a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a patterned fabric by looping yarn with a hooked needle.“a crochet hook”
I was chatting with a friend today on Facebook, and she commented that she needed to get better at crochet, to which I quipped back, being goofy but encouraging, “It’s only loops!”
That’s not really fair of me, though, to dismiss it like that, even in a joke. Those loops, which start out as a simple chain then build to make just about any shape you can imagine – those loops hold magic.
Did you know that crochet is one of the few fiber arts that cannot be truly replicated by machine? Knitting, weaving, felting – all those have been industrialized. But if you buy a crocheted sweater or shawl, that passed through human hands.
In many of the mass produced objects of fast fashion, there are numerous items that label themselves “crochet.” Some even boldly use the label “crochet lace.” However, many of these objects do not even feature a single trim of crochet whatsoever. They are entirely machine made. The average consumer is shepherded into ignorance in many of the aspects of manufacture. Why? Because of the allure of the “handmade look.”
Some folks know this about me, but I’m betting a lot of my readers don’t. I started out as a crocheter. My mom is a whiz-bang crocheter and she taught me when I was little, maybe all of 6 or 7 years old. I wasn’t good right away, but by the time I was 8 or 9 I was making tiny freeform animals with steel hooks and baby yarn, so I’d say that I’d absorbed it pretty well! I never made anything large like Mom does – she’s a veteran of the afghan-making craze of the seventies and eighties – but I am very absorbed still with freeform shapes and small items.
I had put down crochet for a while, during the high tumultuous energy of my twenties and thirties, but I hadn’t forgotten how. When I picked up knitting, I momentarily considered just going to crochet, but I wanted to learn a new skill, and knitting was really hot and hip at that moment too. [it was the era of Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook and I wanted IN.]
I picked up knitting pretty easily but it has never come naturally to me like crochet does – I always have to remind myself which side is the right or wrong side if I’m not doing stockinette, and I spent the first couple of years knitting twisted stitches without knowing it, because I often flip things with my hands, like using scissors. I think that might be a side effect of growing up with a leftie and being fairly ambidextrous myself, but who knows? So when I have been away from knitting for a while, I have to go back every time and give myself a remedial course on where the needles go and other basics. It’s not ingrained like crochet is.
Not to say that my crochet is perfect! But I have a lot more confidence there. And that’s what counts. It’s just loops!
One of the things I love the most about crochet is that it plays so nicely with my handspun yarn, especially my spindle spun oddities. I often have all these small balls of yarn in various textures, and though I do enjoy using them in my Arcanity necklaces and small weavings, I am always exploring other ways to play with them. Crochet allows me to easily double up yarn for color/texture combos, and to pretty seamlessly switch yarns out – I also can make up for the particular weirdnesses that can happen with a thick/thin texture or features like locks or neps that I would prefer to have stand out in a finished project. It’s easy to take away or add a few stitches to make up for any wonkiness in a way that would be totally noticeable in knitting. And I can change my mind on the fly so much easier in crochet!
Interested in learning crochet? I always, always recommend Craftyminx’s free Crochet School series to my friends.
Already a crocheter? What are you making? I wanna seeeeeee! That’s half the fun, the sharing!
Thanks for reading, beautiful people. Look for more crocheted podlets, bowls, pod bowls, and who knows what else, soon!