Why crochet?

After knitting for forty years, I just learned to crochet this summer. I wanted to learn because it seemed (and I have found it to be true) easier to think in three dimensions, sculpturally, in crochet than it is in knitting.

I have a theory of why this is so: in knitting, you always start from a line (a row of stitches), which is a one-dimensional thing. You can expand into two dimensions (a flat piece of fabric) or into three (a tube or other shape), but you always have to think in terms of that first line—you are never free to just meander because you always have to be aware of what the rest of the stitches in your line are doing and how they are affected by what you are manipulating on a particular stitch. With crochet, you are starting from ZERO dimensions (a single point) and you can wander in any direction (including over previous stitches) without (much) distorting any other stitches. So you can build an abstract 2- or even 3-dimensional shape one stitch at a time, organically if you like, and it is easier to improvise and create a 3D shape on the fly. I hope to translate this to something like 3D sketching eventually; with a pencil I am not a fast, intuitive sketcher, but I can do it after a fashion, in a kind of slow analytical way, which may actually be a good fit for what I want to do with yarn. The very small animal and human figures I want to make are relatively quick projects (they don’t require many stitches, though the tiny stitches are made pretty slowly most of the time) and are amenable to improvisation.

Here’s an example of what I’ve been trying. This is a simple model of Olly the LAFC falcon. The real Olly comes out and flies around the stadium before every game of the Los Angeles Football Club. Since I’ve been a wannabe falconer for decades, I had to try to make a tiny model of her. I started from a nice pattern for a budgerigar from ObscurelySmall on Etsy, and made extensive modifications to get (somewhat) closer to a falcon look.

So here’s my first recommendation for anyone interested in micro-crochet: check out ObscurelySmall’s patterns and finished pieces. The patterns are not extremely detailed about some of the finishing steps, but the designer has worked out proportions and basic stitch/round numbers really well, and the illustration photos give you a lot of help. I’ve bought quite a few of these patterns to help me learn basic techniques and establish proportion references and have learned a huge amount from them.

Falcon feet

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