafts a chance, appeared on the Lion Brand site. It was widely shared on Facebook and generally and emphatically agreed with.

I agree with Habit. Although I don't take the schism between the Needles and the Hooks (which I've written about before) very seriously myself. As anyone who follows this blog, and especially this blog's Facebook page will know, I often take swipes at crochet, but I hope everyone realizes my potshots are tongue-in-cheek, a little harmless indulgence in geeky rivalry between camps (see also: Mac vs. PC; Star Wars vs. Star Trek; the Addams Family vs. the Munsters). That is, mostly.

I can crochet quite well, but don't much like to. I remember with gritted teeth the time my sister begged me to crochet her an afghan in a particular pattern she loved. She'd helpfully bought and insisted on loaning the pattern to me, and also supplied me with colour samples of the three colours she wanted me to choose among for the project: dusty rose, sage green, and eggplant purple. I finally gave in and made the afghan for her. Crocheting that damn afghan took me seven of the longest weeks of my life; it went in its own plastic bag and travelled with me everywhere I went. Finally it was done and I gave it to her for Christmas. And then about four months later my sister redecorated her room at my parents' place in reds and browns, which meant that the now discordant dusty rose afghan got put away out of sight for years. I wanted to throttle her.

But although I don't especially care to crochet, although I make fun of the many ugly granny square afghans and bikinis out there, I don't hesitate to pick up a crochet hook if there is a particular crochet pattern or hybrid knitting and crochet pattern I really want to make. And I'm astounded by those who love the one craft and simply won't even attempt the other. In one internet conversation I had on the subject, I was taken aback when one commenter said she'd actually thrown out a pattern she had paid for and very much wanted to make because it called for some crocheted edgings. I mean, what the hell?! It would take just a few minutes to learn to do that edging! Would she have thrown out a pattern because it called for some knitting technique she'd never previously done?

When you're doing creative and/or skilled work, it's never a good idea to arbitrarily decide you don't like or can't learn to do something without having given it a real try. Be bistitchual. Actually, be trystitchual: try anything once, twice if you like it, and after that, hey, who's counting? Knitting and crocheting both have their different limitations, and if you understand how to do both you'll always have one to turn to when the other craft isn't up to the job at hand. Knitting generally drapes better than crochet, which tends to be stiff, but that very stiffness can turn into an asset when you want to stabilize a knitted piece with a firm crocheted picot edging. Crocheting also lends itself to free form or purely decorative pieces such as flowers better than knitting does. Case in point: this post of mine about handmade yarn bouquets, the best examples of which were all crocheted. And as a bonus, if you have crochet hooks in the house they do a killer job of cleaning hair out of drains.

Although there may be a lot of ugly crocheted things out there, there are wonderful crochet designs too. On this blog's Facebook page, I frequently post crocheted items from my newsfeed because although I like to keep my blog focused on knitting most of the time, they are simply too stunning not to share with my readers. Irish crochet especially awes me. I intend to learn it at some point, as I have an idea for a lace-trimmed top I'd like to make.

I know many if not most readers of this blog do know how to both knit and crochet so I'm preaching to the choir, but for those hold outs who need to be convinced, I've said my piece and sprinkled it with some illustrations of just how wonderful crochet can be. I mean, if Gustav Klimt had been a crocheter, he would have crocheted the afghan above. And now let's all join forces and beat up on the scrapbookers, who richly deserve it!

I'm kidding. That is, mostly.

Friday, 21 December 2012

You Say Knitting, I Say Crochet, Let's Call the Whole Thing a Sweater

Holy Taco has put together a slideshow of 25 of the most disturbing knitting projects ever (do take care when and where you view this, as much of it is NSFW).

The slideshow is even more disturbing than the Holy Taco editors think, though not for the reasons they imagine, because I don't think there are more than nine actual knitting projects in that slideshow at the most. The other items are crocheted, or consist of just strands or skeins of yarn. This kind of thing is common, however. Whenever I do any googling involving the word "knitting", at least 20% of the search results items are crocheted.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Needles vs. Hooks

Crafters may look like a close-knit group, but the reality is that there are armed camps within crafting, that knitting and crocheting especially have a Sharks vs. Jets-style rivalry. Knitters and crocheters brandish their respective tools and claim their craft is easier to learn or more versatile, while those who are bistitchual remain determinedly on the fence. The mockumentary Wooly Bullies, which appears above, explores the animus between the Needles and the Hooks. Part of the problem seems to be that while knitters contend with the "old lady’s pastime" stereotype, crocheters are up against the even more negative "old lady's pastime of making granny square and toilet paper cosies" stigma.

Kim Werker, founder of Crochet Me, expounds on some interesting theories in this 2006 interview in which she's asked about the conflict between knitting and crochet. Crochet is much younger than knitting. Knitting is believed to have been invented circa the eighth century, but crochet doesn't seem to have existed much before 1800. Werker says crocheting first came to North America as an easy and affordable way for poor and working class women to make lace, while knitting was the established craft. Moreover, knitting machines were invented over 200 years ago, but to this day crocheted items can only be produced by hand. Knitting's advantage of mass production may have resulted in knitting becoming a respected and staple means of clothing production, while crocheting repeatedly goes in and out of fashion, with corresponding fluctuations in its popularity. It’s surprising and thought-provoking to speculate that this half-joking, half-real schism between knitters and crocheters may have its roots in classist attitudes from 200 years ago.

My own guess is that the schism between knitters and crocheters has a fairly simple explanation. Which may be that most people who knit and/or crochet love the one craft and don't care much for the other (and it seems that generally they prefer the one they learned first), and it's easy for them to get adamant about it, especially on the internet, where everybody tends to get adamant about everything.