Everyone seems to be learning crochet these days. There's even a new magazine, I see, that apparently teaches you how to make a not-very-nice blanket. That aside, I'm glad that so many crafters are picking it up. I've long been a crochet fan, and I much prefer it to knitting, as I find it faster and easier.
I learnt crochet when I was 10 years old in junior school, when we were shown how to make granny squares, which our teacher sewed up into blankets 'for poor people'. I have no recollection of who these 'poor people' were - I think they were 'abroad', probably in India or Africa. Whilst I can't remember the cause, I vividly remember making those crochet squares. It was the seventies and the colour combinations reflected the times. My favourites included brown and orange, turquoise and brown, and royal blue and turquoise. This model from one of my vintage craft books appears to have used some of my designs!
In those days, we had a local haberdashery near where I lived (goodness, that sounds like a different, magical age, doesn't it?). The two old ladies who ran it had obviously decided to get 'with it', and amongst all the pastel baby yarn, there was a basket of yarn in incredibly bright colours. It loudly proclaimed its man-made, acrylic status in neon shades of orange, pink, turquoise and yellow. You could get a static electric shock just by looking at it. However, it was catnip to 10 year olds, and once I took some to school, I ended up having to buy countless balls of the stuff for my classmates. When the blanket-making ended, I carried on crocheting and made myself a long scarf of granny squares. There might have been a long waistcoat too...
I had learnt to knit as well, of course, but it always seemed so slow. I think this was probably the effect of one of my mum's projects. My poor mum never got enough time to sit and do the crafts she loved, so her own projects (as opposed to making toys or clothes for her children) always seemed to carry on for years. At some point she decided to knit an Aran cardigan. This cardigan, and the accompanying large carrier bag of cream wool, was a work-in-progress for many years. I think she'd just about completed the left front when I joined in. She showed me how to do cabling, which was fun (and there was only one that went the wrong way), but the back and sleeves were in a fairly plain stitch that just went on and on.
Over the years, my mum, my sister and I all knitted bits of that damn cardigan. I can't even remember how it got finished, but I think by then I'd done most of the knitting, and so I claimed it as mine. God knows what size it was meant to be - it was far too big for any of us, but by then it was nearly the 1980s, and ridiculously oversized knitwear was acceptable dress for a would-be art student. When I was a student, I remember it being the warmest thing I owned, which was useful in draughty, under-heated student accommodation.So that's probably why I prefer crochet, and probably why I generally avoid making clothes, and prefer to stick to scarves, throws, blankets, baskets, lampshades, etc,
I've just got to end of a crochet project that threatened to become endless, as I just couldn't stop. This throw/blanket (above and below) has been an on and off project for a couple of years, as I just kept making it bigger and bigger. But I finally decided it was time to stop. (Although I'm tempted to add another round of edging...) It's very heavy, as it's all cotton. It wasn't until I threw it on the sofa for a quick photo, that I realised how well the colours match the framed fabric on the wall. An unconscious match, as I originally intended putting it on the bed.
It's made me keen to do more colourful crochet, so I'm going to work on some small items. It would be nice to make some items to sell, but we'll have to see...