Today I am bringing you a guest post from my friend Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch. She is going to tell you why you should practise your secondary craft (or as she calls it, ‘ 5 Reasons to be Multi-craftual’). Sarah taught me to knit socks on our Bloggers Weekend, and I am pleased to say that I find great joy in knitting my socks (very slowly)! If you have a secondary craft that you have neglected, I hope this post encourages you to get back into it.
5 Reasons to Practise a Secondary Craft! (or ‘Reasons to Be Multi-craftual’)
by Sarah Knight
Although I learned to crochet shortly after starting to knit, (I can sew and spin a bit too), I’ve spent five years considering myself to be ‘A Knitter’. Knitting has definitely been my primary craft. Despite this, I was keen to contribute to the Last Dance on the Beach crochet-along in memory of my friend Wink, and after some initial moments of panic (I’M A KNITTER!) set about designing my own motif (a simple one – I’m a knitter, you know!) and sent it off. Some of the other motifs looked complicated – I’m great at granny squares, but not much else – there were bobbles, puffs, clusters, cables, overlays, front loops, corner to corner… The reality of this only struck me later – I love a good ‘craft-along’ and there was no way I could miss Wink’s final CAL which I’d helped to design. But… I’d have to crochet all those squares.
Of course, the beauty of a CAL is the amount of help available, so I armed myself with some hooks, chose my yarn and gritted my teeth. That was six weeks ago. Now we are half-way through the motifs (there are 12 in total) and I’m absolutely loving it. In fact, I’m getting so much out of it, I think we should all regularly switch to our secondary crafts. Let me tell you why…
I like an easy life as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s good to have a challenge. To bite off more than you think you can chew. No matter how many different knitting techniques I try it’s still knitting, so it’s pretty easy for me to learn. Yet practising my crochet, and especially doing so using patterns from lots of different designers, has involved a much steeper learning curve. And here’s the thing – the challenge is fun! I haven’t even watched any of the supporting videos (yet!) and am figuring it all out from the written patterns as this is something I typically struggled with (it’s always felt like an indecipherable foreign language to me). So far, so good!
It’s a thrill
The feeling I had when finishing the first week’s squares – and they were the right size, and looked neat – was nothing short of thrilling. I’m so comfortable with knitting, this kind of feeling is much harder to come-by, I have a higher ‘knitting-thrill-tolerance’. I’d forgotten the feeling of success at something new, and it’s so good.
It uses different muscles
From a purely practical point of view, I tend to get RSI when I knit too much, but hate to sit still without making something. This means it’s easy to overdo it, and then spend days in pain (seriously, too much knitting and the next day I wake up with claws for hands). Crochet has allowed me to take a break from knitting, and to stay productive while giving my ‘knitting muscles’ a break. A change is indeed as good as a rest.
This has been the biggest benefit so far. I’m learning so much and feeling confident about tackling each new motif – I will be able do it, even if it takes a few attempts to get gauge or to practise a more complicated stitch. Beyond the CAL I’m seeing lots of projects I wouldn’t have tried before, but which suddenly look achievable. I’m no longer afraid to switch the hooks around to get the right gauge and I’m feeling able to ‘bodge’ things when necessary to get them to work, just like I would when knitting. In other words, I’m starting to feel confident in what I’m doing. I feel much more like ‘A Knitter and Crocheter’ now (I even changed the tagline on my blog).
With a growing confidence and greater understanding of how crochet works, new ideas are popping into my head all the time and I’ve been perusing a stitch dictionary and choosing yarns to plan some swatches for some crochet designs. It’s been a while since I felt so inspired and I really didn’t expect that six weeks ago. Who knows what the next six weeks will bring.
So tell us, do you consider yourself to be multi-craftual? Are you equally competent in multiple crafts or do you have a strong dominance in one? What happens when you mix it up? Leave a comment to let us know. And if you haven’t been practising your ‘secondary’ crafts lately, give it a try – you just might surprise yourself!
Sarah blogs several times a week at Crafts from the Cwtch. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook and Bloglovin’.
This blog post contains affiliate links. I only link to products I personally use or would use. All opinions are my own.
Karol Beaufore says
I am am a multi crafter.I Crochet, Loom Knit, and Crazy Quilt. I do switch from one to the other sometimes when making a long crocheting project I willtake a break by loom knitting a baby blanket dish cloth or other item. Just to take a break. In between crochet projects I will do a square for the crazy quilt I hope to have done one day.
Wonderful! So lovely to switch from one to the other!
Oh how I can relate!! I never considered my self “crafty” simply because as I was raising my kids as a single vet tech mom- my crafts consisted of crocheting and feeding baby opossums or squirrels! I always saw the crafts the other mothers at my kids school did and thought, gosh, I’d never be good at that.
But since I have been a painter (oils, watercolor, acrylic) and pencil artist since I was very, very young, I just thought of myself as an artist. I taught myself to crochet at 12 and knit as an adult, as well as tapestry weaving. I had a go at loom weaving once and loved it but have no room or $$$$ for a loom.
What I have learned since all of this, is that we are all ARTISTS! with a Capital A as Robert Bateman told me once. Crochet, knitting, spinning and weaving are ALL art forms to me and they have really grown into art worldwide.
Why Sophie’s Garden or Universe alone- sheer ART!!! It just takes my breath away!!
I made 2016 the year I would improve all of my crafts and someday learn spinning as well as I work toward a dream of opening a Fiber Arts Gallery and Store in my small town. Our only LYS closed as the owners retired and even though I am 61, I can see myself sitting in my store with lessons of all kinds going on being surrounded by mountains of gorgeous yarns. Weavers and spinners up here never had a place to teach or exhibit their ARTS and that is one thing I want to change.
Sorry for the rant but this post is SO inspiring!! Thank You Dedri for having Sarah be a guest post.
Dedri Uys says
I like your idea of a Fiber Arts Gallery! I can just picture you the way you described :)
Oh I totally agree with this! So many people fail to identify as ‘creative’ or ‘artistic’ but you are right – we are all Artists. I hope you get your Gallery – it sounds amazing :)
Lovely post. I knit, crochet and sew. I go through phases where I knit or crochet more, depending on my mood and what projects I’m drawn to at the time. I grew up sewing, and cross stitching, and I still do a bit, but not as much as I’d like, mainly because I find sewing less portable and less easy to pick up and put down than knitting and crochet and I have a busy life at the moment. I’d love to learn to spin one day!
Dedri Uys says
Ooh, spinning is on my to-do list too :)
Hi Kate – thank you for your kind words. I also took up spindling a few years ago and that’s very portable – although I did get a few funny looks at the side of the swimming pool! Anyway, I got a spinning wheel and stopped spinning… it had become something that I’d have to keep still to do, and that just didn’t work in the same way!!! Do give it a try, it’s lovely! :)
Kate Britt says
Multicraftual. Excellent word!! ………..
I’ve tried many crafts and arts, building up an “aresenal” of interests and abilities that keep my artistic soul happy and moving forward all the time. Not only do I like to try new artistic pursuits, I also like to try a new approach when I start a new project in a familiar craft/art — new techniques, new stitches (for yarn and sewing crafts), new color combos (using colors I normally wouldn’t use, or don’t like, can be a challenge, LOL), etc. ………..
What happens when I mix it up? Re-inspired! I get that excitement bubble in the lower plexis, and the bubble carries forward into the next project. ………..
Another challenge — try one of your crafts with your non-dominant hand. Have fun!
Dedri Uys says
What an inspiring comment, Kate! You are so right. My am in the process of teaching myself to crochet left-handed. Or, more accurately, I am letting my right hand teach my left hand, because my brain frizzles when it tries to get involved.
YES!!!! This. Exactly this!
The main crafty things I enjoy are knitting, crocheting and sewing, although I like trying new things and have dabbled in practically every craft available.
I am in the last stages of crocheting a king sized bedspread of 10cm squares – 19×22=418 squares – and have done the first round of the border. I have to admit that I was pleased to get to this stage but now it has to be temporarily abandoned as I am about to move house.
I feel so sorry for people who get bored. Me? Never!
Dedri Uys says
My hands are also always busy, Kathy. Good luck with your move!
I agree – never bored. Also, we had a powercut and the rest of the family were lost without electricity, but I was really happy that I could sit and make something without interruptions.
Marjolein Flick says
Great blog post! I consider myself Multi-craftual. My main craft is crochet (it is also my work) but I do spend a lot of time behind my sewing machine to sew clothes for both my girls. Their wardrobe consists almost of handmade clothes only. But I can also knit (although I almost never do), cross stitch and I was a scrapbooker for years.
Dedri Uys says
Hi Marjolein. I do a fair bit of sewing too, but less often lately.
c’ est vraiment trés beau ce granny une trés belle couleur et le point j’ adore de jolies photos belle journée a bientôt
Hi. I’m sure I have a OCD….ObsessiveCraftingDisorder. I do what ever….and love it!
I do cross stitch but it is hard to get back to it because you see the results much faster with crochet. However I just purchased a pattern and will work on it during the summer when I am not making crochet gifts for Christmas or in between – hopefully. I also do Theorum which is an old Pennsylvania German folkart of stenciling on antiqued velvet.
Dedri Uys says
I have never heard of Theorum, Peg. I am googling it now!
This came at the right time. An avid knitter, I soon will need to return to crochet with arthritis cramping my style. I paint rocks, needlework, sew too. So with all of the new (to me), wonderful and colorful CALs and yarns, I am squirreling away crochet patterns and kits for the day very soon when I can say, “hey, I’m a hooker.”
Dedri Uys says
Maureen, I am sorry to hear that you struggle with arthritis. I hope switching between crochet and knitting will help alleviate your symptoms.
I sew as well as crochet and love the two co-existing. Crochet can be done in front of the telly and with sewing I can actually finish a project in a few hours. Plus, I cannot choose between fabrics and yarn, I love them both.
Dedri Uys says
Esther, I have so much beautiful fabric, but no time to turn it into something pretty! What to do?!