Today is ‘Knit in Public’ day. For me this is everyday. I have no shame. However, I thought it was a good day to discuss my technique, as even though many of us who crochet are called ‘knitters’ by the uninitiated, I get accused of knitting much more frequently than most, because of my technique, as you will discover.
I am odd. You probably know this by now. After all, you don’t come up with the idea of calling yourself a knackered psycho without being a bit on the strange side. But genuinely, I am one of those strange people who “doesn’t crochet properly”.
I don’t care. I wish to make a stand.
I have never had anyone look at any of my finished makes and say “But you haven’t done that right…” It is only when someone who knows how to do it properly watches me crocheting that they pull a face and comment. Here is my story.
I am clumsy. Very clumsy. I am right handed and have very good fine motor skills, but problems with gross motor skills and coordination. And balance. When I was younger I longed to be able to crochet things, and I tried to follow lots of book tutorials. They talked about ‘the right way to hold your yarn’ and two (yes, only two) ways to hold your hook. Crochet magazines still do this. Below is an extract from a very old pattern book I have in my stash. I can’t help feeling that the title of this section is misleading – if you read the description and look at the ‘helpful’ drawing, it is small wonder I stuck to knitting…
It all felt very unnatural, I couldn’t get it to work for me, and time after time I gave up. I finally learned to crochet at the age of 40, after a work colleague sat and showed me what to do. Not ‘how to hold my yarn’ or ‘how to hold my hook’, but what I needed to achieve. I naturally picked up my yarn and hook as if to knit, and that felt natural. I got it. I haven’t stopped since. Yes, it looks like I am knitting rather than crocheting but hey, people think that’s what I am doing anyway.
When I knit and crochet, I also do something that I know panics people who watch me – I let go of my hook or the needle in my right hand when I wrap my yarn. This is because I am so right hand dominant that I have to use my right hand to wrap my yarn around my hook. This feels right to me and I don’t drop the hook or stitches, it all just balances nicely as long as I am pinching the stitch with my left hand. It does mean that I can’t use hooks with customised handles, like the beautiful Fleabubs ones (except for my beading hook), as there is so much weight in those handles that they do clatter to the floor when I let go. But I use KnitPro hooks, and these are lightweight enough to sit nicely in my work without dropping. All is well. No-one dies, and I get a nice shawl or jumper out of it.
I also wrap my yarn around my hook ‘wrong’. I have made a video of me crocheting trebles (or doubles, if you prefer US terminology), and if you watch it you will see I wrap my yarn ‘front to back’, then ‘back to front’, then ‘front to back’ again twice. I am consistent in doing this and I am complemented on my stitch definition. But again I have been told by people who watch me that I wrap my yarn wrong, and that it fundamentally changes the look of the stitch. I am sure that if you compared my stitches to someone who wraps the yarn consistently in one direction you will see a small difference. But not enough to make anyone care, I don’t think. It works for me, and when I am not trying to film myself I can get a good turn of speed crocheting like this.
So the purpose of this post is to encourage people who crochet or knit differently to enjoy their quirks rather than worry about them. I lost years of crochet time because I tried to conform and concluded that I couldn’t crochet. But I know there are others who have developed their own techniques just as I have. For me, its about the finished product. However you can achieve it, go for it. And however odd your technique, you will always have a fan in me!