Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are Crocheters 'Cheap?'

I read this in a Ravelry group discussion:

Why will a knitter drop $60 - $100 for a sweater, but a crocheter won’t?

Why do crocheters seem to take fewer classes at conferences or yarn/fiber festivals than knitters? Are we better at it or just cheap?
Why do so many LYSs (even crochet friendly ones) have such a hard time filling crochet classes?

If you do take classes…do you like classes about techniques, a particular project, how to design, other (please share)?
When you take a class around a particular project…do you want it to be small so that you can finish it in the class?
If you do take a technique class, should there be a finished project at the end or is a series of swatches enough?

How is a class around a specific project different than a crochet-along?

Do you think classes at LYSs are more about selling the yarn than teaching the student something more about crochet?

I’ve never taken a class at a Michaels (do Wal-Mart, Hobby-Lobby, A.C. Moore or Jo-Ann’s give crochet classes?) Are they about techniques or finished projects?

Or what’s the ratio?

How far would you drive to take a crochet class at a LYS? What would need to be special about the class to get you to pay for it and drive there?

If money was immaterial, what would keep you from taking crochet classes?

I thought this blog entry was interesting, although dated.

Do you think more people crochet in the southern regions of the States than Midwest/north/Canada?

Is crochet really divided across generational lines? If so…to what degree do you think?

Do crocheters do more for charity projects than knitters (projects per year per crafter)? (I couldn’t get real numbers on Ravelry for this). Is this why we’re “cheap”?

Do you buy crochet patterns in LYSs or do you prefer to download them from online, or via magazines?

What’s would be your ratio of purchased vs. free patterns completed?

What makes a LYS crochet-friendly…good attitude or an inventory of patter patterns completed?

What makes a LYS crochet-friendly…good attitude or an inventory of patterns, hooks, thread? classes?

Here's my take on the subject:

In a word……YES!!!

Of course, there are exceptions (if you’re not, then I’m not talking about you!!…so don’t get upset with me!)

I find that, overall, knitters tend to spend their money on ‘quality’ of yarn, whereas crocheters tend to spend their money on the ‘quantity’ of yarn

Things have been changing over the years, with newer yarns that’s more affordable, as well as the mindset of who and what the average knitter/crocheter are today. It’s no longer something that just elderly women did to keep busy (not that there’s anything wrong with that either,of course!) ;-)

As a former crochet teacher to primarily seniors, I find that most crocheter tend to not want to spend too much time and money on just one item. The few knitters I come across tend to be more concerned on what type of yarn and where they buy it.

Here, in Philadelphia, we really only have one crochet friendly LYS, called Jane’s Yarn Shoppe, but most people still tend to but their yarn at the local craft stores, that are mainly in/near a shopping center, where they can can multi-task to do other things.

Another thing I find that a lot of crocheters aren’t technically skilled as they would like to be, and aren’t willing to both take the time and expense to improve their skills.

I’m always asked if I can ‘simplify’ a pattern or a idea, but they’re not willing to pay me for it.

Each year, at our annual Knit/Crochet Out, there are less people that attend, mainly because, due to the decrease in donations, the ‘free’ items have been dwindling. We might not have one this year.

So, no matter how you phrase it, until we as crocheters, that want to improve our status as not being ‘cheap’, we need to go out and promote crochet more, step up our skills, shop at the LYS, demand better service and respect.

Otherwise, we’ll be still asking the same question years from now.


theyarnproject said...

Hmmm...good question. I don' do classes because, for me, learning from a book is the best way. SO many people tried to teach me, and it just didn't work...now, the book...well, that worked.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken: I was curious about your input on above question. I do both crafts, but prefer crochet. I will answer some of the questions posed.
I started seriously crocheting 3 years ago, BTW.
-Not sure it is fair to categorize crocheters as cheap--3 months ago, I shelled out $100 for some yarn that I have yet to use. (The most, BTW, that I have spent in 1 go for yarn.) Even that took time for me to commit to.
-Youtube videos are the main source of my learning/new stitches.
-I do not attend any advertised crochet classes, but have attended about 3 knitting classes. Why? No one around me seems to know more crochet than me/what I've found online. My LYSs are all teaching beginner level crochet classes. What of knitting classes? Three-four times as many are offered.
-Definitely I have found that my LYSs are more about selling more yarn. Especially now. I currently do not frequent them as much.
-Overall, my crochet projects tend to the smaller side. However, I recently completed a crochet skirt (free pattern) that required about 2,700 yards of yarn that I purchased online.
-I download (free) almost all my crochet patterns. I have paid for some knit patterns at my LYSs.
-My completed ratio is: about 50% of downloaded crocheted items. I have yet to even begin a purchased knit pattern. I also subscribe to 2 crochet magazines. Not many completed projects there either.
-Crochet-friendly store? That sign is super cheap & easy to have printed up. YLS still do not stock from any-to-enough fine crochet threads/yarn in any form, let alone interesting colors. They all prefer to purchase lace/sock weight yarn, say it can be crocheted & call it a day. The "we can order anything" line does not work for me. If I have to go online to check out the available colors, I may as well hit the BUY NOW button while I'm there.
-In this economic climate, no LYS will spend more than they have to just because some crocheter 'might' come into the shop to buy. Knitters are a sure thing, so stock up on what they will buy.
-Last, but not least... :) I find that my overall personality tends toward the hermit. I wonder that the 1 (one) hook thing of crochet tends to feed this tendency, and so my preference: vice-versa is always a possibility as well! When I do crave knitting, I am almost driven to go and do it in a group which drive btw, (compared to the solo crochet hook) may have something to do with the 2+ needle set required for knitting.... :)
NOW, I cherish my LYSs for the hooks & needles they sell. I can feel them, see how I might hold them, etc. I also purchase my tools at craft shows, but rarely online.
Alright: this has been long. Hope it helps to gain additional perspective! Cheers! CH

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well I tend to make a lot of crochet projects and then give them away to friends or to charities. I recently just finished up a 'global' friend give away by making Hogwarts type scarves for my online friends and mailing them all over the world. From Scotland to Indonesia (I'm in Canada).

As for classes, In the city I'm in I haven't heard one peep about classes. I'd be interested if only to meet other crocheters. I learned from my grandmother and don't know of anyone else my age who does crochet and I'm not that young either.

When it comes to spending money on yarn, I'm cheap. I admit it. But I will still go and buy it, i just tend to go for bulk purchases and use every little scrap. Yard sales are my favorite place to find yarn.

Carol said...

Yeah, I'm a little cheaper with my crochet than with my knitting. That said, I won't buy the cheap cotton from WalMart or other stores for my laces. They're stiff, they split, and what should be airy froth just isn't. I figure I'm making heirlooms, and the materials used should reflect that. For baby blankets, and te like, well, being able to machine wash and dry the things is vital. A good acrylic yarn will do. When I knit, it's pure pleasure: I love good yarns when knitting for myself. For the kids, well, that wash and dry thing kicks in again. For gifts, again, I like real wool, and sometimes I spin it myself to get exactly what I want.

Anonymous said...

I am both a knitter and croceter. I choose my yarn for either fiber art based on its intent. i am not cheap, but I do craft on a budget, as do many of my friends. Also, remember that it takes more yarn (about 50% more) to crochet than to knit. I prefer the versatility of Crochet for shaping my projects. There are classes in both knit and crochet in my area, but i prefer to learn from books, such as The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. It all just depends on the person.

AmberCake said...

Saw your Cotton Jeff Cap on Ravelry and came over. I think you're right about more crocheters being seniors, which leads to budget and shopping place restraints. I also find that crochet, when compared to knitting is:
-bulkier (by nature - knitting is loops of yarn, crochet is knots of yarn)
-takes more yarn (if using the same yarn for the same size object, because it's bulkier

Being faster & bulkier make it better suited for large items like blankets. Which means even MORE yarn. It's one thing to spring for enough fancy yarn to knit a small sweater, another thing for pay for fancy yarn for an afghan. Faster also means you're tearing through the yarn stash faster. Lots of crocheters I know will zip through making a blanket in a couple of weeks.

There's also the chicken & egg issue: lots of us associate crochet with garish bulky items made with cheap yarn. Knitting used to have a bad rep, but now we've seen so many gorgeous things in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, yarns, that there's something to excite everyone.

All of which means that I totally understand what you're seeing. However, I do think that if LYS's would take a little effort to display well-designed and executed crocheted items (no massively bulky man-sweater disasters), they could create their own markets for more crochet. And they certainly can be NICE to crocheters. Even if they don't even know how, a friendly "Oh, wow - that's great it's for a crochet project... I'm not as familiar with ______ for that, but I could help you look it up." So much better than "Oh. Crochet, huh?"

And anonymous had a good point about crochet "string" - fine crochet yarns. I think knitting people who are fiber and textile nuts would LOVE what you can make with fine crochet, but you don't see the supplies, the classes, the tools to do it.

Anyway, keep up the hooking.

Anonymous said...

Why do crochetiers, use such garish colors. I see beautiful work, yet the colors are ugly and outlandish.

'THAT CROCHET GUY!!' said...

Well, they say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'