I’m old enough to remember what it was like before the internet; when letters were mailed and phones were attached to walls with wires. Back then, the world seemed larger. It was rare to know someone from another country. In elementary school I remember signing up for a Pen Pal. My teacher used a service to match us up with a child from another country. A child of the same age and similar interests who was able to write in English. I remember getting my assigned Pen Pal and writing to her on special airmail paper. This paper was so thin, it was translucent. And I remember using special airmail envelopes to mail the letters. Thin paper meant less weight and less cost to mail. I remember receiving letters with such interesting stamps. But the letters took weeks to arrive and unfortunately, I lost interest.
Fast forward 40 years and it is possible to have an online conversation with someone from across the world. No more waiting for letters with interesting stamps. You can interact via email or social media with anyone, instantaneously, as long as they have an internet connection. Current technology is amazing and constantly evolving. Not only has this opened so many opportunities for us to communicate, it has exposed us to a plethora of information to learn about other countries and cultures. Opportunities we may not have had otherwise.
The internet has had an impact for crafters as well. For those who crochet, we are no longer limited to designs printed in publications that arrive only a few times a year or books our local library may carry. We have an entire world of crochet resources at our fingertips. Ravelry is a huge resource for those who crochet. You can search designers by their country, you can search for projects with key words and you can search designs with certain attributes, one of which is “Regional/Ethnic Styles.”
September 12 is International Crochet Day. Using the internet, you can take the day to learn a new method of crochet that has a history with a culture that is different from yours. Maybe try beautiful Irish lace crochet, or perhaps try some amigurimi, traditional Japanese crochet. Or you can find a new crochet designer, one that is either from another country or whose designs are heavily influenced by a culture different from yours. Check out patterns that are inspired by the Norwegian selburose design or work up some motifs that use the vibrant colors often found in traditional Mexican design. Do a key word search for a country and see what you find. Then, take the search a step further and learn the history behind the projects. For example, a key word search of “Jamaica” on Ravelry yields 5 pages of projects. As you can guess, there are a lot of Rasta hats in that search. With a quick internet search I learned that Rasta hats represent more than just Bob Marley’s headgear. They have a rich history and represent members of a religion. I didn’t know this before. My interest in crochet has led me to learn more about another culture.
Another idea to celebrate International Crochet Day on September 12 is to learn how to read crochet charts. Charts are universal to any language. If you can read a chart, then you can work a charted design by any international designer regardless of the language. Just be sure to find out if the symbols are written in US terms or UK terms. Not sure of the difference between US crochet terms and UK crochet terms? Research it! It’s international!
So, how do I plan to spend the day? Not sure but one of my favorite Mexican inspired designs are crocheted sugar skulls. Sugar skulls are used in the Mexican celebration, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and are used to celebrate, not mourn, those who have passed. Perhaps I will spend International Crochet Day making a sugar skull or two.
How will you celebrate?