Not All Crocheters are Visual

by Kathryn on May 21, 2012 · 5 comments

in Crochet News

Post image for Not All Crocheters are Visual

Crochet Sleep Mask – image source

Several things have converged recently to make me realize that I am often far more interested in stories than I am in visual details. This is true of me as a crocheter, and I think it’s something that’s probably reflected in this blog even though I do include a lot of images here. I think that it’s probably true of many other crocheters, despite the fact that crochet is definitely a highly visual activity.

Caring More About the Story

At the end of last year I published a short booklet of stories about crocheters called When Grandma Isn’t Crocheting, She’s Hunting Big Game. This book was intended to just be a short collection of 33 tales about interesting women who crochet as a part of their lives. Each story is just a few paragraphs long and basically tells an interesting fact about the woman – like that she chose to get her GED at age 92 or that she spends half her time hunting big game and the other half crocheting.

Recently, I peeked at the reviews that have been put up on Amazon for that booklet. I actually didn’t expect to see any. The book is just a small booklet and not something I widely promoted. But there were two reviews there – a five star and a one star. Of course I appreciate and love the five star and am so honored that someone took the time to write that for me. But it was the one star that interested me because I always want to know why someone doesn’t like something I’ve done. The one star review complains that these are just short “articles”, not real stories (which is fair, because it’s true) and also complains that there are no pictures in the book.

It hadn’t really occurred to me that people would care that there are no pictures in the book. And this is where it comes in that I’m not a very visual person. I care so much more about the story behind the crocheter and her intentions and her work than I do about the final product of the crochet. It’s something that carries over into all aspects of my life really. (If you’re interested, I’ve shared more about this … as well as some thoughts on how it relates to memory … on my personal blog.)

Obviously Crochet is a Visual Craft

crochet eyes Not All Crocheters are Visual

Crochet Eyes … image source

Crochet is an art and, like most other art, it’s visual. I have definitely been known to look at crochet photos like eye candy, drooling over the way that something appears because of the unique combinations of stitches and yarn chosen for the project. I’m as much of a fan as anybody of really beautiful colorwork in crochet. And I understand the joy of looking at Pinterest just to be inspired by the images there. So it’s not that I’m not at all visual. I do appreciate pretty things and the feelings they evoke and that applies to crochet as much as anything.

But I’ll Reiterate, I Care More About the Story

In the end, even when I put together visual collections of things, it’s because I like the story that those images tell together. So when I put together a roundup of 30 beautiful crochet swimsuits, it may not have a lot of words to it but personally I’m looking at the story that the objects tell when they’re all together. You can see by looking at the roundup that there are many different styles, that they’re popular with certain types/ages of women, that there are designer brands that have taken up this trend, that some colors feel different than others … And when I share profiles for my designer crochet project, I include a lot of images but what I’m personally really interested in is exploring how crochet fits into their whole fashion story and career.

Not All Crocheters are Visual

crochet eyeglasses Not All Crocheters are Visual

Crochet eyeglasses holder – image source

When I first started to put together this article, my thought was that I am unusual in my focus on the story of crochet rather than the way it looks precisely because crochet is so visual. But then I started thinking a little bit more about it and I realized that I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way. There are blind people who crochet. There are crocheters who start a million WIPS and rarely finish anything to be able to show off a final product. There are crocheters who only work with the same basic yarns and crocheters who only use a few stitches, like a basic single crochet. While some of the crochet artists that I’ve featured on this blog do really detailed cool crochet work, many others use crochet as a medium to tell a story but aren’t necessarily focused on the specifics of what the crochet stitches look like. There are crocheters that I’ve interviewed on the health benefits of crochet who don’t care at all about color or the way a final product looks but crochet because drawing up loop upon loop is relaxing and meditative and healing.

And There Is a Story

There are many reasons to choose to crochet as opposed to doing something else with your time or to express yourself creatively. Some are very basic (crochet is easy and affordable) but many people have deeper reasons for choosing this craft. They choose it because crochet has a long history as a female craft. (Unlike knitting and many other crafts, crochet was first done by women, not men.) They choose it because it reminds them of a simpler lifestyle, the coziness of their grandma’s home or the ease of expressing themselves when they first learned it as a child or the carefree hopefulness of the 1960s.

Crochet itself has a story built into the history of the craft. And each niche of crochet, from tapestry to lace making, has its own history. Crochet also has the personal story for the crocheter of when she learned it and how she uses it and how it binds her to other people in life today. Now maybe you don’t see all of that when you look at a crocheted clock face on Pinterest or a crocheted afghan on Etsy. I admit that sometimes I don’t see it either; sometimes I just see a really beautiful clock or afghan or doily or sweater. But often I barely even take it that image before I’m on to processing my thoughts on the whole story of the piece. And while I do certainly intend to continue sharing loads and loads of beautiful crochet photos here on the blog, I also hope that one of the things that this blog offers that many others do not is a focus on that “story” of crochet.

Would you say that you’re a visual person when it comes to crochet? What’s your crochet story? Share in the comments below! I genuinely do want to know!!

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Not All Crocheters are Visual
Like this post, please hit the share button! Really love what I'm doing with Crochet Concupiscence? Subscribe to Crochet Concupiscence by Email
5 comments
joyannerose
joyannerose

I love the variety of your articles.  You've opened my eyes to many sides of crochet that I never thought about..  Especially crochet as an art form in itself.  Being practical by nature, I like that it's beautiful and useful.  

 

Although I love to read, I sometimes do skim over an article to get to the pictures.  But that's cause I'm so addicted to crochet, especially lace.

 

 As far as learning, I need to read each part of the stitch step by step so I can get it.   It's only been in this past year that I discovered the beauty of diagrams.  I love them. It's so much easier to "get"  what you're doing when you can see it.  I hate patterns that don't tell you where you're starting, or are so wordy it gets confusing. So I tend to use both (to satisfy the perfectionist in me).

 

My Grammy taught me how to crochet when I was young, but I never sat still long enough to get into it.  When I got cancer five years ago, my son told me I needed a hobby to get my mind off the treatment and all the anxiety that goes with it.  So I started making jewelry. It was ok, but very tedious.  About that time I also realized I needed something more challenging to fight the "chemo brain" I had.    I figured if I could read crochet patterns, then I could keep my brain functioning.  So I started crocheting jewelry. It wasn't long before I got so hooked (no pun intended) that I wanted to make everything I saw!  I loved having my hands being so busy (especially since my body no longer could).  I'd love to get into it as a business, or start a crochet group, or yarnbomb something, anything.  So far, I haven't gotten that far as I can't wait to finish one project to start another.  

 

In the meantime, I tell everyone, crocheting is an excellent and rewarding way to fight "chemo brain" and anxiety.

 

And keep writing all those thought provoking articles (with the pictures). :)

CrochetBlogger
CrochetBlogger moderator

 @joyannerose Thanks so much for this great comment. First of all, it's really wonderful to hear that I'm opening your world to some ideas about the art side of crochet because I love that aspect of it and want everyone to know more about it! :)

 

But mostly, thank you for sharing your story of learning to crochet and then coming back to it again when you were going through chemo. That's so powerful and wonderful. I'm sure that when you're ready you'll start a group or a business or something but what you're doing with just crafting is probably just right for now. Keep it up!!

PattiLekas
PattiLekas

My Grandmother crocheted everything from detailed doilies to hooded sweaters and blankets. Her beautiful work helped to supplement her small income. When I asked how and when she learned she said her mother put a hook in her hand as a young teen and said " you need to learn..what if you have to support yourself "  Thank goodness she had learned. We all benefited from her work. New babies always came home in one of her sweater sets, babies were christened in her gowns and each of us over the years has wiped away tears with one of her hankies. As she developed dementia I had the chance to stay with her and to share valuable crochet lessons and learn wonderful family history. It wasn't until a few years after she was gone that I began to make a few fun hats for my Great Grandsons and Grammas Gifts began. Now I spend my days making adorable baby items that help supplement my income and have found the enjoyment she did in watching others enjoy my stitching. @grammasgifts

undergroundcrafter
undergroundcrafter

I am more of a "words person" than a "visual person", like you.  I think this is why I'm not a huge fan of video tutorials - I would much rather read a book explaining how to do something.

 

I do think there is an expectation that any works that deal with crafts are supposed to have lots of pictures.  I always see lack of pictures as a complaint about similar books.  I think many people have come to expect that everything they read will have full color, high resolution pictures attached :).

CrochetBlogger
CrochetBlogger moderator

 @undergroundcrafter It's really nice for me to hear from someone else who crafts but is more wordy than visual. I think it's tough for a lot of people to understand that perspective because obviously we still enjoy the way that things look but tend to prefer learning via words.

 

Like you I rarely watch video tutorials. The exception to that for me has been when a book or article shows drawings and doesn't explain the drawings very well in words. I have a tough time figuring out what goes where with just a drawing so then it helps to see the whole thing in video where it's actually being done.

 

It's funny because I think if I had done the collection of stories as an e-book instead of a print book which is perhaps what I should have done) then I probably would have tried to find a way to include some photos because I do realize that online people are expecting lots of images. I just didn't think that translated to print books but I think you're right that it's a big expectation for anything in the crafting sector.

Previous post:

Next post: