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2012 – A Yarn Odyssey Part 4 November 29, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Crochet, Knitting, Yarncraft.

Part 1 here

Time passes. I’d buried my detestable enemy deep in the yarn pile, but I could not bury my failure. It gnaws at me. But…there is another, darker passage to dare: Crochet. Understand that crochet is absolutely the “red-headed step-child” in the yarncraft community. Some would say it is the evil, bearded Mr. Spock universe of fabric arts.  It’s the Sauron / Saruman tag-team of the World Wrestling Federa — sorry, wandered off onto wrong tracks there. Anyway, it’s a very divided situation. In the public eye everything made with yarn is “knitting”. It’s the default, generic term and it’s an annoyance. I had some prior familiarity with crochet as I’d fiddled with it before but never really did much with it. Also my great grandma did crochet and when I was a kid she would send me things she made from time to time –  small stuffed animals, slippers and whatnot. For the Parental Units she made a gorgeous lace bedspread as a wedding present many years before. So I had some idea about what it was capable of.

Knitting and crochet can be very similar in some respects, but are very different their basic structures. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t know the difference but knitting is more row-based, crochet more stitch-based. if you’re wearing a typical t-shirt the fabric is knitted with alternating knit and purl stitches with very small threads by a machine. It has a nice, stretchy quality that is the hallmark of knitted wear. If the cloth isn’t knitted, then it’s almost certainly woven, again by machines. While crochet can make a fabric, it isn’t commercially mass-produced by machine as far as I know. crochet makes a more textured, somewhat coarser fabric because it’s basically a series of chained knots.

The advantage knitting has is that it’s easily regimented by rows. Machines can be programmed to do fantastic things with the knit process. Crochet, not so much it seems. The odd, closed stitch by stitch crochet method doesn’t seem to lend itself so well to such manipulation. However, because of that particular structure it does lend itself to more free-form techniques, like lace.

And so I turn my back on knitting and embrace the Dark Side of the Yarn Force.

…To Be Continued

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