Un Crochet ou Deux Crochets?

A question was recently posted on Wendy Bernard's blog, Knit and Tonic, that I found quite intriguing. She posed the question of why it was that crocheters rarely knit, and knitters rarely crochet.

When I first started knitting a year and a half ago, I was solely a knitter. I couldn't be much else because I wasn't an octopus and was just starting this new and lovely textile art. I think if I had eight arms I probably would have knit with two arms, crocheted with two arms and started quilting with the other four arms (I imagine it must take at least four arms to quilt - it seems pretty complicated). But I didn't have eight arms - still don't - and so I started with knitting, having been given the Klutz guide to learning how to knit, which came with two skeins of acrylic yarn, one plastic tapestry needle, one crochet needle and one pair of wooden size 8 needles (incidentally, this is a pretty good kit if you know someone who wants to learn).
I fell in love... after briefly loathing it, kind of like when two people can't stand one another and everyone around them thinks they should just 'do it and get it over with.'
A Metrocard wallet
This was my first project. As you can see, it's falling apart now. It was basic garter stitch, which I believe was a mistake. I remember finishing it and realizing something was wrong, but I can't remember what now - maybe it should have been stockinette...? I use it to hold my Monthly Metrocard and you know what? I loved it. Still do. It serves a function, and perfectly illustrates the way I operate:
I didn't choose a scarf. I could have - it was in the book. In fact, it was recommended as a first project. That's what everyone chooses when they are first learning how to knit. A scarf. Or a dishcloth. Or just a swatch - a length of fabric to try out knitting and purling. Not me. If I was going to spend time knitting something, I needed it to be functional. I also wanted it to be complicated. I needed it to involve more than one knitting skill - if I was going to learn how to do it, I was going to learn the complicated stuff too. Then everything that came after would be easy... right? It involved knitting, (what I thought was...) purling (...but clearly wasn't), decreasing and button hole-making.
My little Metrocard wallet is a constant reminder of my learning process and how I like to learn. I'm a messy learner, and a conquerer, and I often tackle more than I think I can handle just to prove I can handle anything. My next knitting project?
Dr. Who's TARDIS
Of course, right? Six different panels, four of which involved intarsia. Über complex for me, a beginner knitter. It took me 3 months and involved a lot of frogging... and maybe a little crying. But once stuffed and sewed closed, it proved well worth it. And after that?
Crocheted Katamari, complete with super magnets
I crocheted a Katamari for a friend. It's pretty well-known if you are a gamer, but if you aren't: a Katamari is a ball that starts off very small, rolling around to pick up everyday objects until it is large enough to roll up people, cars, buildings, cities, mountains and, eventually, planets. It's a fun game. I stuffed the above Katamari's nubs with super magnets so that it could roll up magnetic things, if nothing else.
And it's crochet.
But I'm a knitter!!
Here's what I think...
I think when you begin to knit, it's like learning your first language. You try to master the grammar of knits and purls, which help to build the syntax of garter, stockinette, seed stitch. The needles are your mouthpiece with which you speak this beautiful language, and while in the beginning it feels like you are swallowing your own tongue, holding these unwieldy instruments and persuading them to create beautiful lines, eventually it becomes second nature. Suddenly you aren't counting stitches anymore or even looking at your knitting as you knit, just as you are no longer looking at each letter in order to sound out a word. It comes naturally and you're just... doing it.
Now imagine you've learned English completely, with all the complex grammar, vast vocabulary and strict sentence structures. Imagine you've been doing it for a decade or more.
Then someone tells you you're going to learn Chinese. Put aside your English; it's time for Chinese!
Seems daunting, no?
But now, imagine that you are just a child and your parents speak to you in both English and Chinese. You are learning language by learning two languages at once, and suddenly, neither is so difficult.
I think this is what happens with knitting and crocheting.
If you only choose to learn one, it's going to be a lot more difficult later on to pick up the other. Not impossible, mind you, but definitely more difficult. If your hands are used to one crochet hook, two needles will probably look like juggling knives to you. If you are used to knit and purl then single and double crochet are going to seem strange and otherworldly. This, at least, was my experience. But I was also so new at it that the blow didn't fall so hard. I knit just two things before I crocheted something, and so it all seemed rather clear to me. And now, it's not so difficult either way.
English or Chinese, it's all Greek to me.*

*I know this expression usually denotes a lack of understanding something, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use it in such a delightful way. 


  1. Doodle! when are you going to post another blog!?