Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I crochet

Do you know the best part about having a craft blog? Getting to show off the things I make, of course!

Do you know the worst part about having a craft blog? Not being able to show off things I make because they're gifts for people who read my blog. For instance, remember that fabric I ordered the other day? It's for one project that won't be revealed for a few weeks and then for another which I can't talk about for over a month. Oh no! How frustrating.

So, to take my mind off how badly I want to share a minor accomplishment from last night, I'll post about my ripple blanket.

First, I'm using Cascade 220 wool yarn which comes in so many beautiful colors! It's not quite as soft as I'd hoped but it's not itchy so I'm going to give it a thumbs up.

ripple blanket yarn

I'm using the "Soft Waves" pattern from 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns although I don't own the book. Scandalous!

So far I'm loving it! The waves are so fun to make and the hardest part is choosing which color to use next.

ripple blanket

I'll be the first to admit, the sort of crochet I like to do (rectangles and more rectangles) is really repetitive. It's also not very creative nor is it challenging. I'd even go so far as to say that sometimes after crocheting for a few hours, I sort of feel like I've wasted those hours. I certainly can't compare a crochet scarf to a painting in terms of "worthy of my artistic talents", you know? I hope I don't sound like a snob because I'm not and I'm sure people who crochet can attest to the fact that a single crochet rectangle is not challenging at all.

But, there is something to be said for a craft so simple, so basic as crochet. My great grandma taught my mom to crochet when she was a little girl. One day she spent hours crocheting a chain that went around her entire house. My great grandma came outside, looked at my mom's accomplishment and said "I want you to crochet the second row and don't come back in until you're done." Harsh, yes, but my mom got really good at working that dreaded second row.

When I was little, my mom taught me to crochet. Nothing complicated, nothing challenging but it was fun. And, to my surprise, crochet made me feel sort of powerful.

ripple blanket

I had a hook, I had some yarn, I had my two hands and I could use these basic tools to make something out of virtually nothing. A needle and thread aren't much good without fabric. Paint and a brush have no purpose without a surface to paint. But a hook and yarn? That's all that's needed to make something real, something useful, something beautiful.

As a girl I liked to think of the things I would make with my hook and yarn if I were ever orphaned like the Boxcar Children. I could make clothes or a blanket or a scarf or a dishcloth, a pillow and a bed, a tent if I wasn't lucky enough to find a boxcar. I don't know why I thought I'd be orphaned while in possession of a large stash of yarn but that's not the point.

These childhood memories have stayed with me throughout my life and I still marvel at the things a person can do with a simple hook and some yarn. I've also come to realize that there's power in creating something, no matter how simple or complex, how frivolous or useful. Creating, making, doing...these things matter, these things count for something in life.

So, that's it. That's why I love to crochet and that's why I'm excited to spend countless hours repetitively rippling my little heart out. Dark blue is next so stay tuned...

5 comments:

  1. The colours you have chosen are just lovely together - I can't wait to see it grow! Ahem, I kind of used the same pattern without actually owning the book too:-)

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  2. Although I know how to embroider, knit, sew, draft a pattern, weave, quilt, and even have a rudimentary understanding of spinning, I don't know how to crochet!!

    I am envious of your ability to "make a simple rectangle" and someday hope to learn.

    The colours are beautiful - and are very reminicsent of the quilt you entered in the festival! :)

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  3. Elaine, thanks! I really love yours, obviously.

    Yeah, owning pattern books sort of never happens for me...that's probably bad but I don't actually feel bad about it. That's because I'm probably a jerk...

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  4. kit, you should learn how to crochet! What will happen if you become an orphan and have to live in the woods? You'll be naked with no fancy dishcloths!

    If I ever find myself in Toronto, I'll teach you. :)

    Oh, and thanks! I thought the colors would work well with my zig-zag blanket AND the pink walls of my living room. It's going to be my reading chair blanket.

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  5. I love your take on crocheting as powerful--making something out of nothing. I, too, learned a s a child, and that's the way I've always felt about it. I can never have nothing to do, as long as I know how to crochet.

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