I may have mentioned it here before, but one of my favorite phrases that I associate with my own personal favorite blogger, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee/“Yarn Harlot”, is “Hooking because I have to” (which was even the title of a 2008 entry on her blog), which she has used to refer to her general dislike of and difficulties she encountered in crochet. I’ve mentioned here before that many people in the yarn and needle arts community (and I like to call it a “community” because there truly are many people from all walks of life who, once they find this network of fellow fiber artists, really dive in and support each other) usually (but not always) specialize in one craft or the other, but not both. But there are others (like me) who have proficient skills in both knitting and crochet. Some people call this being “bi-craftual”, Gregory over at Mad Man Knitting has used the term “crochitter” to refer to them and to refer to the knitting and crochet community as a whole, although the term I prefer is “ambicraftuous”.
Although I primarily see myself as a knitter these days (and hence why my blog is called The Snowless Knitter rather than The Snowless Crafter), my relationship with crochet has lasted even longer than mine with knitting. I first learned some of the basics of granny squares from my maternal grandmother when I was about 8 years old (but strangely enough, not how to start those squares). She used a unique stitch in her squares (best described as a modified treble crochet stitch, and that is treble in U.S. terms, by the way), and I didn’t even learn traditional crochet stitches until I took it up again about 10 years later, after my grandmother had died. By this time, the Internet was a much more widely available resource, and I was able to use itto teach myself the basics of flat crocheting: the foundation chain, the single crochet (double crochet in UK patterns), the half double crochet (half treble crochet in the UK), the double crochet (treble crochet in the UK), and the various renditions of the treble crochet. One of my first crochet projects that wasn’t a granny square was a simple striped scarf I worked in double crochet, complete with fringe. I also learned how to crochet roses 🌹 and hats and simple handbags. I actually still have that scarf today.
t was about a year after coming back to crochet was when I first started knitting, but that first year or so after I picked up knitting needles for the first time I still was primarily a crocheter, mostly because I couldn't figure out how to purl. I remember going to knitting group with my best friend and her mom at a local coffee shop (which has since moved from its former location to another location further down the same street). I crocheted a beret during that time. My dad's friend also paid me to crochet him a hat to keep his head warm in the winter after seeing my dad in a similar hat (that friend has since passed away). But once I finally got the hang of the purl stitch, crocheting fell by the wayside for the most part, save for a couple of doilies and a few half-assed attempts at scarves…but I felt much more of a creative release from knitting.
And then I came across that cake of Lion Brand Mandala recently. I don't know if it was because I didn't want to get smaller knitting needles for the lighter-gauge yarn, but for some reason, this yarn was just calling out, “Crochet hook!” And I decided upon an ergonomic hook to ease any cramping in my hand (which I had felt while crocheting that amigurumi ball I mentioned in While I Was Away (or, Ermahgerd…Finished Objects!)). After a confusing attempt at one pattern, I frogged it and decided to have a go at Virus. So far, I’ve been quite enjoying it, and the Wonder Woman Wrap is on a short break while I’m working on this one, but it only has the Upper Border, binding off, and weaving in ends left to be done. I am in the second-to-last color in the cake thus far, but I feel like this shawl needs to bigger, so I will likely get one more cake in this color way and work it into a full-sized shawl.
It had been quite a while since I had gotten a real urge to pick up a crochet hook and make a full-size project, and so this project thus far has been a nice little break from the knitting I normally do. It hasn’t felt like a chore to me. And that’s because I’m in a project where I’m not hooking because I have to…I’m hooking because I want to.