Crochet by Rita van der Klip

As some of my patient readers may have noticed, I know a lot more about crochet than I do about photography. I do my best to take and present pictures that accurately represent the work, but the photos are, for the most part, not grounded in technique but rather the automatic settings of my camera.

Whenever I set out to photograph my work, I am reminded of the words in a slim volume of photographs taken by Eudora Welty, titled One Time, One Place.

In the preface she describes how she returned home having recently finished college and got her first job with the Works Progress Administration. As part of her job she was sent out to write about and document the projects that were underway in the State of Mississippi including newly opened farm-to-market roads, airfields, bookmobiles, and other works. She soon began taking a camera with her and created a visual, as well as written, record of the people and things she encountered.

The merit of the pictures, she asserted “lies entirely in their subject matter.” She felt that “taken all together, they cannot help but amount to a record of a kind — a record of fact putting together some of the elements of one time and one place.”

The topic of today’s blog presented me with challenges and laid bare my ignorance from the start. I am hoping that there is sufficient merit in the subject matter that my readers are able to glean something of value. First there is a picture of the book I wanted to examine:

An excellent crochet book
An imperfect picture of an excellent crochet book

When I pulled this volume from my bookshelf, the cover did not appear to be all that shiny, but when I attempted to photograph it, the sheen was evident. I did not know how to take a better picture, and so I made do with the photo I had gotten.

Next is a series of photos of the the window covering I created using the instructions and guidance contained in the book:

crochet window covering
A full length view of my crochet window covering

base of a crochet window covering
Top of the crochet window covering

crochet chains joined to the crochet base
Detail of how the crochet chains are joined to the base of the crochet window covering

knotted crochet chains
Detail of the crochet chains of the crochet window covering

The nature of a window covering is to let light in and at the same time prevent people from easily viewing what is inside, and these qualities made it difficult to impossible for me to take a photograph that accurately conveyed the details of the work that was done when the window covering was in place.

Toward the end of the preface to One Time, One Place, Welty describes how one particular picture taken in the Holiness Church came to be, “My ignorance about interior exposures under weak, naked light bulbs is to blame for the poor results, but I offer them anyway in the hope that a poor picture of Speaking in the Unknown Tongue is better than none at all.”

My hope is that these photos, despite their difficulties, have helped to convey the spirit of this project.