• Tanya

Crochet or knit?

If you're my age or older, your grandmother probably showcased her crocheted lace doilies -- or worse, in my case -- weird toilet paper cover dolls. Sound familiar?

Stepford Wives: Toilet Paper Edition

Those decorations don't sound inspiring in today's world. So why learn to crochet?

1. You can make cool stuff. A kippah for the Bar Mitzvah child you love. A pool tote. A granny square blanket. Stuffed animals (anigurumi). The list goes on.

2. Crochet is fast. Though crocheted projects use more yarn, they do seem to fly by and in general, depending on the thickness of your yarn, they go faster than knitting.

3. Crochet helps you knit. At some point your knitting will progress and you will want to create something requiring a seam, often done with crochet. I learned to knit and waited ten years to learn to crochet because I was scared it would be too hard. Dumb reason. And I only learned because I needed to seam together my son’s sampler blanket. That blanket sat in a bag for years because I was afraid to learn to crochet when he could have been enjoying it and I could have advanced my skills.

4. Garnish. Crochet offers many forms of borders and “garnishes” for your knitting. Even a simple knit scarf can be dressed up with a crocheted border or edge.

5. Yarn bombing. Most crafters will read this and think I am crazy. That’s cool. The most famous yarn bomber is London Kaye, who does all of her work through one stitch called single crochet. Seriously. Less political in nature than other yarn bombers, London likes to brighten up cold urban spaces through yarn bombing and she's awesome. I took a class with her at Vogue Knitting Live last winter and was inspired to yarn bomb here in Scarsdale.

6. It's international. There are huge online and actual communities of crocheters around the world. In many cultures, the men crochet as well. You will be in good company and by reading charted patterns and will have access to a world of options. from crocheters in the Caribbean, Russia, Japan, Africa and beyond.

7. Your brain may be (better) wired for crochet.

Here’s my pseudo-scientific thinking. During child development, kids develop fine motor skills which require “crossing the midline” – or imaginary vertical midline separating your right and left sides, which help integrate the two hemispheres of the brain. My children had trouble with fine motor skills, and their OT’s worked on crossing the midline a lot. I think for adults with motor challenges, myself included, crochet can be easier. In fact, I just read an article which highlighted crossing the midline as a primary reason The Waldorf School teaches knitting in third grade. For those of us who don’t easily integrate all of our motor skills, crochet is a smart place to start, or to give fiber arts another chance.

Forgive me for insulting your toilet paper cover doll, if you still have one. I always found those to be creepy and so odd. If your grandma was more the lace doily type, consider yourself lucky.


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