Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Clearing Up Misconceptions About Crochet

When you have such a strong love for your craft it can be fairly irritating when outsiders cling to misconceptions about it. The outsider may be a stranger, a friend, or even a family member. Whether they are simply ignorant, mostly well-meaning, a little jealous, or unfortunately judgmental, some folks have a hard time understanding crochet and the reasons we love it.

What's a crocheter to do when confronted with a difficult social situation? I'm going to take you through a few imaginary conversations that encourage patient, kind, and friendly responses towards those who may need a bit of educating. Believing that others have the best of intentions rather than the worst will help you to be calm and understanding. Note that each common conversation starts out fairly innocuous but may become a bit more rude or assuming as it goes along. Yes, I have had each of these conversations at one time or another :) The non-crocheter's words are italicized.

Scenario 1: "What are you knitting?"
Oh, that's cool. What are you knitting?

Thank you! I'm crocheting a baby blanket for my friend who is expecting.

How long does it take you to knit something like that?

Actually, I'm crocheting the blanket, not knitting it. They are similar, but not the same. It can take quite a while, but I really enjoy it.

Whatever. Knitting, crocheting -- they're the same anyway. It doesn't matter.

Let me show you my hook. In crochet, we use one hook for our work. Knitters use two needles. It seems like you're interested in fiber arts. Have you ever considered learning to crochet or knit yourself? It's a lot of fun!

Scenario 2: "That looks so hard!"
Wow, are you making a hat? That looks so hard.

Yes, I'm crocheting a hat, thanks for noticing! It takes some practice, but it's not especially hard.

I don't know... I could NEVER do that. I'm so bad at making things. 

You'd be surprised! Crochet is pretty accessible and there are awesome YouTube Channels, blogs, and books to help you learn if you're interested. You could even take a class from a local yarn store or craft store. 

Okay, but it probably takes way too much time. I just don't have that kind of time to waste.

I love spending my free time crocheting. It is relaxing and I love making pretty things. Some crochet projects take a lot of time but others are pretty fast!

It still seems like a waste of time to me. Why don't you just buy things in a store instead?

An object feels more special to me when I make it myself rather than buying it. I enjoy the time I spend making special handmade items, so it isn't a waste of time for me. If you'd like to see why I love crochet so much, I could teach you how. 

Still, I just don't have the patience for that.

I can understand that. I like the meditative qualities of crochet. It helps to me improve my patience over time, and I think that's a good thing. 

Scenario 3: "Crochet is for grandmas."
Don't only grandmas crochet? Why are you crocheting when you're so young/a man?

Crochet is for everyone! It's a really fun, creative, and relaxing hobby that anyone can try. Even children can learn to crochet. Besides, who doesn't love grandmas?

I've never seen a young person/man crocheting. All you can make is granny squares and doilies anyway.

Well, granny squares and doilies are pretty darn cool. Have you seen some of the newer stuff? You can make almost anything in crochet. Clothes, blankets, iPad cases, public art... even video game characters! Really anything you can imagine. 

That might be true but men just can't crochet. It's not manly.

I'm not sure what you mean by manly, but men certainly can and do crochet. Just like in sculpting or carpentry, many men enjoy the opportunity to make something with their hands. There are even several high-profile male crocheters like Drew Emborsky and Michael Sellick.

Scenario 4: "You should learn to knit instead."
Are you crocheting? You should learn to knit instead.

I may learn to knit sometime/I also know how to knit but I am enjoying myself crocheting right now.

Crochet is just so wasteful though. It uses like three times the amount of yarn as knitting.

Actually crochet uses about a third more yarn than knitting on average, which is a bit more but not a huge amount. Some lacy crochet patterns even use less yarn than knitting. It all depends.

Hm. Well crochet is just so scratchy and stiff. And you have to use such thick yarn! You can't use knitting yarn to crochet.

Some crochet might be stiff, but it definitely doesn't have to be. You can use any yarn to crochet. Have you ever felt alpaca yarn? It's so soft! There are some yarns that are easier to crochet with and there are some yarns that are easier to knit with, but you can crochet or knit with any yarn if you have the right hook or needles. Crochet hooks can go all the way down to .4mm!

I just think that knitting is better than crochet.

You're welcome to have your own opinion. In my opinion, crochet and knitting are both wonderful hobbies. They each have strengths and weaknesses and they are each worth learning and doing.


Have you ever found yourself having one of these conversations? How did you react? Let us know in the comments.

6 comments:

  1. Yes, pretty much all of the above, you nailed it! I try to be patient, but it can be awfully hard. Thankfully, these conversations happen for me much less frequently these days, but every now and then I get a doozy such as one of the scenarios here. I try to be patient and respectful, but there are times when that can be quite difficult!

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    1. It's always nice to commiserate with others who understand the same frustrations! :)

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  2. Love this post! My theory is that "crochet" is just harder to say for most people (and too Frenchy) so they call everything "knitting." And I'm happy to help change misconception #3 :)

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for working with me to show others that young people crochet, too! Your work is so spectacular that you represent us well :)

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  3. My favorite line is: "I can understand that. I like the meditative qualities of crochet. It helps to me improve my patience over time, and I think that's a good thing. " Rock on, Sara!!

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    1. Haha thank you, Howard. Perhaps the ultimate answer to crochet haters is to simply crochet MORE in an infinite patience loop.

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