July 19, 2013

Knitting versus Crochet?

One of the best things about moving somewhere new is trying out the local flavor of everything. I was pretty stoked to discover a Local Yarn Shop (LYS) within a few miles of my new home. 

Previously, my LYS was about a 30 minute drive away. Admittedly, I usually purchased yarn at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joanne's, which were all within a three-mile radius of my old home. I also ordered yarn online, on occasion. Every now and again though, I'd drive all the way to the LYS. The last time I was in there, I brought a friend. She wanted me to make a gift for someone else and we needed time to think about the yarn. (Read: we needed to browse -- without distraction.)

The owner would have none of it. She hemmed and hawed and hovered -- flat out telling me I was in the wrong section of yarn for what I planned to make (despite my pleas that I was simply BROWSING...) She carried on with telling me that no pattern would have me make anything out of two different weights of yarn (Oh really? Tell that to the sheep.) 

At this point, I had about $50 worth of yarn in my hand. It wasn't even for the project I  planned to make -- it was for myself! We still planned to buy the yarn for my friend's project. But the LYS was so bent on telling us what we couldn't make, that in the end, I got so annoyed with the woman, I pulled my friend aside, threw the yarn back on the shelf, and told her we were leaving.  

To this day, I've never been back there. (Note to LYS owners: please let customers browse.)

Thankfully, my new LYS is a little friendlier and they appear to be less bossy. I've been in the store several times already, and my wallet knows it. This week, I went in looking for yarn to crochet a bag. The older lady was super helpful -- offering me a range of yarns, and sensing my hesitation over the price, actually convinced me to purchase a cheaper range -- and then she let me continue to browse the rest of the shop. 

As I continued browsing, however, she and her young colleague embroiled themselves in a discussion over the merits of knitting versus crochet. I can't be sure, but I think what set them off was a knitting magazine that published a crochet pattern. 

Heaven forbid. 

Knitting versus crochet is a long-standing debate. They both serve their place in my crafting world. I'm always thankful that I know how to do both. (If you could see the ladies at my previous knitting club... some of whom had knit for YEARS, struggling to crochet, you'd understand.) 

But the young thing casting on what appeared to be a lace shawl, vehemently slagged off crochet, right as I stood behind her eyeballing the yarn for my bag. (Did I mention I was CROCHETING a bag?!) She made accusations that crochet garments are ugly (occasionally true... if you're looking at a 1970s magazine, but nowadays often false), you can't do cables with crochet (false), and that crochet takes up twice as much yarn (false - it takes up slightly more yarn than knitting, but twice as much is a gross exaggeration). 

While the conversation annoyed me, I can kind of understand. I made up my mind to relearn crochet before I ever wanted to knit. Frankly, knitting scared the pants off of me -- all of that talk about dropping stitches... and wielding two or even FOUR sticks? No thank you... I was going to crochet ONLY.  

My anti-knitting campaign was short-lived. I found a set of knitting needles at a thrift store only a few months later, and somehow I was so mesmerized by the thought of knitting that I decided to buy them on a whim. 

Knitting versus crochet? I couldn't tell you which I prefer. It depends on the season, the item I'm making, and even the yarn. Right now I'm knitting a shawl and crocheting a bag. Both give me pleasure (although the shawl less so at the moment simply because I messed up on it and it's taking me forever to figure out where the mistake happened.) 

But back to the LYS. The girl was actually so rude that I thought she must just be a visitor sitting there knitting with the employee, so I excused her behavior. However, she rang out my purchase! 

I almost said something to her. I almost said she should watch what she says... she could lose some valuable crochet customers. I've heard of LYS stores who are quite rude to crocheters -- and I don't understand why. Why would you alienate a craft that could easily spend more money than your average knitter on yarn? (You've already substantiated the claim that crocheting takes more yarn than knitting... so clearly we crocheters may end up plonking down more cash!) 

But I bit my tongue, made my purchase and smiled as she told me she liked the color I ended up choosing. I thought the next time she's working, I hope she'll notice my cool crocheted bag. Maybe I can teach her to crochet cables in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand why people must rain on the parade of others. You don't like something, fine, but there are plenty who do like that (whatever it might be). I think though that you have proven that even some of those ugly things from the 70's can be made so they are not, by color changes and slight alterations to some of the elements.

    Have fun