Before I picked up a hook for the first time, I considered crocheting to be a craft most closely related to knitting. After all, you often hear the words “knit” and “crochet” in the same breath. But it didn’t take me long to realize that, for me, crochet is more like polymer clay work than any of the other crafts I do.
I’ve been thinking about this connection since the first time I found myself digging through a pile of yarn looking for the perfect colors to join together into a square. It’s a process reminiscent of the first stages of polymer caning. Pawing through yarn or pawing through little packages of clay, the process is much the same. In both cases, you are in search of three or four colors that will look magical together, and you are envisioning how they will interact.
Building a granny square blanket is very much like building a cane, especially if you work primarily in square-shaped canes as I do. Building a cane, or building a granny square, you start at the center and work your way outwards. Then you assemble multiple squares into a complex design. The media and methods are different, but the conceptualizing is much the same, and I’m realizing that’s the part that grabs me about both crafts.
As you know, my background is in polymer. It was my medium of choice from 1996 until I bought my sewing machine five years ago and went fabric-crazy (followed by yarn-crazy). Of all the fiber-related crafts I’ve dabbled in since then, crochet is the one that has felt most “familiar” to me since the get-go. It’s almost sculptural in nature. The part of my brain that lights up when I think about crochet projects is the same part of my brain that dances at the thought of a new cane. I am positive that my recently-rekindled interest in polymer is due in no small part to my newfound crochet skills.
Sure, not all crochet is colorful and square-shaped. And sure,you can play with color in your knitting or your sewing (quilting lends itself especially well to this idea of building squares). But I feel that polymer connection flowing more organically with a crochet hook than it does with any other fiber-related tool I have tried.
This is one of the reasons why I was so excited several months ago to try making a granny square cane in polymer. I mean, it just makes sense, right? But I had no luck. Maybe I was trying to be too complicated with it? I was attempting to add shading in the right places to make the individual strands of “yarn” visible. I was trying to make the idea modular in some way, so as to allow many different combinations from one set of canes. I was just being complicated. As is often my problem.
So, this morning, I saw that Cynthia mentioned me on Polymer Clay Daily. She’s been playing with the granny square cane idea after purchasing a tutorial that I can guarantee you is way more simple than I was trying to be (this is a good thing, by the way). I had all but given up on the idea of making crochet hook handles with granny square cane designs on them, but I suddenly have a renewed interest. I now know that it can, indeed, be done. And it looks nifty.
Polymer people, if you haven’t picked up a hook yet, you should give it a try sometime. It’s a great way to exercise a love of color from the comfort of your favorite spot on the couch. Plus, it’s much easier to whip up a granny square while waiting in the school pickup line than it is to do millefiori!
I wish I didn’t have a full agenda today – there are visions of granny square canes dancing in my head now.