I’m of two minds about rules.
On the one hand I am at heart an academic, I love to study and learning the rules to any given matter is exhilarating to me. To delve as deep as possible into the knowledge base of a matter is intoxicating; I adore knowing things. Even better, I am fueled by using that knowledge, and better yet? Passing that knowledge on to others.
On the other hand, I have this rebellious streak. Once I learn as much as humanly possible about a subject, I MUST test the waters and see how strictly those rules must be obeyed. Why are those rules there? What else could be done to improve upon a standard set long before I (little jackanape that I am) came along?
When it comes to crochet, I was taught a set of rules by older relatives, who themselves were taught rules by others. No one questioned those rules, either due to respect of age or skill. I didn’t start questioning the creative rules until less than a decade ago. Until then for me crochet was lace, all manner of lace, and the occasional novelty item. Yet, deep inside of me was that little girl who broke the rules, but once mind you, asking how to crochet a sweater. She got told, “Oh no, you knit sweaters. If you want to make a sweater you have to learn to knit.”
The rule was, crochet was lace.
Part of me still sees crochet that way, the part of me that has crocheted so much lace over the years, that invariably most of my projects have some kind of lace like element. My hands and fingers know lace, lace and I are friends. I KNOW lace, and it knows me. Then I broke the rules…I made a crocheted sweater. Heck it was just a blankie with sleeves! It wasn’t hard, there was no mystery to it, and it was and is comfy, and pretty in an organically hippie kinda way. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but on a cold and damp September morning it sure feels good.
Often being of two minds on various issues, I long ago sought to integrate my thinking. It doesn’t have to be rules or no rules. I still hold by learning as much technical knowledge as possible, because it makes breaking the rules that much better!
So when I taught my own daughter to crochet four years ago, I didn’t tell her crochet was only for lace. When she asked what could and couldn’t be done, I asked her what she thought. When she wanted to know how to hold her hook and yarn we found a way that was comfortable for her. Then, when it came to what fibers can and can’t do, I told her the basic information, then handed her scads of small balls of my hand-spun in every fiber imaginable for her to play with…Oh the results were amazing. Watching her freely create, and only imbibing her with the rules of the craft when she asked for them, or when she was having more trial and error than necessary to that fragile beginners ego, I gained a new sense of my own creativity.
Today she still likes “Mom” to make most of her things, but she has made her fair share of projects…these fingerless gloves she made herself are some of my favorites.
She made them in the winter months when we were snowed in, they aren’t “matching”, they are her “funk-tional” gloves…
The hats she and her brother are wearing were also made by her, she learned a few things about hats in making them…she was so proud when she finally understood the shaping from the crown, without needing me to tell her “one more time” how to decrease, but not “too much”.
She ignored my “rules” about color changing, and did her own thing, which ended up showing on the one hat, but not the other. Live and learn…sometimes being creative and learning the rules, requires trial and error.
My favorites are still the gloves (and they are her favorites too!): I like that in those gloves I see the rules and breaking the rules…and her creativity will only blossom further, we do not know it’s bounds…
Of course, do any of us? Do we really know the bounds of our creativity?
If you know a few of the rules in crochet, see how many you can purposely break today and let your creativity flow!