Why crochet?

I don’t mean why crochet as opposed to knitting or any other craft. Although there’s probably a post in there somewhere too. I started crocheting because I had a hook and some yarn and a spare evening and an internet connection. I never started knitting because… well probably out of some sort of pigheadedness I think. Until it’s as easy to find attractive contemporary crochet patterns as knitting patterns I will not knit. Huzzah for the underdogs!

Someone really ought to remind me of that saying about noses and faces and spite and knives.

Anyway. That wasn’t the point.

The point was why do any of these things? What’s the appeal of sitting implement and material in hand for hours manufacturing a garment which may or may not live up to the beautiful dream in which it was conceived. Why put oneself at the mercy of inept pattern writers*, unreliable colourways and fibres that don’t drape the way you thought?

Why not, as non-crafters occasionally say with a patronising smile, simply buy the blasted things?

I’ve come to realise that actually the reason why not is, and I do know how unlikely it seems as I say it, the reason why not is because we’re hooked on the risk.

The very reason why I crochet is because it might go wrong. 

It seems frankly bizarre but there you have it. The very possibility that I may be wasting my time and money, that I may reach the end of my project and with it the end of my tether and find that I have in my hands an object destined for Ravelry’s celebrated Ugliest FOs thread, is what keep me going.

Because that risk means that every time I make a stitch that is in the right place, every correct yarn choice, every tricky bit of shaping or cabling that I can pull off feels like a massive achievement. The whole thing borders on the mystical. I’m never entirely convinced that I am genuinely responsible for what emerges from my hands.

Every time I look down and think “I didn’t just utterly piddle £40 and 150 hours of my life up the wall. I have in fact used them to make a very passable sweater.” I could do a little dance. (And sometimes I actually do.)

Yes, yes, there’s all that stuff about being able to make what you want to your exact specifications and yes, if you’re any good you can. But for those of us who are still very much learning (and I hope never to stop learning) the truth is that the real appeal of crochet isn’t about the control you have over what you’re making. It’s the lack of control that’s exciting. Crochet is all about risk.

*Ahem… looks bashful.