Crafting Balance

Day 7: April 29, 2012. Crafting Balance 
Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

Today is about balance. Crafting balance, yes – but I could also talk about the balance between knitting and blogging or about life balance and finding time to fit in crafting and so on. For me, this week has been more about blogging rather than knitting. For the most part, I spend quite some time crafting my posts, rewriting and editing and putting in pictures and so on. I try to make sure that I don’t infodump or write paragraphs that are too long (to avoid tl;dr) or too many paragraphs without some kind of visual interest to break them up. So I guess blogging is a kind of craft for me as well. And the balance between the different crafts, that’s the challenge for me.

When it comes to knitting and blogging, I usually go in spurts. I’ll blog very frequently for a bit while my knitting is neglected, and then I’ll get caught up on my knitting and then I’ll be so busy getting projects done that my blogging is rather sporadic. If I am more structured about it then I prewrite posts and schedule them – sometime they only require a few pictures and they’re good to go. I’m also trying to figure out what frequency of blogging works best for me, and for my readers. I mean, if I put up new content every day, then that’s pretty challenging for me, plus I’m not sure you guys enjoy that – it’s hard to catch up on what’s going on. Let me know what you guys think – what do you prefer?

So, let’s talk about the balance between my knitting and my crocheting. I actually started out as a crocheter. I learned to crochet in school when I was, oh, maybe 11 or 12? No, I must have been younger. I have to ask my parents. Anyway, I think my skill level hovered at single crochet stitch, maybe going as far as double crochet stitch. I went to buy yarn with my parents, and I remember coming into the arts & craft section of our department store (when they still had one), and being overwhelmed by all the colors, and the different types of fibers. I had no idea how to decide what to select. We ended up picking this light blue acrylic yarn – nothing special, I don’t remember much about it apart from the fact that it was scratchy, especially after working with it for a while. I plugged away at the scarf for a while.

Why yes, that is a Christmas ornament with a pacifier in it! Making Christmas extra special for my nephew.

And once we moved on to another project in class, I tried to continue crocheting the scarf at home – and tried to motivate myself by labeling it my Christmas present to my Mom. I think it ended up being the shortest scarf ever. Mom still has it, somewhere. ETA: And I apparently started to make gloves for her out of that same yarn. I’ll have to ask her to dig them out.

Well, that was the progress my crafting work made for a while. Over the following years I was more occupied with other hobbys like reading (a lot!), singing, all kinds of sports… I learned to embroider from Mami. Plus there was school, of course, and then college and life and so on. Fast-forward to 2008. I hadn’t been crafting much, and then, and then my sister and brother-in-law announced that were expecting their first child. Yay!

Our family has always placed a great emphasis on handmade gifts. It doesn’t matter if they were big or small, they were all appreciated. Handmade gifts were – and are – more valued than purchased ones, no matter how big. It is the thought and the effort that counts – and when you make a gift, you think about the person you are making  it for, what they would like, what would suit them, and what you can offer. Putting up our Christmas tree always means to look back on our life as a family, where we pull out all the Christmas ornaments, so many of which have been made by us, with all of their little imperfections and cracks.

Now that my sister was pregnant, I really wanted to make something for the baby, something that they would get use out of. I thought about a baby blanket, and I figured out that I could pick up crochet pretty easily, even though I’d forgotten all of the stitches. I decided to make this pretty baby blanket, which I had found through the Lion Brand Yarn website. It was a great way to get back into the groove. While browsing around the Lion Brand Yarn pattern page, I came across a pattern for a baby mobile – and an idea was born. And then I found this awesome Alan Dart Shaun the Sheep mobile, which was perfect, apart from the fact that it’s a knitting pattern. So, with the help of YouTube, the Knitting Help website, and a few library books, I learned how to knit. And fortunately my great-aunt, Mami, my knitting hero, was in town so I could get help from her. That started my love affair with knitting, and since then crochet has been pretty much neglected. Yeah, so much for balance. Oops.

Looking back at my crochet, most of them have been amigurumi projects. Amigurumi projects, hats, and that baby blanket. And everything else – scarves, shawls, socks, hats, cowls, gloves, baby items, toys (uhm, what’s left?) – has been knit. But all the Day 7 posts on this topic have reminded me that I really do like crochet. There are so many amazing designs out there, and I love knitting amigurumi toys. I mean, how can you not love amigurumi? Just look at Geek Central Station’s geeky Amigurumi patternsStar Wars amigurumi! The Lord of the Rings characters as amigurumi! Captain Jack Sparrow, the Firefly Crew, Star Trek, Indiana Jones!  Full of Win! Though there are also amazing knitted toy options, just look at MochiMochiland or the Hansigurumi patterns!

I forsee crochet in my future 🙂 And then there is spinning and weaving. I know it’s not Annual Spinning and Weaving Blog Week, but hey, they’re also fiber crafts, and neither are skills that I have. A friend of mine has a loom that she’s offered to let me borrow, so I’ll hopefully get to play with this year. But the craft that I really really really want to learn is spinning. I mean creating thread out a a fiber braid, how amazing is that? It takes us back to the very beginning of fiber crafts – that’s what we need for all the other crafts that follow out of it. It connects us to our ancestors, to the beginning of creating garments, clothing to take us through the seasons and makes us able to adapt to our environment (once garment creation was based on humans having domesticated animals and not being as dependent on our skills as hunters and gatherers and the resultant availability of materials. And if I’m off with my representation of fiber crafts here, I really haven’t researched this, this is off the top of my head, so let me know if I’m wrong).

I’m sorry that this post was so long! I really hadn’t planned on it… but I guess I had a story to tell. I’m sorry to say that this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is over. It really has been a lot of fun. Sometimes it was more challenging than other days to figure out what to write – hello Day 5! – but it definitely was good to topic on a specific topic. I think I’ll do that more often. If you have a topic you’d like me to blog something about, let me know.

I’ll be blogging more frequently than in the last few months, definitely. I’ll also get back to putting up posts about food and photography, as stated in the blog’s header (well, I mentioned reading there, too, but I tend to post more about food), which have been missing. But all in all, it’ll be good to get back to my knitting – I’ve been neglecting it with all this blogging. I have a day to finish up my April project, so hopefully I’ll make it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. If you’d like to see all my posts for this week, go here. And if you’re interested in seeing the posts on the individual days, just run a search for the different short codes to see posts on the different topics: Day 1 – Color Lovers (3KCBWDAY1), Day 2 – Photography Challenge (3KCBWDAY2), Day 3 – Your Knitting or Crochet Hero (3KCBWDAY3), Day 4 – A Knitter or Crocheter for All Seasons (3KCBWDAY4), Day 5 – Something a Bit Different (3KCBWDAY5), Day 6 – Improving your Skillset (3KCBWDAY6), today’s topic, Day 7 – Crafting Balance (3KCBWDAY7), and the Wildcard topic – Craft your Perfect Day (3KCBWWC). I may even put up a a post on the Wild Card topic tomorrow or Tuesday, that topic is just so intriguing.

I’m looking forward to next year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week!

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5 thoughts on “Crafting Balance

  1. I can crochet but don’t do it often. I knit like crazy and spin almost as much. I have a loom and I seem to use that more often in the summer for some reason. I love to take my loom outside and weave. I just wish I could find a way to live without sleep so I could use those 7 hours to do something constructive!

  2. Some great talent you have! I love anything handmade, and love gifting my friends and family handmade cards and such. I’ve not ventured far in crochet and knitting though; crochet was learned mostly from watching how my aunt did it when I was a kid. And knitting..I don’t know how I do it–able to start, unable to end!

    • I was always intimidated by knitting – I mean, two sticks and a needle, how was that going to work? But it really is easier than you think – I used various YouTube videos to help me out. Actually, a good starting point is knittinghelp.com – they have lots of videos to get you started. And if you know how to crochet, you already know how to hold your yarn which is really helpful when you’re starting out.

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