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Saturday, April 03, 2010

This Isn't a Craft Blog, Per Se...

I've crafted from my earliest memory. My grandmother taught me to embroider at her knee when I was just about 6, and I collected scraps of fancy fabrics (whatever Mom found along the way) and tried to sew doll clothes by hand. I hadn't a clue how, of course, but I tried, draping bits of velvets, satins, and crepes and wrapping them on my fashion dolls.

Then Mom taught me to sew, on her old treadle sewing machine when I was in 5th grade. I should have done as I threatened, when a degree in ballet was refused by my father, and majored in Home Economics. Do you ever wonder "what might have been?" That's my query - what would life have been like as a public school teacher? But I was a feminist and such a life was not what I dreamed of...I didn't go to college out of spite (and you know what happens when we bite off our noses in those cases, right?)
Anyway, as usual, I digress...this is about crafting. In fact, it's about Green Crafting.

Mom sewed, knitted, crocheted, and tatted. She taught me the first two, but not the last. I taught myself many other things: macrame, counted cross-stitch, quilting, and crochet, primarily. But I never learned to like crochet, in fact, it hurts my wrists.

This week, I spent some time, as I often do, researching Green Issues, and everything converged in one simple pattern I discovered in a message board on Ravelry.

I've knit dishcloths forever, but these crocheted scrubbies caught my fancy. The folks in my new "Trash to Treasures" group on Ravelry (I'm a new member, they've been around a bit!) make these from plarn (that's plastic shopping bag yarn - yes, the ultimate in upcycling, it's yarn created by taking plastic shopping bags and cutting them into same-sized loops, connecting them, then crocheting them into these critters:, you're very correct, mine are made from cotton yarn. Dishcloth cotton to be exact. But that's because I have very, very few plastic bags - the ones I have I keep in reserve to stuff wet knitted wool bags while they dry into felted bags. I don't want to make plarn from them.

Notice anything about that photo? The scrubbies are 1) different sizes and 2) progressively neater (the one in the middle is the neatest).

Remember I told you I taught myself to crochet? Well, I picked it back up this week, but all I did was grab an instruction guide and remind myself of the components of the stitches. It wasn't till tonight, after making the green/ivory and the red tweed/ivory scrubbies and being very unhappy with them, that I sat down with the guidebook and really read it. (Yes, sometimes you really really do need to "read the destructions," as my friend Lynette says)

I was trying to hold the yarn in my right hand with the hook (I am an English-style knitter, so I throw with my right hand). The tension of the yarn in my hands made for very sloppy scrubbies. But that red/ivory one in the middle? It was done in a fraction of the time, and once I put that yarn in the correct (left, for me) hand, everything "connected" in my hands!

We have memory in our hands (tho' I can't cite scientific studies for my claim). But I believe it's what makes speedy typists (and data entry operators, which is the work I did to put myself through college after "biting off my nose!") and concert pianists. The memory basically bypasses the brain, the brain has to be a conduit I suppose, but the fingers hit the keys or the yarn comes into the fingers and memory takes over - not "brain" memory...finger memory. It's "touch-do." See? No brain-power involved!

(And by way of explanation: I'm using up stash cotton yarn, which is as good as upcycling plastic bags, in my book. These little critters take very little scrap yarn, and will make great pot scrubbers in Christmas kitchen gift sets this year.)

Oddly, so far, my hands aren't hurting, which is good. But, oh, my. I surely hope I don't end up with another obsessive/compulsive craft! This crochet stuff is fun!


Thea said...

My dad has a theory about crafts, that it often feels like it's a compulsion because it satisfies a basic need, that we are meant to actually make our own clothes, shelters, etc. I'm still not convinced though.
I'm glad your hands aren't hurting, have fun with the crochet!

Ruinwen said...

How adorable! Isn't that funny that I've been doing the same things but for face scrubbies...though yours are prettier with all the fancy colors and starburst patterns!

And I so get the wrong hand to YO in crochet. I spent half the night one time trying to figure out why I couldn't crochet anymore...duh...wrong hand. lol

La Cabeza Grande said...

Here, here! For being a self-taught crocheter, for using up those bits of leftover yarn and for your fingers remembering how to crochet.

BTW, I hold yarn in my left for crochet and my right for knit (I'm a thrower).