OK, that’s not a pick up line.
Really. I’m serious.
But I’ve never traveled before. Wanna help? Do read on.
Anyone who’s ever met me, or even simply read my post Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet, can tell how passionate I am about the art of crochet. Even when you don’t crochet and never thought you’d like it, hang out with me sometime and let me share. It’s a transformative experience. By the end I’ll have you seeing magic and fireflies and wondering if you should look in the backyard of your own craft for them too. ;)
But it’s not just the art of making crochet fabric that I find exhilarating. It’s the crochet hooks and hands holding them. I love to sit down over coffee, tea and hooks with crocheters anywhere I travel. We chat, I ask questions and I study their methods, hands and hooks and stories. Why? Because each of these facets are unique.
A crochet hook in it’s most simplistic state is simply a stick with a crook on the end. And yet, the shapes vary so widely across the world.
I’ve heard that there are crochet hooks made out of bicycle spokes in Peru, that are crochet hooks on one end and knitting needles on the other. And the artists who use them will actually flip their tools back and forth between crochet and knit – all within the same project!
Fascinating! I want to see this!
There’s an entirely different kind of crochet hook used in a Scandinavian country I can’t remember the name of. It’s only a couple inches long, made from a long piece of hammered coiled metal that forms a thumb pad for holding, while the hook part itself looks somewhat like a fishing hook, except it’s not sharp. And they make socks with it!
I have to see this!
I want to sit down and crochet with these artisans and study how they use these widely different tools! How do they hold their hooks and yarn and position their hands? And what is their muscle memory background? How does this muscle history affect the technique and look that they achieve in their crochet?
Crochet is one of those arts that is present in some form on every continent and in every culture in the world. And yet, we have barely scratched the surface in comparing notes. And why is that? I mean, Japan has some crazy beautiful techniques. And there’s Croatia, which is equally graceful and entirely different! Not to mention South America!
There’s something here.
The shapes of our hooks are part of what dictates what we are actually able to do in crochet. I talk about hook shapes a lot, because for some reason, we don’t enough. And yet, obviously we need to. Once given voice, we crocheters hunger to. Once given permission to explore the possibilities, we can’t wait to hear how someone else works with a hook and learn from that.
Just take a look at the Twitter discussion we had around the world on the matter just a month ago today. You can read about that here: Did You Miss Out On This #Crochet Goodness?
My phone was literally blowing up from the activity! I decided to write a blog post about the Twitter chat so my other peeps (who are not on Twitter) could also chime in and be heard. Later that post was featured on BlogHer’s front page and people commented on how fascinating the discussion was, even though they themselves didn’t crochet.
My yarny-crafting brethren – there’s a story in here somewhere! And I want to make it happen.
I’m the little girl from Oklahoma, who made it to Texas, but has never left the contiguous United States.
Well, OK there was that customs place on the Canadian border in MN, but that doesn’t count. (Though when I was a kid, candy bars written in French and English seemed very cool.)
So here’s the deal guys.
I’ve been talking about this forever. And you’ve been encouraging me to do it forever. And an opportunity to cut my teeth on world travel fell into my lap. It’s my daughter’s high school trip to Spain. And the last stop is Barcelona – not only known for art, but it’s fiber art! :D
Granted, it’s just an educational tour for my daughter’s AP Spanish class, but it’s for 10 days and the structure and the group will be a great way for me to get my feet wet as a world travel nOOb. Plus I’ll have the benefit of going with three very well traveled teachers I trust. I’ve volunteered to help as an extra chaperone and we’ve been raising money and getting ready all year. We leave in just a few months. I even hope to arrange a meetup with Ravelry friends whom I’ve never seen while I’m there. It’s be great! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Instead of buying me coffee or sharing a ball of yarn, would you contribute to my travel campaign and help me get to Spain instead? After falling down the stairs this summer and breaking my ankle, my initial plans were set back a bit. I’m doing better now and I’m going to make it, but would love your help to secure my spot on the tour.
What am I going to do with this experience? Well, I’m going to study and write and learn of course. I’m going to take pictures and talk crochet with anyone who will let me. I’m going to be awakened, even if only a little, in the way that only travel can do. And I’m going to try to keep up with the AP students who speak more Spanish than I ever could!
But more than anything, this is me literally putting my money where my mouth is. I’m making a commitment towards what I’ve been talking about for years. I’m traveling the world for crochet. I’m going to find that story. And I’m bringing it home. Help me do it?
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