Fidelity and Amusement

When I began this journal some 12 1/2 months ago, I did so with no small amount of trepidation. All previous attempts at chronicling my life have ended in abysmal failure. I just have difficulty in maintaining interest and attention to obligations to myself.  Similar to my lack of success in adhering to  self-imposed deadlines, I too easily get distracted and neglectful and, before I know it, another project lingers in limbo, or worse yet, goes up in smoke. So you can imagine how pleased I am with myself that I have not faltered or failed in this endeavor.  My posts may not be frequent or regular, but, when I do write, it is with purpose and commitment, not merely filling a page with  empty words simply for the sake of writing something. I give no guarantee on how long I will be productive in this blog, but, never having been known for having nothing to say, I reckon I’ll be around for a while.

I suppose I should get over it. This pseudo rivalry between crocheters  and knitters is rather the subject of child’s play. Even in the most sophisticated of circles, there is still a certain disdain palpable between the two groups. My purpose is not to point fingers…there is enough negative attitude for both camps to share. Much of this silliness is based in ignorance; much of it in jealousy. But, since I am a bondafide hooker, I have only my own perspective on which to draw to give example to this contention.

Last week, having realized that my bald head needed protection during a recent streak of cold (for us) temperature, I found some scraps of a silk/wool blend in sport weight yarn which I had used for a recent project (see Shimmering Shells post).  I simpy adapted a  cap pattern I had written for worsted weight. The day I finished the cap was also the day that my S&B meets and I knew I would be seeing the person who had hand-dyed the yarn for me especially for the above-mentioned project. So, even though the weather had warmed up a bit, I wore the cap to the meeting, not to show off (the cap is rather simple, if adequate in it’s function), but to show my friend how her yarn would look in a different project. Imagine my amusement when her immediate reaction was, “When did you learn to knit?” Now, I am the only crocheter in this group and I crochet exclusively and she knows this. When I insisted the cap was crocheted, she replied “Well, it looked so nice I just assumed it was knitted.”

I just smiled. I knew she meant no harm or insult. But this only illustrates the attitude of some that only knit is wearable and we crocheters should be happy and comfortable assembling our acrylic afghans or fashioning toilet paper cozies. Oh, I know, I am dramatizing my point. But it just tickles me that such misconception persists.

I am reminded of the time, not long after I learned to crochet, when I went to a LYS to purchase yarn. I was still rather green around fiber, but I knew what I liked and, though my skills were rudimentary, my tastes ran toward the sumptuous and exquisite. After quite a bit of time browsing and petting yarn after yarn after yarn, I chose an incredible sable-colored cashmere. I had no idea what I was going to make with it….I was barely beyond the granny square in competence. BUT, I wanted this yarn. So, I toddled off the cashier, arms full of fiber, anxious to make my purchase. As the clerk was calculating my debt, she casually asked  what I planned to make. My offhand reply of  “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll think of somehing to crochet” was met with an immediate look of horror. With an almost violent sweep with her arm, she cleared the counter, sending my cashmere in every direction. “You CANNOT crochet with cashmere and I will NOT sell it to you”, she spat at me. I thought this was a joke so I stood there momentarily waiting for her smile. It never came. Stunned and more than a little purplexed, I left the shop in a rage, vowing never to return. I never did;  neither did any of my friends. A letter of complaint to the owner prompted a reply telling me that crochet was an inferior craft and none of their exclusive yarns were fit for my use. This was 2001, not the middle ages. This is the San Francisco Bay Area, not Timbuktu. The store is no longer in business.

I am now teaching crochet at three LYS here in the Oakland/Berkeley area. I’m thrilled to pieces that all my networking over the past year has finally paid off and I get to do what I truly love to do with a passion and get paid for it, to boot. But it has suddenly ocurred to me that my revised calendar gives me only one evening and no weekends free …every week. So my friends, be careful what you wish for!

But, I’m glad I did.


1 Response to “Fidelity and Amusement”

  1. 1 Ken
    February 21, 2009 at 8:53 am

    You know Pete, I’ve had many experiences like that over the years. Combining that with, being a black male, who by looking like a construction worker, gets stares all the while being in the store, feeling like they’re afraid I’m gonna rob them any minute, are shocked, not only of the fact I know about yarn, and worst yet, I Crochet!!

    I happened to be in one of the ritzy LYS in town, browsing around, and the owner (a Guy at that!!), watched me like a hawk….

    So, after I took my sweet time (just to work his damn nerves), I took my yarn to the counter, and asked if he had any crochet books. Politely, he said yes, just a few. So, upon browsing, I came across a issue of Interweave Crochet (the only crochet magazine there, of course). It just so happens that there was a article by Vashti Bragha, regarding crocheting styles of the 70’s, and in it were several quotes from me (yeah, I’ve been crocheting that long!).

    So, I thought it would be fun to show him the article. As soon as I told & showed him I was listed in it, his face lit up, and wanted to have me come in to his shop when he had guest designers like Robyn Chachula, and Doris Chan.

    But hey, things like that will always be. that’s just the nature of things.

    Good luck with your classes, and I like your latest sweater too!!


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