So I started CrochetMe.com on a lark one afternoon, in a fit of pique. I was all, Let’s do this crochet thing, kids. And to my surprise, a few people were all, Yeah!
The more entrenched I became in the crochet world, the more I learned about the styles and history of the craft, the more I realized it’s often been treated as second-class to the more, shall we say, valued and respected craft of knitting. People have some very rigid prejudices about crochet – that it’s bulky and unpleasant, that crocheted sweaters are shapeless and unfashionable, that all crochet is in some way dated – and that has always struck me as odd. Like, why spend energy railing on an entire craft you happen not to enjoy? And anyway, why don’t you enjoy it? Is it because you’ve tried it and found it impossible to make something you liked, or because you assume it’s awful and will be ugly and so you refuse to try?
Anyway, I refused to accept a random prejudice, so I decided to address the possible roots of it. And what I realized right away is that there’s been a lot of ugly knitting out there over the decades (there’s a lot of ugly everything out there, which is normal and to be expected). But rather than dismiss knitting as being an Ugly Craft, knitters have focused a huge amount of energy on educating themselves and others about how to make beautiful knitting. How to balance yarn and gauge to create fabrics that drape and wear well. How to make sweaters that fit to flatter. How to choose colours that go well together.
Obviously, the exact same considerations can be made for crochet, and I set out to raise people’s consciousness about this. Ugly is as ugly makes. The onus is on each of us to make what we want to make, how we want to make it, and to experiment till we get it right. There weren’t many resources around that addressed crochet in this manner, so I set out to make some.
KGO: You mention one of the stigmas with crochet is that crocheted sweaters are “thick, and bulky, and ugly, and a little bit like body armor.” Why do you think this is the case? Which patterns/designers/companies do you think are successfully reversing this perception?
KW: I addressed the first part of your question, I think, in my last rambling answer (sorry about that!). I think a tremendous amount of progress has been made over the last decade. Both Interweave and Vogue have featured stunning crochet in their magazine pages. And though I think a lot more work can be done in book publishing – I see so many new books that contribute little more than previous books have already contributed – bloggers and indie designers are picking up some of that slack.