After reading several posts at Crochet Partners message board, I decided to test my theories by hosting a poll at the ChezCrochetGazette, through email, and by collecting various posts and comments relevant to the concept.
The original posts at CP maintained that Knitters have a higher quality of patterns available in modern publications, and why can’t crocheters get that level of quality in patterns? Why do crochet magazines insist on printing only silly or utilitarian projects, instead of beautiful clothing like found in knitting magazines?
Why do crochet magazines use the most expensive yarn on the market and super simple patterns in their clothing fashions? Do publishers believe that crocheters are not as passionate about their hobby?
(It is a simple fact of business that Yarn companies pay for advertising and even supply free patterns to magazines and books as promotional and marketing tools for their more profitable products. This explains why patterns within publications use the most expensive or newest fibers from the yarn companies.)
One person posted that some yarns are actually better suited for crochet, but that most seem to be interchangeable with knitting. I would have to disagree with that. I can go down a yarn counter and pick out the yarns that were designed by a knitter or -at the very least- were never tested with crochet... and that would include most of the novelty and current fashion yarns.
I truly believe that most of the fuzzy, fluffy, furry, and super slick yarns, ribbons, & threads were never meant to be crocheted. But some tenacious crochet designer refused to give up on those ‘forbidden yarns for knitting’ and created patterns to utilize those wonderful yarns.
Why all this preferential treatment to knitters, but not crocheters? I have thought about this for years, and conducted the survey and polls to find the answer. The polls and survey that I did are not scientific, by any means. However, they did provide me with enough information to validate many of my beliefs, but surprised me in others.
JUST THE FACTS:
For those who responded, they consider crochet both a hobby and a passion. The majority the respondents are in their 40s and 50's, with 30's second and 60's third. A whopping majority, 72% have been crocheting for more than 16 years. Most of us learned from our Mothers or Grandmothers, or are self-taught. A small number learned from a class or from friends. 71% of us knit, but only 33% of us learned to knit first.
When evaluating what to buy and what not to buy, Cost was the most important criteria. Personal preferences, preferences for gift giving, and quality of fibers/patterns all took a distant second to Cost. Some folks mentioned allergies to various fibers, ‘not enough time to try new things,’ and ‘climate prevents working with warm fibers’ as reasons for not buying certain things, but again, these were a minority of answers.
The list of fibers crocheters wanted to work with: Cashmere, Silk, Alpaca, wool, natural fibers, and ‘expensively soft.’ The number one reason they did not work with these fibers was Cost, practicality second, and allergies to certain fibers last.
As for the projects crocheters like to do: gifts were number one answer and utilitarian projects a close second, cutesy or holiday projects a distant third and only 2 people claimed to work artsy projects.
For the folks who participated, 10 - 1 they preferred to work with classic patterns, & simple yarns over the trendy fashions and yarns. Various reasons included the durability of the yarn, as well as, the durability of the fashion to last and be reused in the future.
Many folks preferred the simple yarns, so that the stitching would be the focus, instead of the yarn.
Only one person made a statement about disliking the tactile experience (hand) of working with scratchy acrylic. On the other side of the coin, one person said that she preferred acrylic over other yarns like cotton, because it lasted better and was cheaper than anything else, so she could make more things.
Only 7% of the respondents do not work with second hand yarn (skeins from yarn swaps or CP Recycle contests, inherited from others, bought at Flea Markets, garage or estate sales, or thrift shops).
Only 10% do not look for or purchase supplies (including hooks, publications and yarn) from Flea Markets, garage or estate sales, or thrift shops.