Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Can you resist the fig-leaf bikini?

I may live to regret this, but tonight I think I'm going to break one of the cardinal rules of yarn blogging and say something negative. Please hold your rotten tomatoes till the end, folks. I promise you'll get a chance to throw them all.

In a discussion at the Crochet Liberation Front board at Ravelry, ProperTrappings (who for some reason does not have a blog I can link to, boo) asked if anyone else was familiar with this book:

So far, I'm the only person to admit to seeing Hookorama, and, as I explained to ProperTrappings, "and to be totally honest, I’ve since cited it as one of the reasons knitters think crochet is crap."

Hookorama is filled with bright, cartoony patterns for things I can't figure out a single use for. The thing everyone, myself included, brings up first is the Garden of Eden section with the fig-leaf bikinis. It's not that I'm opposed to crocheted bikinis (though you'd have to be daft to go in the water in one) or even fig-leaf bikinis, necessarily -- I imagine there are designers out there who could make them look beautiful. But unfortunately Hookorama's version looks more something the goofy middle-school kids playing with construction paper came up with. (I can't find a picture online, so I guess you'll have to take my word for it. Or not.) And then there's a lot of cartoony fake fruit... I cannot recall a single pattern I felt would be useful enough to make. ProperTrappings rightfully points out that it's probably aimed at the teen market and anything that gets people interested in crochet is good, but to me, I can't help it, it looks like a crochet joke book.

But why does that bother you, Mad Crocheter? Don't you have a sense of humor? You really are mad, aren't you?

Well, to answer those questions:

1). It bothers me because for some reason, Hookorama is one of the few crochet books I've seen in multiple LYS (local yarn stores, Mom, just in case you're reading). Yet I can't find a copy of Everyday Crochet -- a book hailed for its creative yet wearable garments -- in any of them. Maybe Hookorama looks like a cute, fun, colorful book, and I'm sure lots of people have picked it up. But I'm equally sure most of those people put it back down -- only two Ravelry users have done projects from the book, and one was a contributor to the book and the other one frogged the project . And I'm also sure quite a few of those people were knitters who, as they put it down, made disparaging remarks about the fig-leaf bikini, followed by "but what can you expect from crochet?" I understand that there's not as much of a market for crochet as knitting right now, and therefore I don't badger my LYS owners to stock more crochet books, knowing I'm just one person and I barely know any fellow locals who crochet. But when that precious crochet shelf space goes to a kitsch collection, how will anyone ever know there's more to crochet than that? My Google research suggested the book was originally published in 1980 -- if true, that's a long time ago. There's been a lot of innovation since then, in both knitting and crochet. Why can't we have new stuff instead of kitschy reprints? Is the market really that bad?

2). I do have a sense of humor, and sometimes it even intersects crochet. But amigurumi takes care of my humorous crochet needs just fine, thanks. With style and creativity in spades. The Japanese are currently reinventing crochet, but I'll save that for another time.

3). Not mad so much as frustrated. The cycle as I imagine it: LYS owner doesn't know much about crochet. LYS owner stocks book because it looks bright and colorful and will look nice on the shelf next to SnB: The Happy Hooker. Crocheter picks up book. Unless crocheter has a fig-leaf fetish, crocheter puts book down, figuring LYS has nothing for crocheters. Knitter picks up book. Knitter puts book down, figuring crochet is just as tacky as they've been told. Book doesn't sell. LYS owner figures no one wants crochet, and doesn't stock more crochet books.

And now, because even though I broke a cardinal rule of yarn blogging and am now a jerk, I don't want to be a super-duper jerk (by yarners' standards; I think those are stricter than most bloggers' standards): If you are one of the writers or designers of this book, please understand: I don't want you to starve, I don't hate your work, I know there's a place for it. I just wish there were a place for the new things too.


Oiyi said...

There is nothing wrong for being honest.

Diane said...

Books like that give crochet a bad name. I'm not a crocheter myself, I knit, and there are some awful knitting books out there too.

I'd love to see a pic of the fig leaf bikini, lol!

Gotta Knit! said...

Um, there is a cardinal rule about yarn blogging? Blah! It's your blog, blog what cha want.

Have to say I occasionally see wonderful crochet patterns but it's like they are a animal out in the wild. You can't blink and must move slowly.

I'm still trying to get over those awful tube socks in Stitch N Bitch for crocheters.

By the way, 1980 WASN'T THAT LONG AGO!

Kim said...

Preach it, sister!

Alenna said...

Ugh. Fig leaf bikini?
*hugs sensual crochet and amazing crochet lace tightly*

If you want to bitch about a book, do it!

Eve said...

I've got to tell you, her book for knitters, Knitterama, is just as bad. Sometimes it isn't the craft that's questionable, it's the designer. And for the record, this is just my humble opinion.

Monnibo said...

There are awful books that can give ANYTHING a bad name. Good for you for expressing your honest opinion - that's what your blog is for.

P.S. Surfed over from Ravelry.
P.P.S. I was hoping for a picture of this fig-leaf bikini. Boooo. Lol :) Just joking... now I'll have to keep an eye out for the book, of course keeping in mind how tacky it is.

Michelle said...

Hi - new to your blog, as I saw your comment on crochetme about the "knitting daily TV" stupidity and I so perfectly agree with you!

Anyway, I spotted this book at Kinokuniya the other day and I thought it was taking the piss out of crocheters. Knitters do that enough, I reckon - I don't need to read a so-called "crochet book" to have the same thing happen!

Tacky, tacky, tacky, in my opinion. There are much better crochet books to get.