12 Sep 2015

To knit or to crochet? Is that even a question?


I sometimes wonder why I love knitting so much and ignore crochet. I learned how to knit and crochet about the same time in the late 1960s. I probably crocheted as much as I knitted when I was a little girl, but when I came back to making things out of yarn in my mid-30s, it was knitting that drew me in, not crochet.

Ponchos Grandma made

Me (right) with my sister, wearing crocheted ponchos made by Grandma

My grandmother crocheted almost as much as she knitted. She knitted sweaters, and crocheted almost everything else: afghans, pillows, toys, doilies, table cloths, hanky trims, flowers, doll clothes. If it wasn’t a sweater, it seems, it got crocheted.

Stories In Stitches™, for the time being at  least, is about knitting because that’s my first and most intense passion. But I don’t know if it will always be that way. I have a huge queue of crochet patterns on Ravelry. I pin photos of gorgeous crochet projects all the time. And I even buy beautiful crocheted objects at antique stores.

In fact my first book idea was for a collection I called “Crochet for Knitters” and it included projects that combined both knitting and crochet, the way vintage “knitting” books often did in the early part of the twentieth century. The acquisitions editor at my publisher loved the idea and was getting a contract put together for me, when the publisher was bought out by a larger publisher who had been bought by Barnes & Noble. The new bean counters decided that my idea would fall in the cracks between two different markets.

Crochet for Knitters ProposalMaybe there’s something to that. It seems odd to me that local yarn shops cater to the knitting community so much more than the crochet community and big-box crafts stores are the opposite. Is there some sort of secret  Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the two groups that keeps the two crafts separate?

I still have the proposal and looking at it, I’m glad I didn’t do this project at the time. If I ever do come back to it, it will be a very different, and much better, book.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a tiny hand-made book with crochet samples carefully sewn into its pages. I meant to include photos of this, with a few short notes, in Stories In Stitches 2 but I forgot (if you can believe that). I believe knitting is a much oder craft than crochet, although both are new compared to weaving and many other textile arts. But there is a lot we can learn about and be inspired by in the history of crochet as well. 

Crochet Sampler Book

crochet sampler Photo Sep 24, 5 35 17 PM

crochet sampler Photo Sep 24, 5 35 23 PM

This would be a great way to store little samples of tatted or knitted lace edgings as well as circular knitted lace motifs.

So that’s just some rambling. What are your thoughts? Do you knit? Do you crochet? Do you do both?

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5 Responses to To knit or to crochet? Is that even a question?
  1. I learned to crochet and knit at the same time too. As a child, I had little interest in knitting, preferring to crochet instead. As an adult, after not doing either for well over a decade, I rarely crochet.

    I don’t know why I prefer to knit now. I just don’t seem to have the patience for crochet. I get frustrated and bored with it much more quickly.

    I had no idea that it used to be common for the two crafts to be combined. Fascinating.

  2. In some languages there’s not even a separate word for knit and crochet. In Russian, for example it’s “knit with a hook” or “knit with needles”.

  3. I taught myself both knitting and crochet. While I love the look of knitting items, I tend to be very tense when I knit, thereby causing myself wrist pain. I’m also painfully slow at knitting. As I’m writing this out it seems to me that some lessons with an experienced knitter could help me all around.

    All that to say, I spend way more time making crocheted items now.

  4. Do what’s relaxing and fun! There’s no reason to do a craft that makes you feel tense or causes you pain.

  5. My mother taught me to knit, but I don’t remember being taught to crochet. However, she did both. Just after I retired (and I returned to serious knitting), I took a crochet class. The class went well; however, I am not usually inspired by crochet. The patterns that appeal to me are above my skill level and the others sort of look like variations on granny squares (which I really don’t like).

    My advice is–if don’t like it , don’t do it.

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