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