Monday, January 7, 2013

...and speaking of Jocelynn and crochet...

...and speaking of Jocelynn's craft blog in the Detroit News -- let me put in a plug for her column this coming Friday, the 11th, which will feature some talk about crochet (I really do think that crocheters get short shrift in a very large number of  yarn shops nationwide -- some shops that I know of have actually told crochters that they couldn't help them at of which shops has closed mercifully).  But it will also have a slouchy beret pattern that I did up in "Taiyo" by Noro, an interesting blend of cotton, silk, and wool in Noro's famous long color runs.  So look for it.  There's another hat in the s hop -- a rather more classic stocking-type hat with cute chain loop-ys on the top -- very easy to make.  Larry has patterns for both with yarn purchase.

As to crochet:  I started out as a crocheter (and wool tailor).  In my experience and that of many of my friends, crochet got a kind of second-class reputation because of its long association with domestic items -- doilies, cozies, afghans, pillow-case trim, tablecloths, etc.  It was a craft that was passed from grandmother to mother to daughter, often without any reference to patterns.  I vividly recall sitting with my otherwise-not-nice gramdmother working on curtains in her living room -- thread crochet, the kind you do with steel hooks.  

Those days probably have passed for the most part:  Curtains are now very inexpensive.  But I do think that the long association with working-class families, and especially the idea that crochet was something you did to pretty up cheap goods or cheap furnishings (poverty means you don't buy expensive ANYTHING) has marked crochet as de classe.   Those cheap pillowcases from Woolworths!  What you did, of course, was to try to pretty up the things in your house with lace crochet or tatting of some kind. 

Crochet has changed.  It's now possible to make incredibly beautiful garments from crochet in really spectacular yarns.  All you need to do is to look through one issue of Interweave Crochet to get the drift. The idea that only knitting makes nice fabric, that crochet doesn't drape, etc. etc., is simply not true -- often, crochet is done too tightly, or in unflattering stitches, or in cheap, plastic-y yarns.  It's hard to create drape when you're working basically with colored fishing line.  But that age-old association, which I do think is rooted in class differences, persists.   Some of us are tired of it.

I keep repeating the story behind my cardigan (now retired -- too shopworn).  I was in a workshop  at Stitches Midwest a couple of years ago innocently working on some knitting when a dreadful woman across the table loudly announced that crochet might be good for SOMETHING, though she couldn't think what -- maybe only TRIM on knitted things.   I was furious.  When I came home I made a cardigan with a crocheted body and knitted trim.  It won second prize in garments at the Crochet Guild of America annual convention.  Enough said.  


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