Magic with Yarn
I am a crocheter. I learned to crochet when I was in college, but I made only a few afghans, then put my hooks aside and didn't pick them up again until a few years ago. I started crocheting again by accident.
At the time, I liked bath puffs a lot, but I hated how quickly they lost their puffiness. I remembered seeing instructions somewhere for making your own bath puff. So I did a Google search for the instructions and found some for crocheted puffs. I decided that I should practice crocheting a bit before I tried making a puff--you know, to refresh my memory--and the next thing you know, it's a few years later, I'm deeply into crochet, and I still haven't made a bath puff! I have made a whole lot of afghans, though, and a bunch of hats and scarves and ponchos and shawls, plus the occasional odd item like a teddy bear.
I like to crochet for several reasons. Taking one strand of yarn and one hook and creating a piece of fabric seems magical to me. I like seeing my finished work and being impressed with myself, that I created that usable but beautiful item out of a few skeins of yarn. The process of crocheting is relaxing, too. Something about working with the yarn in my hands is calming, almost meditative.
Crocheted wearables are popular in the stores right now. I'm sure most people think those items are made by machine. Knit items can be made on a knitting machine, and most knit garments sold in stores are machine made. But no one has ever figured out how to make a machine that can crochet. Crochet stitches are too complicated for a machine to duplicate. Therefore, all crocheted items are handmade. Even the really inexpensive stuff at Wal-Mart and Target and Kmart is all handmade. And the large crocheted tablecloths and bedspreads you see in bedding and bath stores and catalogs are all handmade.
Depending on the thickness of the yarn or thread, the density of the weave, and the intricacy of the stitch pattern, a poncho or a shawl can take a day to a week or more to crochet. A tablecloth can take a few weeks, and a king-size bedspread can take a month or longer. So who hand-crochets all these items to sell as if they were mass-produced items? Usually people in underdeveloped countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
A crocheted item is a labor-intensive work of art. Next time you see a crocheted poncho or scarf or bedspread in a store, look closely at the stitches. Even the least expensive stuff took a lot of effort to produce. Be in awe of the worker whose hands created this piece of fabric out of one strand of yarn and one hook.