The History of Crochet

The word "crochet" almost certainly stems from "croc", the French term for hook, but crochet's popularity can almost be accounted for by the onset of the Industrial Revolution when cotton mills, established in England, began to produce fine cotton thread which was much cheaper than the previously used linens.

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History of Crochet

The word "crochet" almost certainly stems from "croc", the French term for hook, but crochet's popularity can almost be accounted for by the onset of the Industrial Revolution when cotton mills, established in England, began to produce fine cotton thread which was much cheaper than the previously used linens.

The greatest exponents of all were probably the Irish, who introduced crochet into their country around 1820. At that time, although crochet was wedely used, it had little artistic merit as it was limited to a few basic stitches. Irish women sought to balance Their domestic budgests by perfecting a craft with which they were already familiar. As result, they became highly proficient and developed skills which were to make Irish crochet renowned throughout the world.

Using a very delicate, fine thread, they created designs with shamrock leaves, the symbol of Ireland, raised rosettes and rings on a background of chain stitch lace and small picots. It was Mademoiselle Riego de la Blanchardiere who invented the now famous style. She published the first book of Irish Crochet patterns in 1846. It was used and referred to by both the schools of crochet that sprang up and by the ever growing Irish cottage industry.

The earliest known formal school of crocht was started in 1847 by a Mrs. Susannah Meredith but the first books of instruction date from 1820.

It is certain that the more refined skills of crocheting were brought to ireland fromFrance in the second half of the nineteenth century when a young Irish woman called Honoria Nagle.

By about 1870 there were between 12,000 and 20,000 women engaged in crochet work, adapting patterns from as far afield as Italy and Greece. As the skill was perfected, the demand grew because ladies fashions were becoming more and more smothered in expensive lace frills; jabots,collars and cuffs and similar trimmings in crochet were less costly.

Crochet was such a flexible medium that the spread of crochet world wide brought influences in designs. Local flowers and fruits were reproduced in crochet patterns such as poinsettias, hibiscus and pineapples in the West Indies, exotic butteflies seem to land on delicate openwork , and even applique work by the seminole indians of america, is reproduced in crochet.

Crochet work continued to be extremely popular until the outbreak of the First World War when fashion took a morepractical turn, Also with the development of the sewing machine, dresses could be made and trimmed so quickly that hand crocheted trimmings seemed to lose their appeal.

Now as new threads and yarns are being introduced the possiblities and creative patterns are only limited by the crafters imagination.

EXPLANATION OF THE VARIOUS TERMS USED IN VINTAGE CROCHET.


CHAIN-STITCH OPEN CROCHET.This consists of five or any uneven number of loops attached by a plain stitch to every third stitch of the foundation, and in the succeeding rows to the centre loop of the chain of previous row.

THREE CHAIN CROCHET.Work a chain of three loops as in chain-stitch open crochet.

DOUBLE CROCHET.Work as follows: having made a chain, pass the needle through the first loop on the chain, draw the cotton through the loop, there will now be two loops on the needle, through these draw the cotton.

SINGLE CROCHET.Insert the needle in the loops, and draw the cotton through this loop and that on the needle.

RIBBED CROCHET.This is worked in a similar manner to double crochet, only that the under loop of the previous row is taken, and it is done in rows to and fro.

LONG STITCH.Twist the cotton round the needle, pass it through the loop, draw the cotton through the first two loops on the needle, then catch the cotton again and draw it through the next two loops; there will be one loop left on the needle.

DOUBLE LONG STITCH.This resembles long stitch, excepting that the cotton is twisted twice round the needle.

TREBLE LONG STITCH.Twist the cotton three times round the needle.

SINGLE OPEN CROCHET.This is a succession of long stitches, with a chain-stitch between each, missing one stitch of the foundation; in the succeeding rows the long stitch is worked between the two long stitches of the preceding rows.

DOUBLE OPEN CROCHET.This consists of two long stitches, then two chain-stitches; or it may be varied by making one long stitch, two chain-stitches, missing the same number of stitches in foundation as there are chain-stitches.

TREBLE OPEN CROCHET.Work three long stitches, then three chain, missing three of the foundation.

VANDYKE OPEN CROCHET.Work three long stitches into one of the foundation, make one chain-stitch, miss three of the foundation; repeat. In the next and following rows the long stitches are worked in the chain-stitch.



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