Crochet and handspun yarn
The start of everything
Handwoven magazine's former managing editor Pattie Graver is an accomplished weaver and spinner to boot. In her retirement, she has been offering invaluable help around the Spin-Off office. We have invited her to share with you about our latest eBook and memories of how she started out in the world of fiber.
Pattie: Do you remember your very first experience in our wonderful world of fiber? When I paused to think about this, I was surprised by the answer. It was all about crochet! In the late 1960s, I learned to crochet in order to have a hot-pink scarf to wear with my red velvet coat. I know that I'm dating myself, but I can remember walking into a yarn shop when you had to ask for your yarn from a neatly dressed woman standing behind the counter. There was no fondling of skeins, and compared to the tactile event we have all come to know and love, yarn shopping was a rather stiff and formal experience. I also recall making a few baby blankets in fluorescent colors and a "hippie" shawl with a huge crochet hook. I must admit that although these memories make me smile, I'm glad those days are behind me.
Regina Rooney's version of this shawl, which has been made by four generations of women in her family, is included in our Spinning for Crochet eBook.
Along with the lady standing behind the yarn-shop counter, I left my interest in crochet back in the 1960s. I haven't crocheted much since then except to occasionally embellish the edges of a handwoven piece or finish off something from my potholder loom. Though lately, as my curiosity in handspinning grows, so does my interest in crochet. I love the portability and the fact that you can create wonderful things from small amounts of handspun. When I saw Spin-Off's new eBook Spinning for Crochet, I got to thinking how choosing a project from it would help me become a more skillful spinner. Instead of "getting what I get" from my spinning wheel, maybe I should spin with a purpose. An added bonus would be the brain workout I would undergo in order to actually produce a specific yarn. That would have to be more enjoyable than solving Sudoku puzzles or taking an algebra class just to fire up the neurons!
Besides, there is just something so radical about crochet that appeals to this aging flower child. The tools are so simple yet those rows of loops result in some stunning cloth. And, as more young people become interested in spinning, crochet, knitting, and other crafts, it makes me feel good to be among the hip crowd.
How about you? What are your thoughts on crochet, and do you have any stories of yarn shopping from the olden days?