An Ode to Knitting and Crocheting
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
Nine years ago in my Grade 7 classroom, my friend brought her beginner’s crochet kit to school. She picked the kit up in a bookstore and was spending her free time between classes trying to figure out the basic stitches. The other girls found it laughable as they saw her getting tangled in the yarn. To them, crocheting along with knitting were “grandma”-type hobbies. But when I saw the instruction booklet and the picture of the simple scalloped hat that my friend was trying to make, it invoked in me a wonder in how string can be manipulated to make stitches and how those stitches can be arranged to create hats, pouches, sweaters, and scarves.
I soon after got a hook of my own and photocopies of my friend’s crochet instruction booklet. Then I went to work and made hat after hat (none ever fitting me right) and scarf after scarf (all awkwardly short but were still kindly worn by my grandpa). Many hats, bags, scarves, and a giant 10-pound blanket later, my stitches today are more even and my pattern-reading skills are stronger. Whenever I find free time, if I am not reading, I am knitting or crocheting. I actually make a conscious effort to hide my hooks and needles during the school year because I get so carried away with my projects and keep telling myself to make “one more row”.
Similar to what drew me to my current major (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), what drew me to crocheting was the “building” and “sculpting” capability. Knitting and crocheting is 3D printing with your hands. From a 1-dimensional string, one can make 3-dimensional objects. The perfect example for this is amigurumi crocheted toys. Using different-colored string and just the single crochet stitch, you can make a stuffed toy of any animal, cartoon character, or anything else in the universe! I personally am most drawn to textural stitch patterns and how there seem to be hundreds of knitted and crocheted patterns that can be broken down into different variations of the basic knit, purl, loop, and hook-through. Compounding on this is the effect of yarn thickness, hook or needle size, and stitch tension on the project! This even makes me think that the added flexibility makes knitting and crocheting superior to 3D printers. Surely, there is much wisdom to be found in the hobbies of our grandmothers.
My most recent project that I “3D-printed” is this drawstring backpack. The link to the free crochet pattern is listed below. I am proud of this one because it is one of the larger projects that I have made and also the most consistent in stitch gauge. I used a beautiful gradient acrylic yarn of sport weight that my mother got for me from Divisoria many years ago. The hook I used was a simple aluminum hook with the size Japanese 3/0. Though the pattern instructions say that the project can be finished in 10 hours, I spaced my work out by working on it in my free time over two months. I believe that it is a decent backpack which gets the job done. A specific point of improvement for the future is more flexibility in following a pattern. I rigidly followed the pattern and found that the front flap turned out to be a bit too long. This then put the straps in an awkward position and changed the overall structure and look of the bag when worn! This is nothing big to dwell on, and I am overall happy with the turnout.
On to the next project!