Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why Knot?

I was thinking (I’m sure you heard the rusty gears grinding!) about why I don’t do more crochet as opposed to knitting. Crochet is much faster, easier, thicker, more durable and more versatile. However it’s also stiffer, holier, lumpier, less drape, uses more yarn, takes more concentration (for me anyway) and is harder on my hands and wrists. Most of the available patterns are, in a word, horrible. I just checked out the photos from the Crochet Guild of America’s 2007 fashion show and most of them would be a lead contender on What Not To Wear! Eeeww… No wonder most crocheters stick with afghans and totebags. It’s also a lot harder to write up patterns for crochet and the symbols for charting are not yet universal. I’ve tried a bit of freeform crochet but, like tapestry, you have to make constant decisions on what yarn, stitch and direction to use next and I don’t enjoy that much. It can look very hodge-podge and I end up regretting a move I made way back that can’t now be changed very easily.

Even recent books by Lily Chin (Couture Crochet Workshop) and Doris Chan (Amazing Crochet Lace) haven’t inspired me to get out the hooks. I also have a number of books with lovely pattern stitches, granny squares and motifs. Still not happening. There are a few items in Interweave Crochet that might have possibilities, but the one I like best (Boteh Scarf, Spring 2007) is Another Scarf and I have too many already. I’ll hold out hope for the next issue. Since my Not So Granny Square sweater from last year (which was only partly crochet), I just haven’t felt the crochet love. Luckily I have enough other things to keep me busy.

For instance, after frogging the Purple Elephant Slipper-Sock yesterday, I’m back up to where I was when I yanked out the needles. It’s looking much better and I’m being more careful to knit with an even tension. It’s the right size around now. Whew. And I’m finally getting used to using dpns that feel like broom handles instead of the tiny matchsticks that I usually knit socks with. Too bad I only have one set so I can’t knit on both socks alternately like I usually do.

On my main project, I need to tie up the treadles on my loom before winding the 11 yard warp on for the Blanket. Gertrude (yes, that’s her name) is a countermarche loom which means that I have to tie up both the shafts that rise and the shafts that sink for each treadle. And it’s much easier to do when there’s no warp in the way. In case none of this makes sense to you, I warp from front to back: through the reed, through the heddles, tie to the back apron rod, and wind on. Then tie the warp to the front apron rod, check for errors, repair if necessary and start weaving. I don’t even use a packing weft in the beginning, just weave a few picks, beat them straight and carry on. In this case I will be hemstitching on the loom each end of each of the 3 pieces that will be assembled for the blanket. I think I’ll need a cardboard template to keep my beat even so that each piece will have the same number of stripes and hopefully come out the same length so they will match up. This is fussy stuff and means that the weaving won’t go as fast as if I just wove merrily along without changing colours or measuring constantly. Oh well. I could have been more haphazard but this seems to be what the wool wants to become. I’m just going with the flow. We’ll see what how ends up, hey? Meanwhile, I’d best get back “unda da loom.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Louisa, you might check out "Glorious Crocheted Sweaters" if you want to see some nice wearable items!! It's edited by Nola Theiss & published by Sterling/Lark. I found it by accident , probably in Chapters. Some of the jackets look handwoven which is why I bought it. I like to crochet but usually end up with afghans because it's faster than knitting - I DID plan on crocheting a sweater but never got around to it - haven't knit one either . . . .