Dudes crochet

While Drew Emborsky has made a name for himself as “The Crochet Dude,” Drew is far from the only “dude” crocheting, and this point was driven home to me in twice in the past week.

The first time Wednesday afternoon when I was working on a project in a public space. A young man asked me about a project I was working on and then patiently listened to my lengthy and enthusiastic answer.

It turned out that this young man who lives in California and works for the Red Cross was called to work in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to assist in relief efforts for those affected by late April’s tornado. He had begun his travels with a 4.25mm aluminum Boye crochet hook and a scarf that he had hoped to work on while traveling, but the hook was confiscated at LAX, and he had to proceed with his travels, sans crochet hook.

The second time was earlier today (a million years ago it now seems), when I met Todd Paschall of Crochet By Numbers fame.

When I found that my travels would take me to the Atlanta metro area for several hours, Todd graciously agreed to meet me, and over chicken and biscuits, I learned more about his crochet journey which began when he was 17 when his sister taught him how to make a single crochet stitch. He found crochet to be a very relaxing craft, and from that moment, he was “hooked.”

Despite ribbing from friends, he continued to crochet; one of his early projects was a king-size afghan for his mother done in single crochet.

After high school, Todd’s life went on as many lives do: he worked, married, and had children. Then one day at work, while looking at a picture of his children, Todd thought that there must be some way to use crochet to create portraits in yarn.

Using a labor intensive combination of grids and written directions, Todd began to bring his idea for crochet portraiture to life.

He soon realized that a software program could do the work more efficiently than he was able to, but at the time, he lacked the resources to hire a programmer. He mentioned this to someone who suggested that Todd learn how to write computer programs himself.

One year later Todd had created the program needed to make Crochet By Numbers a reality.

Over the years, Todd’s crochet portraiture has evolved to include many tributes, including this portrait of Elizabeth Taylor:

Elizabeth Taylor crochet by numbers
Crochet tribute to Elizabeth Taylor

Todd’s excellence and innovation in crochet has also been recognized at the national level.

First at the 2003 Crochet Guild of America Chainlink conference where his won the People’s Choice Award for this tribute to Billie Holiday:

Billie Holiday crochet by numbers
Todd Paschall’s crochet tribute to Billie Holiday

and again in 2010 when his work placed in the 3rd Annual Vanna’s Choice┬« Contest with this portrait of (who else?) Vanna White:

Vanna White crochet by numbers
A crocheted portrait of Vanna White by Todd Paschall

So what I was reminded of in my travels this week is that children can change and inspire their parents, and that men are the equals of women in crochet, if not yet in numbers, at least then in skill and innovation.

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8 thoughts on “Dudes crochet

  1. Being a guy that knits and crochets I get my fare share of comments, especially at markets where I sell my wares. Just yesterday one lady found it hard to believe that I made most of the stuff on my table. I’m also in the process of taking over a crochet class from another guy because he wants to take his wife on a holiday.

    1. @Richard, best wishes with your class (and all of your other endeavors, crochet or otherwise.) @Spring, how awesome that you are a left-handed crocheter. I hear of so many people who didn’t get to learn because they were left-handed and no one figured out a way to explain/show it in reverse. @Jenny, I haven’t had any trouble with my one Boye H hook that I have taken with me (I check my Etimos and Clovers), but I felt absolutely awful for this young man as he had weeks and weeks of non-stop work, and it would have been nice for him to have had that flight to ply his craft, @Lyn, I think crafting is so relaxing, I’m glad they’ve been able to do needlepoint.

  2. I tried to teach my husband how to crochet, but he was done with it after only 10 minutes. (Part of the frustration could be that I’m left-handed and he’s not.) But I love when I find out that a guy does some sort of crafting. I like when they don’t let stereotypes keep them from doing what they want to do. In my eyes, that fearless attitude is SO much more manly than the guy who refuses to learn because it’s “girly.”

  3. I agree with you Spring…. and while my guy of 40 years does not knit or crochet he did for a long time needlepoint – as did his younger brother, and they were both far better at it than I!!!

  4. Each airport must have different rules because my cousin was able to travel and bring her hook on the plane.

    I was crocheting in a restaurant once when my male waiter told me about this big burly guy friend of his who would come home from his manly job, take his shower, then go sit and crochet.

    I agree with Spring. And the road should go both ways, we should encourage those guys who are manly enough to crochet, knit, whatever it be, just as they should help and encourage us if we desire to pick up a hammer, drill or turn on that table saw.

  5. The ‘crochet by numbers’ seems very masterful, but can be done using intarsia or a converted graph chart. Simply replace the symbols with numbers.

  6. Crochet By Numbers is a spin-off of intarsia. It is not unique by any means since all one has to do is simply add numbers to a charted pattern instead of symbols. Intarsia for crochet can be easily learned for free on the internet.

    1. The really exciting part of the spin-off is that Todd Paschall has software that allows him to create patterns from your personal photos, so a favorite pet or much adored grandchild can be the image that adorns an afghan, pillow, or small throw. For anyone interested in learning more about what Todd offers, check out his website.

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