Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Does Mine Look So Different?

Many of today's crocheters are 'self taught'.  Seeing cute stuffed toys or the latest "gotta have crochet fad" has made the casual onlooker an avid YouTuber looking for 'How To's' on everything from single crochet amigurumi projects to wearable crocodile stitch, rubber soled shoes.

But why so many differences in appearances?  I mean, aside from individuality of the people who are crocheting the items? 



In the image above, which more does your work resemble?  They are each made with a Size 7 Crochet Hook, Each has the same number of rounds, the same number and type of stitches and each uses the same exact hank of cotton.   Each is even stuffed with exactly the same amount of "filling" (which is a 1.5 plastic bags) and were also crocheted by the same person... so why do they look so much different?


A closer look might suggest that different crochet stitches were used.  But I assure you - they are both crochet'd using simple single crochet stitches - nothing fancy, nothing unusual - the same single crochet stitch that is used in tens of thousands of crochet projects. 


So if everything is the same, then why do they look so different? 
I am a firm believer that there is "no wrong way to crochet".  Crochet is an art form - therefore, 
art in and of itself can't be "wrong".  It can be criticized, disliked or even hated - but that still doesn't make it 'wrong'.

Okay - no more guessing games.  I will let you in on the 'why'!  One is "inside out".  I say inside out, because there is some debate as to it being "wrong side out".  

In Japan, where art of amigurumi is said to have originated and where working in the 'round' in a continuous spiral is more the norm, than working in the round with a join; many artists actually complete their entire project with the "wrong side out".
Whereas, in the United States and other English speaking countries, where most have been crocheting in the 'round' (with a slst and a ch-1), there is definitely a "right and wrong" side; just as there are for other stitches in crochet, such as the Popcorn, Bobble and Loop Stitches.

So a look at the "wrong side" :



The most notable difference is going to be the little horizontal bars that grace the showing side of any piece.  These are highlighted by the black circle above.  To me, personally, I find them unappealing - they don't look like they belong - BUT, that could just be because I was taught this is "not the right side".
My biggest issue with working this side out actually has nothing to do with the 'looks' of it.  Nope - my issues comes when it's time to 'close' it up. 
Working with this side as the right side, I have to work counter-clock wise and with my hook in the 'inside' of the work - so closing becomes a very tight squeeze.  In fact, in these two pieces in the photos, I stopped decreasing at 18 sts in the round.  Which was only starting to become challenging (as the free edge was getting in my way).

I have had a good friend who crocheted like this.  That was until I saw her doing it and smacked her hand with a ruler - okay, just kidding on the ruler part (Catholic School joke I am sure not many will understand).  But I showed her how to crochet the way I did and she found it MUCH easier and much faster.

So, with that lead in, this is what MOST (in English speaking countries anyway) consider the "right side" of crocheting in the round.






Whatever your preference, and you really should give both a try to discover which you prefer, crocheting is about YOUR art.  

Your ART is an interpretation of what YOU create from putting fiber and hook together.  What really matters in the end is not the "right side" or the "wrong side" or why stitches looks so different from a photograph, it's about how YOU feel about your finished project.

Imitation is not the most sincere form of flattery - it's actually the least.  Allowing your own individual personality shine through, because you are inspired by someone - THAT is where true flattery comes in.