If you know me, you may have heard me say that here at OTR we don’t support fiber apartheid. Unlike some places in the world, we class all fiber arts as equals. We invite, nay, encourage crocheters to come into the yarn shops and give their creativity the good stuff to work with.
I was reminded again this week that not everyone shares my view. A woman slinked in the door and scuttled along the walls, darting from shelf to shelf and taking fearful glances over both shoulders at every aisle intersection. Okay…maybe that’s an exaggeration. But she did seem a little uncomfortable and seemed to be avoiding my super friendly, cheerfully helpful Minions. She even blushed when one of the Minions asked her if she needed help. I got curious and sidled up to her. You know how I do it; I find a little bit of busy work that will take me to the part of the store where a shy person is trying to hide. I do a little bit of fussing with yarn on the shelves, or find a particularly dusty bit of floor in that part of the store that needs mopping right now. Carefully, slowly, so as not to startle anyone, I get closer to my
target, prey, quarry, new friend. When I get in proximity, I, oh, so casually begin an innocuous conversation. It might go something like this:
(swish, swish of the dust mop) ME: Please excuse me for dusting around you. It’s hard to keep up with the lint in a yarn shop, and we want everything to be tidy for you.
SHE: Hmm. Of course.
ME: That’s a very pretty scarf. (or sweater or hat or bag, etc) Did you make it yourself?
SHE: Yes. (or no, depending)
ME: (if she says “yes.”) It’s lovely. What is the yarn?
ME: (if she says “no.”) Well, you could. Do you knit or crochet?
See that? I don’t automatically assume she’s a knitter.
So this past week, a shy one came in and resisted all the Minions attempts to engage her. I went to the area where she was
skulking hiding perusing the shelves and began to put some yarn in a neater stack. I opened with one of my friendliest smiles and a comment on the beautiful blue and green hand paint she was fondling.
ME: That’s such a pretty color way. It always reminds me of oceans. Did you knit the hat you’re wearing?
Imagine my surprise when she blushed again, put down the yarn she was holding and leaned closer to whisper to me.
SHE: No, my mother knit it for me. I actually crochet. I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t be here. I just wanted to try something new and pretty that I can’t get at &*%#&$@’s (name of big box craft store withheld).
Seriously? Seriously! She apologized for coming into what she thought was a knitters sanctuary. I immediately showered her with compliments on her good taste, revealed that I am an out and proud crocheter…actually, I am bi-craftual. I showed her our section of crochet books and magazines and my current crochet projects which I leave, oh, so casually, on the front coffee table for all to see. I offered her a cup of tea and invited her to sit and hook a while. I gave her the schedule of our Stitch and Spin gatherings, assured her that she would not be the only crocheter there, and explained our “End Fiber Apartheid” philosophy.
She wound up with some gorgeous lace weight and left with her shoulders squared, her head held high and a smile on her face. And I’m on a campaign. Even if you think of yourself as a “only a knitter,” in solidarity with your crocheting sisters, consider these points:
Fashions come and fashions go and we can all learn a lesson from the padded shoulder, drop waisted, Laura Ashley print dresses of the 80’s, and the less said about big hair perms the better.
And before you mock granny squares, ever, ever again, consider this… With color sensibility and an eye for complexity and style akin to Gustav Klimt…
Or maybe this… With a cross between Jackson Pollack and the French Impressionists…
These pieces make the leap to fiber art…with emphasis on art.
And if it’s fashion you’re after, there are some great designs finally showing up for crocheters. How about this?
It’s enough to make you want to take up a hook.
Hear me now, and hear me loud…Crocheter’s of the world, be out and be proud!
All you fiber artists out there, if you have a crocheting friend who is still closeted, still ghetto-ized to the big box craft store, still apologizing for wanting something more, tell them we’re here for them. And it wouldn’t hurt you to try a little hooking, too. We’re here to help.