Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Musings

Monday Musings is a new weekly theme that I just invented. It's a time for me to paddle gently down the stream of consciousness, to wonder as I wander, to ask questions in the hope that someone can concoct a better answer than I've been able to come up with.

Today's question: Why is crochet so often viewed as less classy than knitting? Granted, this question has been around for quite a while, but after reading some very long Ravelry threads I still haven't seen a good answer — by which I mean an explanation I find plausible, not a cogent case for why crochet is in fact inferior, because I don't think the latter exists.

Yes, we've all seen the 70s-vintage ripple afghans and the hideous plastic granny squares. I myself have never seen a Southern-belle toilet-paper cover, acrylic or otherwise, mentioning which seems to be the craft-wars equivalent of issuing a blanket condemnation of Chinese food by reference to MSG. (I'm not saying it's bad to dislike crochet or Chinese food here, just that it's unfair to imply that those of us who like them are weird or trailer trash, or weird trailer trash.) But I've also seen stunningly beautiful crocheted bedspreads, lace shawls, linen insertions, hats, mittens, scarves, and, yes, even sweaters. I've likewise seen knitted items covering the whole spectrum from gorgeous to garish.

I'll be the first to agree that crochet is different from knitting, and that each lends itself more readily to some things than others. Most crochet stitches are thicker than most knitted ones, which makes the fabric thicker as well; hence the popularity of crochet for afghans, hats, and anything else that should be warm. (It is, however, not true in my experience that crochet uses three times as much yarn as knitting. Half again as much, if that. Then again, I like cables and ribs and other dense knitted stitches.) Conversely, you can do things with knitted lace and openwork that are harder to do with crochet. But there's a lot of overlap, and indeed there are some projects that almost demand the use of both: it is possible to seam blanket squares together, for instance, but it's easier and more decorative to crochet them together.

So, what do you think? Do you crochet, knit, or both? Do you like one more than the other? (Don't be shy. Much as I love and respect crochet, the truth is that I do a lot more knitting.) If you're a crocheter, have you been snubbed by knitters or by LYS staff? (I don't think I ever have.) And why do you think some people, some of whom are knitters, put down crochet?

6 Comments:

  • Mom made some ghastly crocheted things. I don't think one of those toilet paper covers, but I do know that I've been in more than just a couple bathrooms with them perched grandly on the top of the tank or on some shelf. I think crochet is quicker, perhaps easier on the hands. (I can only make a chain and simple edgings) I've heard it is harder to make well fitted and shaped things via crochet.

    By Blogger Lisa/knitnzu, at 6:24 AM  

  • As another bi-stickual person, I too am amazed at how looked down upon crochet is. What amazes me the most is the sign in some yarn shops that say they are crochet friendly-wtf. Imagine if we didn't have crochet, then all the fishermen would have had to buy new nets instead of fixing them, we wouldn't have the beautiful lace doilies of old nor some of the graceful edgings on linen table clothes or on sweaters. Yeah for crochet!

    By Anonymous Debbi, at 7:57 AM  

  • Yeah, I'm bi-stictual as well. I knit more because i don't have to watch it, but I love crochet for its own sake. I can shape things better with crochet because it's one stitch at a time. Great for toys. It's been a while since I've crocheted a doily, but I can see it in the near future. and tea cozies can be made the day before a tea party in crochet.

    I see no reason to demean any craft. There's even a place for those people who cut figures out of plywood, paint them like people bending over and showing their bloomers, and stick them in the front yard. I want little ninja ferrets and commando bunnies in my bushes, but have yet to find someone with a jigsaw, a sense of humor, and time on their hands.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:10 AM  

  • The number I always heard was 1/3 more yarn.

    I learned to crochet as a girl, but just learned to knit about 9 years ago (I'm 40). Interestingly enough, I avoided learning to knit, b/c knitters seemed so snooty what with their kidsilk haze, and merino this, and cashmere that.

    But when I got into knitting, I sorta go sucked into the yarn snobbery, and the idea that knitting is better than crochet.

    I'm slowly getting over it, and there are so many awesome crochet designers who are making gorgeous things with lovely yarns.

    I've almost given up my yarn snob ways. I use synthetics when I really need something machine washable, dryable, and cheap, but I prefer natural fibers, because they really get the job done.

    I have run into some issues at LYS's, but nothing like what I've seen other people post online.

    By Anonymous Marcy, at 9:15 AM  

  • Crochet can be beautiful. I learned to crochet about 2 years before learning to knit. I made sweaters, shawls, blankets and a host of other things, but I wanted to knit because there were better (more) options of items to wear. They were more "classy" than the crocheted patterns. Now I rarely crochet, but I still love it and think it has its place.

    By Blogger margene, at 10:07 AM  

  • I never really learned to crochet, except for the chains, and I am of an age to remember fairly hideous granny-square afghans and vests.

    Once I discovered the crocheted lace in Thérèse de Dillmont, then I saw the more lacy possibilities of crochet, but I sure didn't see them while I was growing up.

    In Britain, there is still a prejudice against knitting stemming from its long history there as a craft that was taught to the poor to make them useful.

    By Blogger Alwen, at 12:51 PM  

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