Someone is wrong on the internet

Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm in Crochet

Yesterday I ran across a blog post that offended me. I haven’t followed him long, and normally like this guy‘s writing, but this bothered me. Luckily, I’m pretty sure he was being absurd.

if you’re a knitter, a real knitter,
you might be a little snooty about crochet.
stop lying.
you totally are.

crochet is like the older, uglier sister of knitting.
that unmarried spinster who is more like a mother to her.
sure she probably knows better, and has a nice fulfilling career,
but knitting is the family rebel

wrongI know I should just shake my head in disappointment and go on with my life. I know I’m overreacting. I know this is the sort of internet-fueled irritation that XKCD nailed some time ago in <– this comic that I should ignore.

It’s not about this guy, though it touched a nerve with some unmentionable recent experiences. I’m just tired of hearing crochet insulted, and I wish people would get over it already. It’s not the first insulting remark I’ve read, plus I’ve had people sneer at crochet to my face, and have been ignored and insulted in yarn shops. Other people notice it too, in comments and on blogs. Someone on Metafilter years ago posted a knit-hates-crochet video but the commenters agree the argument is stupid. I find it sad. I stopped going to yarn meetups because I was tired of snide comments like, “Is that crochet? I guess you couldn’t master knitting.” I rarely venture into local yarn shops because I got tired of people saying, “No, we don’t have any crocheters on staff” or “Why don’t you learn to knit instead? I think you’d like it more.”  So let’s break this down.

1.  Unless you’ve been raised in a barn, most people know that publicly insulting people and/or their skills is not polite. I really don’t understand feeling like you have permission to be insulting because other people in your subgroup do it. Not once have I ever insulted knitting or a knitter, and I’d feel horrible if I did. Don’t suggest your craft is “better,” don’t suggest people learn knitting when they tell you they crochet, don’t make comments under your breath, don’t call it ugly. That’s rude!

2.  If you’re a crafter, don’t ever insult other peoples’ crafts. Do I really have to say that? If you’re a crafter you’ve likely spent a lot of time, money and effort on your craft, whether that’s needlepoint, sewing, crochet, knitting, scrapbooking, cross stitch, woodworking, weaving, dyeing, spinning or whatever. You, of all people, should know what kind of dedication it takes to become good at a craft. You should be the very last person on earth insulting someone else’s craft, for any reason. There are plenty of people in the world who think crafting is a waste of time and sneer at handmade items. For pete’s sake, don’t lower yourself into that camp, sneering at someone else’s hard work.

3.  Who the hell is anybody to say my craft is ugly? It’s not. Crochet is a skill I’ve worked hard at over the last seven years to learn to create beautiful objects. I’m good at it, and I think that skill has value, both in the finished objects I’ve given away or kept, as well as the contemplative quiet that practicing it gives me.

4.  I don’t understand why knitters feel the need to mock crochet because they don’t like it. Maybe it’s groupthink or the narcissism of small differences? I know many knitters crochet at least a little to fix saggy necklines and dropped stitches. But it’s as if crochet personally offended knitters in some way, which is patently absurd. So what if you don’t like the fabric as much! No one is forcing anyone to crochet, to wear crocheted items, or like the fabric crochet creates. Crochet is not stepping on anyone’s toes or elbowing anyone out of the way. Just get over it.

5.  As a final note, there are some obvious fallacies in his statement anyway. Crochet and knit are about the same age, as nearly as anyone can tell (Kim Werker thinks crochet is younger).  During its short history, crochet has often been linked to “counterculture” or fringe cultures (the Irish, flappers, hippies). Only if your sense of history is 10 years old (i.e. current hipsters) would you say knitting is more rebellious.

So there you go. I’ll say to you what I say to knitters who are shocked I crochet (and always assume it’s because I can’t knit). I like crochet and knit both. But for crafting, I prefer crocheting. It’s fun and relaxing. I like that it’s structural instead of stretchy. Plus, since there’s no void in my creative life that needs filling by another fiber craft (I also sew and quilt), I have no reason to knit. If I want or need a knit, I can easily buy one, even a hand-knit one if I want. So that’s what I do.

A shout-out, while I’m at it, to those knitters I know who aren’t this way. You’re a pleasure to talk to, and you restore my faith that knitters everywhere will one day just be content to love their own craft, and let others love theirs.

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Dude, I love crochet but I had to learned to love it the hard way! I started on crochet it just seemed so….afghan-y and pot-holder-y! Knitting was like the sexy, hot thing to move on to, make a dreamy sweater, make these socks that look store-bought. But you know what? Knitting takes FAR too long and the VAST majority of the average public can’t tell the difference, they all just ask “Did you knit that?” referring to anything made with yarn. I truly enjoy the motion of crocheting MUCH more than knitting. I love making tiny size 30 thread doilies, I love making huge Q-hook afghans! The only downside is that it takes more yarn than knitting but I am willing to let it slide. Stuck-up knitters are the worst!

Jenna Z — Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm (link)

yup. i was being absurd. i love me some crochet.

Steven A. — Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm (link)

Yeah, I’ve had quite a few people ask me if I were knitting on the train now. I just say “yes.” I know better. My husband still refers to my crochet as knitting (though I correct him).

There are so many crochet patterns now crochet’s no longer very afghan-y or potholder-y unless that’s what you’re going for. I guess I never thought so because my mom had beautiful antique pieces, and my grandmother made such detailed beautiful doll dresses.

Steven – Didn’t mean to call you out, exactly. :) One day people will stop being rude to my face about it, and I’ll stop being pissed off about it.

Miriam — Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm (link)

Interesting. I think maybe why some look down their noses at crochet is because they remember it as something that was popular at a time when there weren’t as many patterns and nice yarn readily available. My grandmother lived on a farm in rural Minnesota and spun her own yarn and both crochet and knit and whether it was knit or crocheted it looked coarse simply because of the materials she had to work with. But my Dad still remembers his handspun socks made by his mother as the more marvelous socks in the world.

Mr. Puffy — Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm (link)

I think it’s human nature to think in terms of us vs. them–I knit, therefore crocheters aren’t as cool, etc. It really is patently ridiculous. Hipsters should realize that far fewer people crochet than knit these days, and therefore they should see it as cool and countercultural and want to take it up! Knitting became cool again at some point, so why not go against the grain? Or, the, er, knitting needle? Be rebellious? I for one knit because crocheting always looked harder to me and I was intimidated :) But I learned to crochet first–just the chain stitch, from my mom. Never made it past the chain stitch!

Anyway, I agree that crafters ought to respect each other’s skills and not expect conformity. And, yeah, that’s all I’ve got. :)

Melissa — Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm (link)

Move to Spain! ‘Ganchillo’ is so popular here. There are umpteen magazines and books, and you see so many extraordinarily delicate shawls, like yours, and wrist-warmers, hats, flower brooches, bags – it’s downright inspiring! In fact, several Spanish women have commented on my knitting as something rather exotic, and been surprised that I knit rather than crochet. I don’t mind admitting that I find knitting much easier, and I tried and failed for years to learn to crochet, but now that I can do it, what fun! There are two knitting groups near me, but in fact, members knit, crochet, and even occasionally spin. The knitters teach the crocheters to knit, and the crocheters teach the knitters to crochet, and we are all so delighted with ourselves when we make something with our new skill. One thing I’ve noticed, though: if you learnt to knit when you were little, crochet feels incredibly fiddly because it takes such fine motor control, but if you’ve crocheted all your life, the weight of fabric spread across two long needle (and Spanish needles are 40cm long – OMG!) makes knitting feel very unwieldy at first. It’s comforting to realise we’re ALL all thumbs at first, and inspiring to see what more experienced people are doing.

Still(and there’s no excuse – ever – for being rude or patronising about someone else’s skills and passions) I’d have to agree that, for long enough, I saw crochet as the ugly sister. Not just potholders, but crinoline toilet roll covers – a staple at handicraft stalls. EEK! Plus, granny-square afghans started as a thrifty and satisfying way of using up oddments of yarn, so if the contents of the oddment bag didn’t quite go together… Ah well… What mattered was the love and thought. Crochet’s come a very long way since the 70s, don’t you think? Snazzy. Elegant. Traditional, but with better yarns. Groundbreaking techniques, and a shift away from rigid geometry. A wider range of colours, weights and finishes. You know that. I know that. And the publishers have woken up to it to, and targeting new demographics – including the knitting la-di-dahs.

And the next time someone makes a snide comment, or gives you the superior ‘Oh you CROCHET do you, dear…?’ look, I suggest you return their look with compassion, rejoicing in your skill and artistry, and reminding yourself that the ignorant know not whereof they spout.

I love your creations, and your enthusiasm.

Noelle — Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 1:37 am (link)

whether one crochets or knits doesn’t matter. It is how it makes you feel once you see a project come together from start to finish. And if you like it, all the better. And even greater if you what you make, someone likes and wants.
I started crochetting at an early age. I can’t read a pettern and everything I do is one of a kind. Never do I make the same “pattern” twice, even though I will make them simular. I have sold many baby blankets, outfits, afghans, bedspreads, scarves,etc, and even though I nolonger sell them, I still make them for family and friends.
If someone doesn’t like what you do, so be it. Those who usually make negative comments are those that are either jealous, wish they could do what you do or aren’t worth trying to convince. If it makes you happy, that is what matters.

karol — Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm (link)

[...] . .i write this post. while my last post gave some people the impression that i hate crochet, i’m glad most of you realized i was just joshing. misa [...]

with a belly half full. . . « Bitches Get Stitches — Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm (link)

Hey this is Jen (the one who is going to tackle your tangled yarn!) and I just wanted to tell you I think crocheting is WAY HARDER than knitting which is why I don’t do it. People are lame sometimes..

Jen — Sun Mar 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm (link)

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