Not a Good Sign

Apr 13, 2005

As many of you know, Debbie Stoller (the fun, feminist knitter who brought us the bestselling Stitch 'N ***: The Knitter's Handbook and Stitch 'N *** Nation books) is now working on a crochet book. Stoller's previous two books are credited with helping to bring about the rapidly spreading popularity of knitting amongst young women. I own and love them both, so I was predictably looking forward to her as-yet unpublished crochet book to radically launch crochet into the daily addictions radars of millions of women just like me and you.

But now I'm beginning to wonder. Stoller was quoted in an article in SFGate.com today (any Bay area readers able to share whether the article was also in the printed San Francisco Chronicle?):

"You know, I never really understood why people say that they either crochet or knit but don't do both. They are very similar, and although crocheting may be a bit more limited in the scope of projects than knitting, I'm excited about exploring crochet, what makes it special. I've already got some great patterns going."

I'm not sure that I want someone who doesn't see crochet as limitless to be spreading the word about my craft. Yes, I'm feeling territorial now. And yes, I'm feeling defensive, too. I mean, it's just not my brand of enthusiasm to say, "Hey, this thing is pretty cool. I mean, it's not as cool as that thing over there, but it's still cool." No way. If you're going to write a crochet book to follow in the footsteps of the Stitch 'N *** knitting books, do it right, Ms. Stoller. You bet crochet and knitting are different, and each has its positive qualities depending on the type of project you want to do. But it's certainly not the case that either one is more "limited" than the other.


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Comments

Catana wrote
on Apr 10, 2005 9:51 AM

I thought the first S and B book was great, even though I haven't done any knitting in years. But if Ms. Stoller is ignorant about the differences and the many interesting things you can do in crochet that you can't do in knitting, then she has no business writing a crochet book. I was looking forward to her book, but ...

joy wrote
on Apr 10, 2005 10:00 AM

I like both SnB books, yes, but I've heard very negative things about the way these books are produced. To hear this comment made by Debbie Stoller is, sorry to say, not very surprising. From this article, she obviously shows she is not "well versed" in crochet nor is she very confident in crocheting as a craft in comparison to knitting. I totally agree with Catana's comment - she should just stick to knitting books. Is "cash cow" the phrase I'm looking for? I think so, but feel free to correct me.

Karen M wrote
on Apr 10, 2005 11:08 PM

Ms. Stoller has a point, but she fails to mention...knitting is rather limited as a craft too. If the article doesn't need to be stretchy and form-fitting, please don't think you can make it in knit. Doesn't work. In fact, *I* think that knitting is far more limited in its uses than crochet. Not that I'm biased or anything (and not that you could tell from my blog these days).I really don't care for the SnB books - I own the first one, but almost never use it, and you couldn't get me to own the second one if it was a gift.

Kari Holtz wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 2:07 AM

I don't think it is right to compare knitting to corcheting or vice versa, they are different animals. Yes, there are similarities and such but they are different. I choose to learn both as I admire design styles from both aspects and wish to be able to do both. However crochet is my first love. I don't think either is more limited than the other and the thinking they are is kinda closeminded in my opinion.

lacy wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 3:34 AM

well they obviously both have *some* limitations... but we come up with ways to fix that all the time =) why would anyone say something like that to the press anyway? seems pretty rude...but i guess she doesn't care about those who already do it because we don't need to learn! it would upset me to no end if i would have sent in a pattern for use and then found out that my art was being snubbed by the person taking submissions for patterns!! booooooooooooo i was looking forward to seeing the book but now i'm not so sure. her email is debbie@bust.com i think we should politely let her know we aren't happy! bitching here won't change a thing. go to the source =)

K. Anne wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 4:32 AM

Crochet is limited? Maybe by her own lack of imagination! You would think someone out to promote their upcoming endeavor would strive not to shoot themselves in the foot!Makes you wonder why she is doing a crochet book at all. As far as I can tell anything you can knit (general design wise) you can crochet. Sweaters, afghans, bags, etc. It's just personal preference on which technique you want to use.

Caz wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 5:14 AM

I'm really tired of these knitting snobs. Most people I know can knit *and* crochet, but prefer crochet. Lots of these new style feminist knitters annoy me. Fist it was uncool to be into any kind of crafting. Now it's the hip new thing that they're trying to reclaim. I think people who love crochet should be the ones to publish books about it. Not some opportunist. I recall Ms Stoller calling crochet necessary to cast on/off on knitting. There's a myriad of books written about crochet by crocheters that you can buy or check out at the public library.

heather wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 7:08 AM

Hate to say it because I did like her snb books, but I agree. I've crocheted for longer than I've knitted and I really enjoy them both. Crochet is definitely not any more limited than knitting or any less cool. She's got it wrong.

kay wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 8:09 AM

Let's hope she eats those words later.

Carolyn wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 9:50 AM

I don't think crochet is limited at all! That's such a funny thing for her to say, because I've been telling people that the reason I love to crochet (and prefer it to knitting) is because of its versatility. With crochet you can go in any direction, make any shape, create anything. People have crocheted with food, crocheted swimming suits, crocheted cases for musical instruments!

Even wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 4:19 PM

I wonder if she is trying too hard to cater to her 'knitting' audience by echoing (initiating?) fears about what crochet can do.Most of the needlework books in Japan include both knitting and crochet, not like they are the same, but as though they both have great possibilities and many needleworkers would of course know both. Novel, huh? I do both, although I find it easier to design in crochet, and I think it is great when they are combined either in the same design or book etc. I think Debbie Stoller is mainly trying to offer something to a mainstream audience. By mainstream, I mean people who want their projects hand fed to them. This opens up alot of people to craft and I think is largely a fine thing, but there are certainly those who don't want or need that sort of approach. Her contradictory comments seem to stem from trying to walk a a fine line between the two techniques which she has invented herself. I read in her call for patterns that she will go back to knitting again and told fans not to worry. This reads to me like an apology for going over to 'the dark side.' Pretty funny. I hope the book turns out well and helps younger crocheters and those in need of easy ideas, but like the above poster said there are many many other resources available to creative minds.

Sara wrote
on Apr 11, 2005 9:52 PM

IMHO, Crochetme is an excellent springboard for a book. Knitty.com did it, and so can you. This site is a perfect example of how hip and fun crochet can be. I have never understood the animosity knitters have against crochet. Years ago Vogue did a special crochet issue and some knitters were quite miffed about it. HUH??I also notice that knitting mags will have ads from all these yarn manufacturers, and crochet mags won't. Is there a law that says only knitters may use scrumptious yarn?? Sit down with a great yarn and crochet in public. Trust me, you'll have plenty of people approaching you and asking about crochet!

Kim wrote
on Apr 12, 2005 3:05 AM

I'm curious to see how this will unfold in the coming months. Crochet is definitely on the rise in terms of popularity and coolness. I agree that any implied or explicit competition between crochet and knitting is silly and unfounded. Having a preference for one over the other doesn't mean that one is *better* than the other. I'm actually glad that so many of you read her quote the same way I did. After I made the blog post initially, I wondered if maybe I was just misinterpreting. But that was silly. Her comment was made in context, and it definitely implies (whether she means to or not -- remember, it's not like I actually asked her to clarify) that crochet just isn't as good as knitting.Sara - I'm taking your book comment to heart! (Wink.)

Lauren wrote
on Apr 13, 2005 4:10 AM

I sent a complaint directly to Ms. Stoller. (got her email address from her site www.knithappens.com) If anyone else would like the email it is debbie@bust.com

Lauren wrote
on Apr 13, 2005 4:16 AM

Oops...sorry... I didn't notice someone else had already posted her email address...by the way, I told Ms. Stoller that if she believes crochet has such a limited scope of projects as compared to knitting that she should not publish a book about crochet until she can expand her limited scope of thinking!

Jenne wrote
on Apr 14, 2005 1:49 AM

After reading that quote, I'm a lot less enthusiastic about the book. Shouldn't someone who is passionate about crochet be the one to write this book?BTW, I like your blog. It's nice to see crochet-specific blogs in a knitting-dominated world.

Amy wrote
on Apr 14, 2005 4:48 AM

I think Debbie needs to pick up a hook and learn how to crochet. I doubt she knows how. Anyone who can make an ignorant comment like that must not know a thing about crochet. That was stupid...

dave wrote
on Apr 15, 2005 2:36 AM

i am finding that a lot of yarn companies are catering to the knit fashion and leaving the crochet fashion out of the picture. i am a crocheter and i make a lot of items for my wife.it is tought to find any up to date ladies fashions in crochet patterns.

mk wrote
on Apr 17, 2005 3:10 PM

Wow, this is a lot of negativity going on here! Let's all keep in mind that Ms. Stoller was quoted as saying "may be a bit more limited in scope of projects". This could very well mean "may be a bit more limited in the number of hip, up to date patterns" - the very reason CrochetMe was started. I suggest reading Ms. Stoller's call for submissions for the crochet book (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=25594.0), a post she wrote herself, in which she says "crocheting is just plain better at certain things than knitting is", among other things.

Happy wrote
on Apr 25, 2005 5:26 AM

I think that crochet is actually more limitless than knitting. I do a bit of both, not accomplished at either, and find that there are things in both knitting and crochet that one or the other is a better use. I love them both for their own special attributes. They are not the same, but they are same enough that you should at least give both a try. As for S&B, well, her name is big and I'm sure she isn't going to do/say anything that would make the art less appealing.

Joy Hayworth wrote
on May 20, 2005 7:42 AM

How truly disappointing that she said that. Even if she didn't mean for it to carry a negative message, it wasn't a very carefully thought out comment. I knit and crochet and to be honest, knitting kind of stresses me out. I don't cry when I drop my crochet. :)

Andrea wrote
on Jul 4, 2005 9:55 AM

I was going to respond to today's post, but that page is acting up for me. Here's my comment: is it any surprise that we don't want to waste our money on "dated, bland, unimaginative offerings for crochet"? ;) I've shelled out for "Cool Crochet", but "Hip to Crochet" only has *one* pattern that tempts me... that's not enough for me to justify the cost of the book.

Crochet me: The Blog » Crossing the Divide wrote
on Jul 11, 2005 8:46 AM

[...] ;s blog post about crochet and knitting. She’s put it well. There was quite a bit of discussion on this blog about the soon-to-be-released Stitch N *** Crochet: The Happy Hoo [...]

Shanelle wrote
on Jul 20, 2005 5:16 AM

I was so excited to see this post! Personally, I am Soooooooo tired of hearing that crochet is "limited"...I myself think that is so far from the truth. I have been crocheting for 12 years (I'm only 31 now) and I have ideas and patterns that I have been wearing and selling (I sell custom bikinis and dancewear) for years, maybe it's comments like that, that keep crochet designers/artists from trying to really go "outside the box" and create something other than the same old patterns we see all the time...I plan on changing that ;)....hopefully we will see some Really new designs/patterns published soon..hopefully some will be mine, I'm working on it ;)

Erin wrote
on Jan 6, 2006 3:18 PM

she is trying to appeal to young audiences or people who believe fluff. She is demeaning to women at best. She does not write her "best-selling" books as she touts in media. Others write the patterns and submit them more than likely along with instruction. The great author she is.

Libby wrote
on Jul 16, 2006 3:19 PM

i just taught myself to crochet from her book and i couldn't be more happy with it! she in no way makes crocheting seem not as good as knitting. she, in fact, says that as a child she began crocheting before she ever knit!

i like it... if you haven't even read it, don't trash it!

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Carly wrote
on Dec 27, 2006 5:48 PM
Oh wow, seems like debbie pushed some of the wrong buttons. I doubt she did it intentionally, and it seems to that the crochet fans are reading way to far into this comment!

I love her books, crochet and knitting, and she has done an amazing job. Why do you really care about this imagined knitting vs crochet thing? It only exists because of discussions like this!