Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Knit Versus Crochet (ala _Mad Magazine_) in which I natter on and on and on . . ..

Remember the two birds who were always blowing each other up? Yeah, I never really got Mad Magazine when I was a kid . . .
So this, is nothing like that. Actually, it's all about getting along.

The Mad Crocheter and I have been talking about knitting and crocheting for a few years now. In fact, I think I can lay blame at that door for even getting around to starting this blog at all. Some of the first conversations we had were about what's up with the knitting snobbery? How come crochet seems to get a bad rap? We kicked around various theories: knitting is more utilitarian because one uses it to make clothes; crocheting is more of purely decorative art (edgings on hankies, doilies, etc.); knitting is more of a Northern/industrialized/puritanical pursuit (images of those stern faced ladies in mill towns making socks by candle light as it got dark at 4pm in the winter) while a more Southern pursuit (refined ladies doing fine work while socializing out on verandas); the socio-economic factor (your granny making afghans out of $1.99/in. skeins of acrylic versus Julia Roberts bringing her knitting on the set, all those designers writing patterns for knitting, working with tony yarn producers culminating in the knitting revival of the 80's and 90's).
They were some mighty interesting conversations, but the more we talked, the more I became convinced that one of the main things bringing down the potential good name of crochet was that crocheters tended to use crappy materials.
You see, T.M.C. would talk about going to Michael's for some Lion Brand for an afghan, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with that, I wondered what might result if they field of play were broadened for T.M.C.? I talked about the concept of hand and T.M.C. sort of gave me these funny looks, and confessed discomfort with "yarn snobbery". No, no, I tried to play it as a larger interaction of tool and use and lo and behold . . .
So now I've seen T.M.C. make clothes, crocheted sweaters and hats and they ROCK, they really do, but man, they ain't made of acrylic.
So today, I sent the shot across the bow about we should try to design patterns that have to use both - like a book of piano duets, it could be two person patterns - go find a knitter or crocheter and make these things, because you'll need someone who can do both. Strength through unity. Kind of a cool idea, I thought.

Then, a snag . . . .

Hand again. T.M.C.'s stuff is really lovely, and the clothing is mainly cotton or cotton blend. But I find that stuff really hard to knit with; it hangs wrong, it stretches out, the necks look lousy, but for crochet, cotton and blends looks great.
My theory: knit works best on wool blends because of the kind of fabric it makes, more drape-y,while crochet, which is basically made of knots, works better with plant fibers which create a softer, more supple fabric.
Not a nail in the coffin lid of my "fiber-ists without borders pattern collection" idea, but something to keep in mind perhaps . . .

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