The first time I realized I crocheted differently was about three years ago. I was crocheting on the train on the way home from work, minding my own business, when a woman across from me asked, “Are you crocheting?”
Since a lot of people don’t know the difference between knit and crochet, I assumed she was just asking which hobby I was participating in. I assumed she didn’t know how to do either, because most people who ask me what I’m doing when I’m crocheting have never picked up a hook or needles. I assumed she was simply amazed that I was turning a string of yarn into a pair of baby shoes before her eyes.
But she wasn’t amazed, she was confused. When I told her, “Yes, I am crocheting” she wrinkled her eyebrows together in the middle of her face and said: “You crochet so weird!”
At first I felt shocked and a little insulted, then confused myself. I crochet weird? What does that mean? Am I actually crocheting? Has my whole crafting journey been a lie?
After a brief moment of panic, I gathered myself together to ask her, “What do you mean?”
“The way you wrap the working end of your yarn, I’ve never seen anyone crochet like that before.”
The panic subsided and it became clear to me what she was talking about. Before learning how to crochet in college, I learned how to knit. The habit of wrapping the yarn over with my non dominant hand was already ingrained in my fingers and it mindlessly occurred over and over, even after I picked up a crochet hook for the first time. Most crocheters, however, use their dominant hand to rotate the hook to wrap around the yarn instead.
The whole debacle was cleared away as I explained my knitting and crocheting lessons and we both had a good laugh about it. But the encounter sticks with me to this day. How could someone tell a stranger that the way they do something is weird without a second thought? It seemed awfully bold, especially because at the end of the day, I was still crocheting, wasn’t I? I was still completing crochet stitches that added up to finished crochet pieces. Why did it matter how I did it or how I learned to do it?
I still get comments like that all the time.
“Your tension is way too tight!”
“That pattern calls for 3 chains at the end of the row, not 2!”
“Why are you joining with a slip stitch instead of crocheting in the round?”
People are constantly questioning the way I choose to crochet, challenging my decisions, or just telling me what I do is so weird.
But I’m still crocheting, and I still love it. Over the last five years, I’ve learned exactly what I need to know to crochet the way I want to. My hook and I are great friends, and I know the stitches like the back of my hand. I know the way to get the end result that I want, so who cares if I break the rules every now and then? It’s what makes my work unique, truly mine, one of a kind.
Crocheting isn’t always about following the rules or the pattern you were given. Crocheting is about making something that was once a ball of string come to life. Something that hadn’t existed moments earlier. Something that brings a smile to everyone’s face, but most importantly, to your face. Because there’s no point in crocheting if you don’t love to do it. And it doesn’t matter how you get there. There is no wrong way.