Monday, April 6, 2009

Good Crochet Weekend

I had an excellent crochet weekend.

Friday I finished the Soft and Simple Choker by MaryKate Newcomb from Jewelry with a Hook. Version 1 used size 8, ecru perle cotton thread and glass, silver-lined E6 seed beads in a rainbow of colors. I did all the beading on Thursday while watching a movie. The pattern called for 214 beads, but after I counted 210, I strung a bunch more just in case. I did the actual crocheting in a few hours, making the beading the most time consuming part of the project. It was my first experience with bead crochet. The hardest part was stitching into the foundation of beaded chains, though I'm not used to working with thread, so that could be part of the struggle. I managed to get the bead closure and ends woven in before I left the house for a Crochet/Knit meetup, so I was able to wear the necklace out. I got compliments on it before I told the group that I made it. Score one for me!

Saturday night I spent a while working on part of what will be my entry for the Northern Illinois Crochet Guild's contest. The theme is summertime, and for the purpose of this post, I hope I'm not supposed to keep my project a surprize. I'm going to crochet a scene of a dude laying on a beach. I worked on the dude. So far I've got his legs, swim trunks, and 1/2 his torso complete. The trunks don't come off; I used a joining technique that makes the body come out of the trunks like a real body would. He even has a belly button. I thought about working on other parts first, but I need to know his size to have everything else in proper scale.

Today I crocheted up version 2 of the Soft and Simple Choker. I wanted to see what it would look like on a heavier yarn. I used a black sport weight microfiber with the same beads. Stringing the beads was much more difficult because some of the beads' holes were too small for the thickness of the yarn while stringing, though I was a bit faster at it since it was my second go. I used a G hook, which was quite a bit larger than the C I used with the thread. Crocheting into the foundation of beaded chains was easier this time since the chains were bigger, but the microfiber is always a bit splitty so it still felt slow-going. I didn't have the pattern with me, so I did it from memory. I sat there for 1.5 hours and almost finished the crocheting. Since the chains with a G hook were so much bigger than they were with a C, I used fewer pattern repeats for approximately the same length. I'm sure I'll be pissed I see how many beads go unused when I'm finished, but better to have strung too many beads than too few. I think it looks too bulky, but Victoria said that it was pretty. It will be interesting to compare them when I'm finished.

There are 2 other things I did, unless I forgot something. Friday I wove in the ends of the All Shawl I finished a few weeks ago. I did my first blocking, even though it was a cheater block. Since it's synthetic, I just wet it and put it through a spin cycle in the washing machine. I laid it out on the table down there to dry. I could tell that the mesh opened up a bit and the pineapple edging became more defined. I'll check it out tomorrow. The second unexciting thing is a pink and white block I'm making for charity. At last month's NIC meeting a woman came requesting 7"x7" blocks for an afghan(s) she'll be selling to raise money for (i think) Breast Cancer. It'll be done after another row or two and a few border rows.

In conclusion, given the amount of sleeping I did Saturday and Sunday, I feel quite accomplished.

Enough is Enough!

One time I was out to dinner with my grandparents and I used "y'all." Since I've lived in the Midwest my whole life, my grandmother asked what was up. I said that a greeting of "hi, guys" has always bothered me. She agreed. Since she thought "y'all" was silly, I asked her what she prefers. She said that she preferred "Hi, folks!" because "hi, guys" sounded rude. I have to admit that I thought there would be more to it for her, since there's much more to it for me.

My degree is in Women's Studies. The first WST class I took was a philosophy class. I'm smart, but reading philosophy is about as easy for me as reading legalese. The only thing I learned from the class was about language. It's generally assumed that when the old philosophers say "man" and "mankind," they meant "human kind." However, when they talked about women, they were very specific. When they said that women were misbegotten males, they meant just that. Thus, the use of "man" and "mankind" also meant just that.

I also took 3 linguistic classes which included the politics of English, language and culture, and an independent study on language and gender. To greet a group of men, you say "Hey, guys." To greet a group of women you could say "ladies," but it's more common to greet a them as "guys." If you referred to a mixed-gender group as "ladies," the men would consider it an insult. If that group was womanless, the men would totally flip out. I'm well aware that this is a pretty minor example of patriarchy, but I hate it hate it hate it. I believe in the politics of language. People made fun of me for using "y'all," but it was a political choice.

At this point I know you're thinking to yourself "Robyn, what is this political post doing in your new crochet blog?" Well. I think it's high time that crocheters finally get our fair share of attention. I have nothing against knitters, but I am so over the knitriarchal system whereby crochet is the other yarn craft. Just as I'm sick of being "you guys"ed, I'm sick of going to "Open Knit Nights." At first I rebelled against the knitriarchy by meekly calling yarn crafting events "Knit and Crochet Nights" so I could include myself. Then I got a little prouder and switched the order to "Crochet and Knit Night," even though knitters always outnumber crocheters.

I feel that now is the time for the next step. Fellow hookers: if knitters can lump all the yarn workers into the "knitter" category because more concise, why can't we do the same? The only rationale I can come up sounds a lot like why "hey, guys" and "hey, ladies" are not interchangeable, and I think that that is unacceptable.

I hereby pledge to give myself, my fellow hookers, and our craft due credit. While I respect all yarn crafters, it's time for me to respect myself, and my kind, first. I vow to replace knitriarchal phrases with crochet-loving ones. From this point forward, I will focus on myself and refer to all yarn events with phrases such as "Crochet Groups" and "Open Crochet Nights."

Um. I think it's time for me to bind off... this skein is out of yarn.