Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloods vs. Crips

It seems like people who are interested in yarn work gravitate either toward knitting or crochet. It seems rare that people seem equally drawn to both. Some truly talented knitters simply DO NOT crochet and some talented crocheters DO NOT knit. It's like this great line separating the two.

Because I was in the crochet gang, I always felt a little suspicious and jealous of the knitting crew. They seemed more hip with their bamboo needles and luxury yarns. The craft itself seemed more difficult, with strange (to me) circular needles, cable needles, and challenging-looking double-pointed needles. And the patterns available to knitters just seemed more aesthetically pleasing. The sweaters and even little dresses looked more modern. I had a hard time shaking the feeling that crochet can very easily take a turn for the worse and wind up looking like something from the sixties (and not in a good way!) or like something an old lady with blue hair named Mildred would make.

I know I'm not the only person who has a conscious or unconscious prejudice about crochet. Apparently crocheters wasting yarn is one "myth" that is sometimes bandied about. I read a funny blog post where a woman scientifically set out to disprove this theory. She bascially discovered that based on the stitch, crocheters and knitters use close to the same amounts of yarn. She did, however, learn that the stockinette stitch in knitting uses the least amount of yarn. This is handy information if you have a limited amount of yarn to work with.

Anyway, this year I decided that instead of being jealous or looking longingly at patterns that I would love to make, but were FOR KNITTERS ONLY, CROCHETERS NEED NOT APPLY, I would just set to work learning how to knit once and for all. I wanted to bridge the gap between the two rival factions. And it does the mind good to learn new skills, right?

Things have been progressing pretty well, I'm happy to report. Paraphernalia that I used to find scary, I'm now excited to use. I haven't tried cables yet, but I'm looking forward to trying them soon.

As I embark on this new journey of discovery (I'm like the Christopher Columbus of Yarn) though, I seem to be looking back at crochet and am constantly struck by its versatility.  Crochet is known for it's sculptural quality (don't believe me? look at this guy who was featured on Martha Stewart last year.  He even crocheted a urinal, for the love of God!) Even with my limited experience, I was able to add a little collar to Baby C's sweater just by visually looking at it, or the stem/ vines to a pumpkin hat, etc. It seems like it's easy to add to crochet. Much easier than I think it would be with knitting. Crochet also requires fewer tools, and is easier to maneuver. No matter what pattern you're following, you're only using that one hook. I think crocheting lends itself more easily to larger projects too, like a blanket or throw, mostly b/c the item is not attached to any needles/ hook. Therefore, you have more freedom of movement/ don't have the weight of the work on your hook. I also love crochet for the various granny square patterns. The creative possibilities seem endless when it comes to crochet throws.

I have this newfound respect for crochet. I've finally come to realize that the grass is not always greener, so to speak. I am excited to be learning something new, and happy to be trying patterns that I couldn't use before. However, I've belatedly come to see that there are limitations to knitting (for me) as well as limitations to crochet. I think most knitters/ crocheters should try to use both where needed. Each craft offers its own unique opportunities and obstacles. And that's my diplomatic take on it.

***Obviously, the above hat has nothing to do with this post. It's just one more hat (yes, even I am getting tired of hats!) that I made this week for my godmother who was going to a baby shower. I am currently working on three knitting projects; one is a hat and the other two are baby sweaters. I'm not abandoning the crochet gang--I'm just focusing more attention on knitting right now.


  1. You should know that the kids are CONSTANTLY being complimented on how cute they look in the hats by plenty of strangers when we are "out and about." I will be sending you a pic of little S posing in the hat for me after brushing her teeth... I told you she rarely takes it off! LOL!


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