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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Knitting Snobbery? Why?


Knitting Snobbery? Why?

 
This sign appears in the window of my local yarn shop:

 

 

Oh, that’s nice to know, was my first thought. But the next instant I realized that a sign like that shouldn’t even be necessary. Shouldn’t both crafts be equal in yarn shops?

 
However, I wasn’t surprised. It just underscored a phenomenon I became aware of once I started crocheting: the strange sort of snobbishness some knitters seem to have toward crocheters, at least in the professional yarnworking world.

 
One would think that we would be sisters- (or even brothers-) in-arms. After all, many people do both crafts.

 
But I began to get enlightened on my first visit to a yarn store. A group of women were seated around a long table, knitting—a common sight in yarn shops. While the knitting friends I had come with browsed, I asked one of the employees for information about crocheting. She cut me off rather quickly: oh, we really don’t have any crocheters here. Well, do you sell hooks? No, no hooks. She did direct me, rather cursorily, to the type of yarn I was looking for but wasn’t overly interested.

 
Nor was this an isolated incident. In nearly every yarn shop I’ve been in, the focus is on knitting. Every piece on display in the shop is knitted. In my LYS, with the sign displayed above, there is one crocheter among the employees, and she is still primarily a knitter. This shop doesn’t display any crocheted pieces, either.

 
So what’s going on here? Are we crocheters consigned to being second-class crafters? Why does crochet seemingly have a poor reputation?

 
I wonder if it’s because there are so many visible “kitschy” crochet patterns, things like coasters and baby hair bows and tissue box covers. Do many people think that knitting is for making beautiful garments and crocheting is for knickknacks?

 
But just check out a few issues of, for instance, Interweave Crochet magazine to see patterns such as these sweaters that are as beautiful as anything knit.

 
 Designed by Anastasia Popova


 
 Designed by Annette Petavy
 

 

Furthermore, the possibilities for delicate lace patterns in crochet are nearly endless.

 
Designed by Doris Chan





 Designed by Vashti Braha


 
 Designed by Kathryn White


 
 


So are there any knitters out there who can tell me why crochet shouldn’t be considered just as beautiful and valuable a craft as knitting? Or am I forever destined to be a tea drinker in a coffee drinkers' world?

 

11 comments:

  1. I do both. I agree with you, though, at the moment, knitting is the more popular of the two crafts.
    I find crocheting easier and I can crochet faster than I can knit.
    For me, knitting is more challenging, so perhaps that’s why I find it more interesting.
    I love that you posted such beautiful samples of how “modern” and beautiful crocheted items really can be.

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  2. You've made a good point. Crocheting produces beautiful products and those knit wit snobs need to get over it.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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  3. I do both.

    My first visit to an actual yarn store, before I learned how to knit, I made the mistake of mentioning that I was a crocheter and that I really wanted to learn how to knit. The woman at the store actually walked away from me and back to a table filled with women and announced to them that I was a crocheter. They stopped talking and all turned and just watched me as I walked through the store. Talk about uncomfortable. I left soon after and never went back.

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  4. I blogged about this awhile back too. I think it's getting better but there is a nose in the air to those who knit only. You don't find that with people who do both (I do both), you don't find it with people who crochet only. I think the snobbery comes from people who only knit rarely even say yarn...after all they use fiber...she said as tossed her hair and nose in the air.

    Visited earlier for a-z, but spotted this title and had to stop back in....take and look and you'll see what I mean about had too. lol

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  5. As much as I'd love to knit, I'm a crocheter only at the moment. I, too, have wondered about the hostility I've encountered in yarn shops when I've looked for pattern books or materials for a new afghan. I'd prefer to spend my money supporting small local shops, but there's only so much snarkiness I will endure before I start shopping for yarn online!

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    1. I agree Michelle. I do both, but I'm a new crocheter, because I was never a very good knitter, and find crocheting both more fun and easier.

      My LYS does not stock afghan hooks (well, only in "G") which galls me to no end, and on their website it has the name of the store and then says "A Great Place to Knit"! If that's not a silent message to crocheters that we don't really belong, I don't know what is...

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  6. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Now I know it isn't just my imagination. Wow, Stefani and Michelle, I haven't experienced any open hostility, just indifference. Joyce: funny! Sandy, I'll have to read your post. Maybe we crocheters should band together and insist we be treated as equals! To be fair, I have found a few local yarn shops that don't display a prejudiced attitude toward crochet and even carry pattern books and hooks. I hope this "enlightened" attitude keeps spreading.

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  7. I knit and crochet and I've always liked crochet better because it's quicker and easier. But I've encountered snobbery at my LYS too. I was looking thru books and the shop owner was talking to other customers and she says "I call crochet crotch it. I hate it." which I thought was a stupid thing for a shop owner to say because she's cutting out half her customers. Then when I'm checking out she says do you knit or crochet? and I said both but i prefer crochet and she says hmpf. Weird.

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  8. I'm a knitter who decided to learn crochet last summer because each of the handcrafts produce different looks. MY LYS has a knit-a-long Sunday and a crochet-a-long Sunday and the owner is proficient in both. You need to come visit my city :)
    This conundrum reminds me of a song from the musical Oklahoma, The Farmer and the Cowboy Should Be Friends.

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  9. I just did a quick Google search to see if this odd conundrum has ever been addressed before and found your post. I have always gotten this vibe as I am primarily a crocheter. I actually want to open my own LYS because I'm tired of visiting shops that for lack of a better word, discriminate against me because I prefer a hook over needles!

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  10. Cassondra, I'm happy to stopped by. Since I posted this, the LYS in my neighborhood (with the sign) has unfortunately closed. I did manage to find one in the next city where the woman who runs it does both, but when I went to a group there the other women were knitters. The manager was very helpful, but I still felt like an oddball. I hope you do open your own store and give crocheters at least equal time! I've daydreamed about having one called something like "the Crocheter's Corner" but I have neither the expertise not the wherewithal. It's really a shame that we can't seem to coexist on equal terms. Thanks for coming by!

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