The Art of Crochet

Crochet is a wonderful way to make fabric for many different uses. It can be used to make blankets, clothes, lace, household items and even toys for children.

I first learned to crochet as a teenager when my mother enlisted my help to finish some baby blankets she was working on at the time. I didn’t do much of it for a while after that, until my cousin got pregnant with her first child and I made him a baby blanket. Since then, along with a few more baby blankets, I have made some full size blankets for family members. It was with crochet blankets that I first experienced the feeling of satisfaction when giving a gift that has been hand made with love.

After spending a lot of time knitting in the past few years I’ve recently become interested in crochet again. Mainly to make some Amigurumi toys for my infant son but for other projects as well. I’m also starting to appreciate crochet more fully for what you can do with it that you can’t do with knitting.

Crochet is like knitting in that it uses yarn and makes a fabric. That’s just about where the similarities end. . It uses one needle with a hook on the end instead of two straight needles. It makes a thicker fabric than knitting and uses more yarn. For me, crochet seems faster but I don’t know if this is generally true for everyone or only particular to me. Someone who has been knitting for twenty years and only crocheting for one may not agree. The most obvious difference is that with crochet, you only work with one stitch on your hook at a time while with knitting you have all the stitches for an entire row on the needles at once. This is the reason why some things are a lot easier with a crochet hook than knitting needles.

Overall, I like to crochet and I still turn to it when I want to do something a little different. It’s not any better or worse than knitting; it’s just different. They both have their own place in my heart. I can’t wait to learn more about crochet and expand my knowledge of this wonderful craft.

Short History of Crochet

 

The word crochet comes from a French word that actually means hook. Very appropriate for the craft, I think. As far as anyone can tell, crochet didn’t become popular in Europe until the early 1800’s. It may have existed before that in various countries but there isn’t really any definitive proof. It is theorized that crochet became popular when it did because if the invention of two things. The cotton gin revolutionized the picking of cotton while the Spinning Jenny did the same for the industrialization of spun fiber. By the early 1800’s cotton yarn was much more affordable than at any time in the past. Since crochet uses more yarn than other textiles, this was a very good thing for its advancement.

Women made a cottage industry of crochet in Ireland during the potato famine. Their work became known as Irish lace and became very popular. During more prosperous times, young women used crochet to make things for their hope chests. Among other things, they would make fancy lace trims to sew on to their household linens when they married. Crochet has seen its ups and downs in popularity over the years. One of the down turns was during World War II when women had to go to work in the factories and presumably didn’t have time for needle arts. However, crochet has been on the upswing in the past few years. Many people are enjoying being crafty and making things for themselves.

Where to Find More

 

Here are some places to find out more about crochet. They are also my sources for this post. The Wikipedia article on the Spinning Jenny also has some very interesting history of the textile industry. If you are interested in learning to crochet, I’ll be writing some tutorials especially for blind people. Until then, you can check out the Lion Brand link below.

Wikipedia Crochet Entry

Wikipedia Spinning Jenny Entry

History of Crochet

 Crochet Guild of America

Learn to Crochet from Lion Brand

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Learn to Crochet « Working out Kinks and Fingering Yarn

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