I'm coming out of the closet ... | Buzz Blog

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm coming out of the closet ...

Posted By on December 28, 2009, 3:15 PM

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... the crochet closet, that is! (Oh, what a droll lede ...)

Yes, off and on for years, I've been a devotee of Grandma's favorite time- and yarn-wasting pastime. There's something about constructing an object out of a repetitious and tedious series of individual stitches that soothes those mildly OCD nerves -- and then, of course, once in awhile you complete a project and are rewarded with a doily or some equally useful object.

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But it's a cruel, cruel world and, up till now, I've been reluctant to reveal my secret crochet activities to all but my closest friends and associates. People laugh at big, burly men who crochet -- who can say why? -- and I haven't yet figured out how to pitch it as a thoroughly butch activity. (Its kinship with knotwork really ought to justify the sailor angle -- but then, it's hard to picture, say, Scylax of Caryanda with his strapping seamates aboard a trireme passing their spare moments making granny squares.)

But recently, I became interested in teaching myself amigurumi, the Japanese art of fabricating ultra-cute (or just plain weird) anthropomorphic characters using only single-stitch with a relatively high tension.

Projects can be completed in hours rather than weeks, which makes it easier to explain -- and people seem pleased with the results.

Amigurumi also appeals to my authority issues, because it's about dreaming up and designing your own projects -- often improvising along the way -- rather than following a predetermined pattern.

So, I spent weeks manufacturing tubes and spheres, then working up to eggs and oblongs and some odd-shaped volumes, learning how they come together and figuring out how to join them.

I wanted my first project to be something a bit weird and creepy, and here is the result:

click to enlarge octocrop.jpg

"Mr. Octopus"

I was encouraged, but Mr. Octopus had a few technical problems (there are some visible decreases and joins underneath), so I spent a few more weeks figuring out how to solve those. (Undoubtedly the learning process would go faster if I had a mentor or even just a good book on the subject, but it became something of an engineering project to me, and I wanted to figure it out on my own.)

"Miss Octopus" isn't pictured because I don't like her tentacles -- but, technically, she was an improvement on her predecessor.

Then came a series of fish. Here's the second one, which is the best fish so far:

click to enlarge fishcrop.jpg

"Fish II"

Most recently, I wanted to make something for my mother-in-law, who has a passion for seasonal decorations: 

click to enlarge snowmancrop.jpg

"Snowman"

I forgot to add a weight to the bottom, so it tips over easily, but I'm starting to think that using more colors is the way to go. Plus, accessories!!!

So, there it is. I'm out, loud and proud -- and it feels good to get this off my chest.

Maybe this will inspire other men secretly struggling with crochet to take charge of their lives and choose a path of openness and dignity. To them, I say: Courage, my brothers! The day will come when no man will need to endure a shameful existence trapped in the crochet closet.

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