What is crochet? Where did it come from? When did it come from? What did people use it for when it was first created? These were a few of the questions that I pondered after I had started crocheting. Perhaps you would think I should have thought of that first, but it wasn't until I was actually working on a project that I began to wonder who thought of this cool technique that I was using.
Granny squares are actually from the 70s.
Guess what! Through my research I have found that no one is 100% sure where crochet came from. It turns out there isn't much archaeological data on it like there is on knitting and weaving. It seems to have become popular in the 19th century in England; however, I wonder if that is really where it started, or if it is like stuff from the 80s becoming popular again now, but that is just my imagination. There has been no finding of works of crochet dating before the 19th century and the old patterns that were found (I would love to see those) were all from the 19th century, so its safe to say it is from the 19th century.
Other forms of thread manipulation had been around for much longer; knitting, tatting, weaving, and this thing called tambour. Apparently tambour came from China and sounds like a weird cross between cross stitching and crocheting in my humble opinion. It kind of reminds me of punch needle, where you punch the needle in and draw up a loop and do it again. Basically the fabric was stretched across a frame and the thread was held under it then you stick a needle in to grab it and pull it up to make a loop, the next loop is pulled through the first one (sound familiar?). Well apparently that was the start of the chain stitch. Sounds rather pointless and wasteful, I guess it was for decoration, because if you already have the fabric, what do you need crochet for? Sounds like it was embellishment, like embroidery. However, some smart French person decided to try it without the fabric underneath and now we have crochet. It seems like a jump from pulling through fabric to without, I wonder how they thought of it.
Why? What for?
very bright colors
Thread manipulation has been around for a long time. Weaving and knitting were good for making cloth and garments, there was lace making with a tatting shuttle which was good for window coverings and dressing up an outfit and embroidery which was good for decorating items within the house such as table runners or clothing.
So where did crochet stand in all of that? One of the most famous and popular forms of crochet is Irish Crochet. Looking at the amazing lace that they came up with in Irish crochet can take one's breath away. So did they just do that for fun? Just to dress up their clothes? It turns out that the Irish Famine had people scrambling for a way to make money to buy food. Irish Lace was invented (credit is given to Mademoiselle Riego de la Blachardiere) and helped to make money to buy food.
Of course crochet has changed since it was first created. It seems it used to be done in bright colors, then they started switching to white and cream, and of course now we are back to bright colors. It was also traditionally done by ladies of the house, then homemakers, and now everyone is doing crochet.
Filet crochet is something I am interested in now. It looks like a bit of graph paper with a picture on it. It reminds me a great deal of cross stitching and I wonder if a cross stitching pattern could be converted into filet crochet. As long as it could be done in just one color. Filet crochet is traditionally done in white but I would like to see some done in pretty colors.
I'll add a picture here when I finally make some filet crochet. If you have a picture (that belongs to you) that you would like to put here let me know.