Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Product and Process - The Crochet Factory

Heather posted a comment on my last entry, wondering what happens to all the stuff I produce - why I don't keep them. She pointed out (quite rightly) that I'm quite speedy on the old hook, but why does so little of what I produce end up in my own home?

This is A Very Good Question and has made me think quite a bit these last few days (thank you, Heather!). Now, some of you are probably hoping that I will reveal a back room a-brim with underpaid German grannies, churning out crocheted squares at the speed of light. Sadly, no - I am, quite simply, very fast. I've been crocheting since I was a child, so I've had a lot of practice, and I use most of my sitting time to crochet. If I'm going to watch a film, I expect to get at least two hours of solid handicrafts done in that time.

The other thing is that I am a Process Crafter. Yes, there is a term for it. I learnt about it on Susie's blog (where, over the course of the past year, I have also been enlightened, Renaissance-woman style, on a variety of issues from soap-making to stalking cats - that is, cats that stalk, as opposed to how one should stalk a cat). Some people make things because of the pleasure of the final product; others - like me - make things because they enjoy the process. I like my blankets and my cushions and my scarves, but I never make them with me in mind: I make them because I like the colours, the pattern, the excitement of seeing something come together under my fingers. Take this blanket, for example:

Aargh! My eyes! My eyes!
It's very similar to the scrapbuster I've just finished and it's for a friend's 40th birthday. I must admit that starting the same pattern directly after finishing the last was a bad idea, because I'm finding it a bit tedious. Not least because I bought myself this book

I can't quilt. But even looking at this cover makes me want to. I want to start sewing pieces of material together now!
and I have a feeling it will Change My Life - or, if I am to be realistic, will fill me up with all kinds of fantastic ideas for new patterns. I haven't even looked inside it yet, I am saving it up for the perfect moment, and the anticipation is a delight. My cup doth brimeth over with excitement and potential.

In any case, despite the fact that this blanket has to be finished by the 20th February and I'm a bit sick and tired of making squares and I'd really like to read my new book and try something else, the danger that this blanket will become a massive chore is mitigated by the thrill of seeing it get bigger, and the improbable realisation that all of those crazy reds, oranges, yellows, pinks and purples actually work together in an eye-popping way, creating a blanket for a winter birthday, for a person who loves all things bright and sunshine-y.

And to stave off the boredom of excessive squaring, I'm knitting baby hats for a friend on the side.
Yes, I'm telling you - I'm fast.

15 comments:

Liz said...

Wow, your friend will be pleased. I am feeling humbled. For my friend's 40th this is all she got!!
http://lizinuk.blogspot.com/2012/01/adjusting.html
Hope she never reads your blog!

delia hornbook said...

Fast and super clever with a great eye for colour and what works ;-) Your blanket is gorgeous. You should really make one for yourself. I have to say i love making quilts well patchwork when that bugs hit you there really is no stopping with it ;-)) dee x

Grateful4Crochet said...

I think I'm a bit like you process wise!!
I'm also fairly prolific, and again that's down to the multitasking.
Lucky lucky winter birthday person that's getting that blanket- there is no way you could ever feel blue with that awesome shiny happy blanket wrapped around you!!

Grateful4Crochet said...

also, I'm now away to learn how to stalk a cat- quite looking forward to learning how to

GirlAnachronismE said...

Most of the things I make are for other people, so I know exactly what you mean. I think making a blanket would take me about 10 years though!

Paul & Carla said...

I wish I were fast. I am a faster crocheter than knitter, for sure, but not particularly speedy with either of them. I admire your talent, Olivia!

Shawnee's Girl said...

Dang! I was TOTALLY hoping for tips on stalking cats! Your blankets are beautiful and I love the bright colors.

Sue said...

Blimey you ARE fast! And all so beautiful too. That book looks fabulous I love anything Kaffe Fasset does have fun with your new book!

Alexandra said...

You are fast! Love the colors in this blanket :)

Paula said...

I love the blanket and all its bright colours and the hat is so cute.

This is an interesting post and after reading it I realised I'm a process crafter too on the other hand I'm also a practical sort of person I don't like making things just for the sake of making them, they need to have a purpose that justifies the expense and the time spent making them. Most of the time my excuse is someone's birthday or other special occasion so mostly I make things to give away.

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

I am mostly a process person too, but I've decided that this year I will make at least a few things for myself - so no one will thing I have a factory in the basement either.

Ati. said...

Love the bright colors of the new Babette! It will be ready in no time :)
And I warn you ;) if you start quilting it is like a virus, you can't stop either. Believe me, I know after 22 years of sewing quilts! LOL

Anny said...

I fully understand where you are coming from! It's not just the finished product but also the process, texture, colour, creating, mixing and matching! I just wrote a post about excess wooly things that I have and what will I do with them??

Anne said...

I agree, I love the doing of the project and giving it too! I do make some things for myself but more so they will be here when my son wants them some day. :) I am wondering how you join your squares in these beautiful items you make!? thanks!! :)

The Gingerbread Lady said...

Hello Anne, Sorry for taking so long to reply - I'm in an intense exam-correcting phase and all of my creativity has been knocked out of me :-(
I whipstitch my squares together. I leave a long tail and use it to join the squares to their neighbours: the stitching isn't as visible when it's in one of the colours of the squares. Some people prefer to single crochet (Br.Eng.: double crochet) the squares together, but I don't like the ridge on this kind of blanket because some of the squares are just too small. So I get out my needle and sew 'em up!