Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Great Crochet Heist

So for ages now I've been planning on getting into crochet. In fact I had been declaring so to my boss repeatedly for months. At first she agreed with me as she also wanted to get back into it and got her mother-in-law to re-teach her the ropes. I, however, have been slower off the starting block.

I thought getting into crochet would be good for a few reasons. The main one being that I don't really have the ability to create knitwear for myself, and being that I don't buy new clothes, knitwear acquisition has been a problem for me for a few years as my old previously shop-bought knit items have slowly died and been decomissioned. A couple of years ago I got to grips with my overlocker and stretch and knit fabric bought on the roll and made myself a couple items (a cardigan and a jumper). But since then I have chosen to stop buying new fabric as well, so I've been trying to make knitwear by remaking and altering existing secondhand knitwear garments (like this, this and this) or sweatshirts (like this and this). For all other knitwear items I've been at the mercy of the charity shops.

But I thought that by learning to crochet (I'm not quite up to introducing knitting into my life) I'll be able to made some toasty-warm garments that have a different look and perform different wardrobe roles than my remakes currently are. I would be creating the very fabric of a creation too, rather than only a creation from fabric. Also, adding a new skill/activity to my life (other than sewing, drinking wine and planning adventures that I can't afford) might be fun. I thought it might an excellent Winter sofa-bound creative activity, or even one I could take to do elsewhere, maybe with friends.

The idea was to get super-good over the Winter, figure out how to get hold of secondhand wool so I don't have to compromise my 'not-buying-new-stuff' ethos, and eventually be cranking out incredible garments like the cardigan pictured above. So I procured some secondhand crochet hooks (thanks Mum and Sophie) in a variety of sizes. Next I guessed correctly that a knitting enthusiast would have a stash of unused wool akin to a sewer's stash of fabric, so cheekily asked my friend Michelle to flow me a ball or two to practice with before I launched myself in any further which she did willingly (thanks Michelle). I also joined Ravelry.com (which is where I found the cardigan pictured above), which I had heard on good authority was like a knitter's and crocheter's Burdastyle, to soak up some inspiration. Many of the creations on there are off the hook (pun intended). I also got hold of a print-out about different stitches from the Brighton Mini Maker Faire, which I have annoyingly temporarily mislaid.

Well, as you can imagine, all this garnering of items, inspiration and the like took a while. But just as I felt it was all falling into place, I came home one day to find that my exciting foray into crochet has been hijacked by Patty (Mr 'So, Zo...') before I've so much as made my first stitch! Can you BELIEVE the cheek of it?! I scarcely can. PLUS he's now developed an obsession for it: the kind of deep 'hours-slip-by-unnoticed' type of obsession that I believe men are far more susceptible to contracting than women (the latter being far more capable of participating in more than one activity at any one time). So, over the last week or so, whilst I've pottering around the living room doing some sewing and trying to discuss what we should have for dinner, Pat has been glued to Amigurumi pattern blogs and swearing at crochet-stitch You Tube videos for them to 'slow the f*^k down'. This is my new reality.

(Pictured above, Patty on a train journey coming back from London this weekend. In case you are wondering what is in his mouth, it's a safety pin that he had been using to hold his stitch, or something.) Don't get me wrong, I'm all for dudes getting involved in this kind of activity. I'm really happy that traditional gender stereotypes have not put him off developing a new skill and enjoying a new hobby. I'm also really glad that he is doing something that takes him away from a computer screen (some of the time). But what pisses me off is that A) I was really looking forward to becoming a crocheter and I feel that, now someone else in the room is already better than me, that there is an element of discovery tha now will not be there, and that B) I can now never find my thread cutters or wool needle (which I use for poking the loose tails of overlocking threads away to neaten my work). Oh, and C) he is making the wierdest, freakiest looking things you ever did see:

This thing spooks me out, especially when it stares at me with its little yellow eyes whilst I eat my breakfast.

30 comments:

Naomi~ said...

I'm so sorry.....but this was hilarious!

I've been wanting to learn how to crochet myself. I used to know how to knit as a child, but I think crochet may be slightly more instant gratification than knitting...at least, with a toddler around. If my husband picked up crochet on the sly - I'd have him make my winter woolies while I use that time for other fun things!

Roobeedoo said...

Ah - but has he made you a jacket yet?! ;)
Personally I prefer knitted garments as crochet tends to be a bit more bulky and heavy to wear. Oh - and it absolutely gobbles up yarn!
But don't let me put you off - I can't wait to see what you make!

lladybird said...

haha! this entry cracked me up. i think i love patty - mostly for that creepy purple thing he made :D hahaha!

i have dabbled in both crocheting & knitting (by the SMALLEST amounts - i am by no means an expert, or even past the stages of super super super beginner), and i personally think knitting is a little easier than crocheting. it took me forever to figure out how to hold the yard to keep proper tension with crocheting. and it does use up a lot of yarn. but hey - they are both fun & relaxing, and a great way to let yourself chill out in front of the TV or whatever but still keep your hands busy :)

vickikatemakes said...

Sorry too - but I'm sat here laughing! Yay for Patty but boo that he's stolen your learning something new thunder. And yep, that little thing is weird with its unblinking yellow eyes...

Tamsin said...

Great post! I can't knit - tension issues - and suspect that I would have simmilar problems with crochet. However, my husband has started to crochet over the summer and has so far made made 2 nets for supporting squash, 3 pairs of slippers and is currently swearing at a 4th pair that are supposed to be my Christmas present. He is using a new pattern and it's not working so well I hear! http://pimpmycurtains.blogspot.com/2011/09/squash-nets.html

bookette said...

freakin' awesome! I love it when menfolk pick this stuff up.
Ami is addicting. and once he figures out how to shape things himself, and get what he wants, the little yarny creatures will really take over.

Miss P said...

BRILLIANT! Yay for Pat! (Boo cos he got there first, lol!!)
My other half is entirely underwhelmed by all things crafty. Poo head!
Crochet is great because you need only unravel to the last single loop if you screw up (which I did ALOT the first couple of times). It seems to me to be more portable than knitting too.
But then there is something about the clickety click of knitting needles that is very satisfying :)
Good luck!! Great post BTW. Made me smile, which is saying something recently ;)
Px

zilredloh said...

I love this post! I need to show it to my hubby! hehe

I love that your mister wanted to take up crochet. But I can totally sympathize with you. I'm not sure what I would do if my Felix took up sewing or baking and got better than me. I'm sure I'd be supportive like you are, but I could see feeling like he 'stole my thunder'.

Perhaps you could encourage him to do some yarn bombing outside the home do you could get your crochet on. :)

MrsC said...

Isn't that just typical! He heists your hobby, obsesses over it, and then makes useless weird stuff. I had a friend who tended to obsess about stuff, who got obsessed with my overlocker. He got into the scrap bg and made these weird little fabric covers for EVERYTHING. Every ornament in my living room had a cover made from some hideous curtain sample with white overlocking on it. I could never convince him to do something useful, like overlocking seam allowances in a garmet I was making for me... ;-)
I think we're all just a teency bit in love with your Pat now, Zo heheh

Sherry said...

He he, this is so funny! I must admit, crochet is very addictive!

Joy said...

Sooo funny! Someone to share your love for textiles?
When I was a kid, I embroidered a pillowcase (a kitty in a basket with a giant bow) but didn't do the matching one. Once when were bored at my parents' house, my husband found the undone pillowcase and sat down, never having touched a needle in his life, and embroidered the design on the other case. His embroidery was absolutely perfect. Grrrr... Gender stereotypes have it all wrong!

Debi said...

LOVED this post! I like Pat!!! MrsC's comment made me crack up too!!!

SusanD1408 Crochet Addict said...

Love it. I would hate it if my hubby started to learn to crochet cause i know he would have to be better than me. Thank goodness he won't.
i can't knit n i get stressed when trying but i love to crochet. I love the fact that with a couple of stitches you can design your own stuff.

Becky said...

This was rather amusing! I guess you could always look at it as an opportunity to learn something new together....or just learn to knit instead. (I picked up knitting this year to have something portable and quiet to do when hanging out with my crocheter of a best friend, since we both like to have movie marathons and craft.)

Also, one thing you can do to get some secondhand wool is to thrift some sweaters in good condition and unravel them for the yarn. I did this with a couple that I found with a very low wool content-- I'm rather sensitive to it, so I figured I'd start with something around 10% wool and see if I can even handle working with that much, since I have one sweater in my collection with about that same amount that doesn't bother me for some reason. It's a bit tedious, but you can always get a yarn swift off of Etsy or something, and a ball-winder, to make it less so.

liza jane said...

That is so awesome! Real men aren't afraid to crochet.

No Regrets, Inc. said...

Love it love it love it! Go, Pat. Thanks for sharing this very funny post. I love the "slow the f*** down" to you tube crochet videos! I will be chuckling about this for a week & telling friends.

jessica said...

I, too, was cracking up over this post! Remind's me of Alicia Paulson's husband Andy and his kniting escapades (commentary and all).

Perhaps, instead of crochet, I can entice you into knitting instead?

By the way, have been meaning to comment and tell you that I have been loving your garments of late!

Sigrid said...

Oh this is funny. Something like this happened to me once. I taught my husband to knit and left town for a conference. The next day my son got the chicken pox and they both had to stay home together. So, when I arrived home, he was at the airport gate (this was pre 9/11) with a two-color stranded knitting sleeve that he needed help to cast off. Of course, the stitching looked better than anything I had ever made. GRR. You are right the gender stereotype has nothing to do with ability or obsessiveness.

teresa v said...

i love this post! i very much admire your commitment to reusing and am working on following in your footsteps. and it cracked me up to read about your guy stealing your crochet thunder. i know its upsetting to you but i just love your account of the story.

kristenmakes said...

Haha, what a jerk! Gotta love a man getting his hands wooly though. If you do get into crochet or knitting yourself (I hope you do, the crafts are so rewarding!) and find that secondhand wool hard to source (at least wool that is WOOL and not nasty acrylic), there are some good recycled wools out there - some spun recycled from wool, and some from discarded textiles.

House of Pinheiro said...

I'm a big amigurumi fan

didyoumakethat said...

That's outrageously selfish behaviour. Leave him.

Christina said...

Lovely post! My flatmate got into knitting two years ago and he was doing the most difficult cables right from the start. I loved having another yarnie around (that he always wanted me to accompany him to the yarnstore might have something to do with this). Just before he mastered the horizontal cable a PS3 moved in with us last spring... sadly this has been the end of his knitting so far.
There might be a morale for you in there somewhere (wink).

Jess said...

This made me laugh so much!!! Crochet has been on my goal list this winter too, You tube is amazing, I learnt how to do the basic stitches the other day in a couple of hours and am now half way through my very first beret, with my you tube 'teacher' :) Trick is to pause and play whenever you need too as they do go quite fast!

Jess x

http://pinkindielondon.blogspot.com/

Law said...

Hahaha, this is so funny!

The least Pat could do if he is hijacking your new hobby would be to whip you up a nice snood or some mittens, rather than create freaky people :o)

I keep meaning to take up crochet myself. I have a booklet on the first steps you can borrow if you want as my crochet has yet to take off. If you fancy another beginner to share this with let me know, maybe we can learn crochet together.

Alessa said...

Hahaha, what an awesome story! I can totally see your annoyance. ;) I'm with some of the others in thinking that knitting is actually easier - and there are like hundreds of "learning to knit" videos on youtube!
Anyway, 1. if you find a good source of second hand yarn, tell us and 2. have fun with learning the crochet!

Bella said...

Zoe, here's a page of crocheted taxidermy...in case Mr. Zo gets bored with the scary aliens he's making now...
http://shaunarichardson.com/home/galleries/crochetdermy/

Tors said...

Oh dear, I'm sorry but I just can't stop laughing! I love that Patty's taken up crocheting, can you not bribe him to make you things as well as his crazy creations? One of my very good friends crochets amigarumi (sp?) toys and they're lush (and also slightly less yellow eyed)

Reana Louise said...

You had me in stitches (Shazaam! Another pun!). Crocheting is also on my to-do list these holidays and I promise I'll be a slower learner than you. I am quite jealous of that cute little creepy critter you now have.

Little Blue Mouse said...

Ha ha, I loved this!

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