Ariel's craft journal (dragoncrafter) wrote,

More ramblings: crochet & colorwork

I learned to crochet when I was thirteen and did a lot of it for years. I made a few socks in college, but I didn't really get into knitting until my senior year of college, late 2003, when I was twenty-one. And then I decided I liked it. I finished Alya, crocheted a bunch of snowflakes, and then forgot about crochet until I decided to make my sister's Christmas present.

It's been a very long time. I'd forgotten just how fast crochet is. Especially openwork-in crochet, unlike knitting, openwork actually goes faster than just flat fabric. And I also like how easy it is to frog crochet-there's only one little loop to pick up at the end.

Despite this, I think I definitely like knitting better.

It's a lot harder to do crochet without looking than it is to knit. Not impossible, but a lot harder. Also, it's easy to miss things in crochet. It's hard to miss working a stitch in knitting, because the stitch is right there at the end of your needle. But crocheting into a ch-1 space? Easy to skip.

The other thing I don't like is the way I have to count all the time. I'm making fishnet now, and it's "chain 7, sc." I have to count to 7 over and over. I can't just "purl this panel" or "knit the knits, purl the purls" or any other sort of knitting from contextual cues. I have to count and count and count.

Weird as it may sound, I like having to knit into stitches, rather than being able to crochet into whatever. It means that knitting is a fundamentally digital craft, whereas crochet is more analog-and the way my mind works, digital is good.

I also am a lot happier with knitting's approximations than with crochet's. In knitting, you approximate "the mirror image of k2tog" with "ssk." This is almost true. In crochet, on the other hand, you have to approximate things like "double crochet" with "chain 3", which is not remotely the case, even from a topological perspective.

Finally, I like that knitting gives you softer, stretchier, thinner fabric than crochet. It means that cables aren't hopelessly bulky, and gloves and socks actually fit and are possible to get into.

So, although I may do a few crochet projects when it's really the best tool for the job, I think I'm much more of a knitter now.

Moving on to another subject, let's consider multicolored knitting.

I'll say it right up front: I do not like doing stranded multicolored knitting. I do not like having to pay lots and lots of attention to the tension in my yarns. I much prefer cables and lace, where just making the correct number of stitches gives you about the correct tension. I think I tried intarsia once, and it was annoying for tension reasons as well.

So this can be read as a list of excuses to myself why I don't have to do it. If you are a huge colorwork fan (irihs, I mean you), take this with a grain of salt.

Some colorwork patterns I really like. Alice, for example. The patterning on Baby Norgi, aside from the pine trees and reindeer. And most of irihs's stuff is gorgeous.

The thing is, though, irihs mostly does vaguely abstract stuff, with a lot of really well-chosen colors. Her colorwork seems to be focused on just the color, and not on the patterns the colors make.

This, I think, is the only way to make colorwork work. Abstract patterns let you just look at the interplay of colors. But if you just want to make something that looks like, say, a musical score, or a tree, or a diamond shape, colorwork is not the way to go.

My contention is that, if you can do it at all via cables or knit/purl/increase/decrease textures, then you can do it better that way than by using colorwork.

Look at Elsebeth Lavold's cabled runes, and compare them with Fair Isle runes. Or consider the spider from the Walker treasuries. You just try to tell me you could do something that good with colorwork.

What I don't like about colorwork is that it is pixelated. Not only that, it's really oddly-shaped pixels. It's like Kate and Pocket Creatures, from the latest Knitty. I don't like Kate because she looks like a failed cat, and I can't get past that. With most colorwork patterns, I can't get past how pixelated they are.

So if I want to make knitting that looks like something, I'll stick with cablework or lace.

Tags: colorwork, crochet
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