Crochet patterns have been printed for a long time. Its first documented pattern was recorded back in 1824. There is a wealth of evidence indicating that women, in particular, have been documenting and exchanging crochet patterns for a long period before then.

While the precise origins of crochet are unknown due to the skill being originally passed down orally, Lis Paludan hypothesizes that it evolved from traditional practices in Iran, South America, or China. Still, there is no conclusive evidence of the craft being practiced before its popularity in nineteenth-century Europe.

Crochet: What is it?

Crochet is a technique for creating cloth, lace, garments, and toys using yarn or thread and a single hook of any size. Crochet is also useful for creating hats, purses, and jewelry.

Crochet is derived from the French word crochet, which translates as a hook, as spelled in English. Crochet stitches, like knitting stitches, are formed by drawing the yarn through an active loop. While knitting utilizes a row of active loops (or stitches), crochet utilizes only one active loop or stitch at a time. A variety of textures, patterns, and forms may be created by adjusting the tension, dropping and adding stitches, and wrapping the yarn around the hook during a stitch.

Crochet may be done with an infinite variety of materials. People from all over the world have crocheted with thread, wool, yarn, grass, rope, wire, and silk throughout history; even dental floss and hair have been crocheted.

According to an article by Ruthie Marks, ‘Research indicates that crochet evolved most directly from Chinese needlework, a very ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia, and North Africa that arrived in Europe in the 1700s and was dubbed “tambourine” after the French “tambour” or drum. At the end of the 18th century, the tambour developed into what the French referred to as “crochet in the air.”

Crochet: The Art of Sharing

Crochet was formerly a technique passed on verbally between friends and family; stitches and designs were copied straight from original work. It led to imprecise crocheting and deviance from the original work when several times.

What arose from this practice was the simple concept that unique stitches might be learned and shared through the creation of a little sample that could be manufactured and stored in each house as a primary reference. Eventually, stitch samples were created and then sewn onto scraps of paper to create a soft book shared in women’s gatherings. Author Annie Potter discovered that nuns still use several of these late-nineteenth-century scrapbooks in Spain during her travels.

The first printed crochet designs came from 1824 and were generally for by creating gold and silver silk thread purses. These early designs, which were frequently inaccurate, would drive even the most seasoned crocheter insane. For instance, an eight-pointed star may turn out to have just six points. The reader was meant to read the pattern but rely on the graphic as a more precise guide, and it turns out. These patterns, however, continued to rely on the reader copying directly from the original image. It was primarily reliant on the crocheter’s intuition for stitches and pattern and picture interpretation.

‘Crochet first appeared in Europe in the early nineteenth century and was given a major push by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere was well renowned for transforming traditional needle and bobbin lace designs into easily replicable crochet patterns. She created several pattern books, allowing millions of ladies to duplicate her designs. Mlle. Riego also claimed to be the inventor of “lace-like” crochet, now referred to as Irish crochet.

Another method of collecting stitch samples was crochet several stitches together in long, narrow bands – some done by adults, others started in elementary school and expanded through the years.

Women also crocheted afghans, sleep rugs, travel rugs, chaise lounge rugs, sleigh rugs, vehicle rugs, cushions, coffee and teapot cozies, and hot-water bottle covers between 1900 and 1930. Potholders made their debut during this period and quickly became a mainstay of the crocheter’s repertory. Many varieties of yarn were also packaged at this time with little pattern samples and crochet directions.

Crochet’s Revival in the 1960s

Crochet gained popularity as a freeform medium of expression in the 1960s and 1970s, as seen by three-dimensional sculptures, pieces of apparel, and carpets and tapestries depicting abstract and realistic motifs and settings.

Crochet designs in the modern day have grown exceedingly precise and complicated, as seen by the renowned crochet pattern website Crochet Universe, which offers crochet patterns for creating your own Elizabeth Bennett, Frida Kahlo, or Coco Chanel.

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