Kim Werker: Talking To Knitters About Crochet
Melange: half knit, half crochet.(Winter 2007)
Isn't Sandi just the best? Not only are her KD posts entertaining and informative even for crocheters like me, she makes a great lunch date when I'm in Colorado to put an issue of Interweave Crochet to bed. And that's exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago: we sent the winter issue off to press.
In addition to working on the magazine, I've spent the last several weeks promoting my new book, Crochet Me. Not only is it amazing to talk about this project I'm so proud of and to tell the stories of so many talented designers, it's also an incredible privilege to meet crocheters and knitters from across the land. Oh, yes, I was surprised, too, by how many knitters came to say hi, ready to get an earful from me about crochet. I talk fast, too. So it's really an earful.
When Sandi asked me to write a guest post on KD, I thought of all the conversations I've had with knitters over the years, and wanted to take this opportunity to share some of what has come out of those chats. I'd love to know what you think. Here's the gist:
Close your eyes and picture a crocheted sweater.
Let me guess. It's made from double crochet. It's dense. It's hot (in the warm sense). It resembles body armour. As a knitter, it's an affront to all you value about handstitched garments.
Antoinette Cardigan (coming Winter 2007)
It's because to achieve a flattering, pleasing fit in crochet you have to approach three things just as carefully as you approach them for a knitting project: Yarn, stitch, and hook size. The only difference between knitting and crochet is that, well, they're different from each other. Crochet stitches are denser than knit stitches, and there's a far wider variety of them to choose from. That can be overwhelming. I can't stress enough how important it is to swatch early and swatch often! Grab an hour and some yarn and needles and hooks, and take a wee journey with me.
Make a stockinette stitch swatch in one yarn on the needles you'd normally knit it with. Then make a swatch in single, half double, or double crochet with a hook the same size as the needles. Then make a third swatch, this time with a hook at least one full millimeter-size larger.
In either case, the crochet swatch will be thicker than the knit swatch. That's because a crochet stitch is essentially a tube, while stockinette stitch can lay pretty much flat. It's tempting to write off crochet right there, isn't it? To say, "Crochet is too dense and thick to make a flattering garment." But that's lazy, folks. Notice that the third swatch, on a larger hook, drapes much better than the one made with a smaller hook. A sweeping generalization about crocheting garments: Use a lighter-weight yarn and a bigger hook than recommended. This isn't because crochet is worse, it's simply that crochet is different from what you're so familiar with.
Really, whether you're interested in crochet or not, being thoughtful about yarn, stitch, and implement size is key to any successful project.
What do you think? I'd really love to know.
Visit Kim's blog on interweavecrochet.com.
Kim's final book tour appearance will be this Thursday, November 15th, from 7-9 pm at Unwind in Burbank, California (www.unwindyarn.com).
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
Where in the world is Sandi knitting today? Sandi is knitting her way around Toronto, Canada for a bit, while she visits with loved ones. She'll be back as soon as she finishes a few more rows…