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Crochet: Knot Just Another Hobby

Crochet is an art form and a popular craft that's been enjoyed by modern civilizations for more than a century. Derived from the French word "croc", meaning "hook", crochet is the art of creating fabric creation from a thread, yarn or other fibers, much like knitting and weaving. The main difference is the type of hook that's used in crochet.


Some say that the craft of crocheting began in some parts of South America, Arabia and China. However, there has been no concrete evidence of this claim. It eventually became popular in the 19th century in Europe. There have been claims that the process used in crocheting was present during the ancient times but the hook itself which is used in crocheting was not yet invented. People back then used their fingers which were bent in a hook shape to make loops and chains.

It's believed that the type of crochet that's enjoyed today initially gained popularity throughout the mid 1700s. The tambour style of embroider had also reached Europe at this time. Tambour embroidery was worked with a smaller crochet-like hook. Crochet, as we know it, can be traced back to about 1800; however architectural digs have found samples that suggest that crochet existed before the 1800s.

Some also maintain that crochet pieces have been found in Egyptian tombs, while others claim that nuns made crocheted pieces to adorn early churches. It's also been argued that the art of crochet is so basic it most likely had its beginnings some time in ancient history. There are, however, no pieces to legitimize these claims about ancient crocheting.

In the 1800s, crochet became a substitute for lace. Back then, laces were quite expensive, and people turned to crocheting to produce less expensive fabrics. Crocheting didn't require much equipment and other tools, and people of every kind can do it. People started crocheting by working with natural fibers and used hooks which were made of brass, ivory and hardwood.

With time, the art of crochet became more and more popular and the art form found a niche as a cottage industry. Crocheting actually supported some communities after imperialism had deposed their livelihoods. Those in the middle class, and people emerging in society, purchased the finished crocheted products.

Some will say that crocheted fabrics were no more than imitations of the symbols of wealthy families. Crocheted pieces were looked down upon by those who were able to afford real lace and other more expensive fabrics.

When Queen Victoria took an interest in crochet, the negative attitude that people held was somewhat diminished. The Queen purchased crochet laces that had been created by the Irish and, eventually, she also learned how to crochet.

Evolution of the Craft

Thread was the common fiber used from the beginning of the 19th century to the 1950s, and the most popular methods were filet crochet and crochet in the round. To use these methods, crafters would build patterns by working rows of closed or open mesh. By the beginning of the 20th century, steel hooks were mass produced and became popular choices.

Crocheters in the 1950s began to use thick yarns to create fabric and clothing with less detail. The craft of crocheting with thread retained popularity throughout the 1960s. Homemakers were still very involved in crocheting, and the craft gained popularity throughout the 1960s as more and more people in younger generations got hooked.

Popular patterns like granny squares began to emerge. These squares were completed in round style and usually incorporated fun, bright colors. When the younger generation of the 1960s picked up the hobby, crocheting received a much-needed popularity boost.

Modern Crochet Methods

Today's crocheters use a method that begins with a slip-knot on the hook. This initial loop is pulled with another loop. The second loop is pulled through the first one, and the pattern is repeated to create the fabric chain. These chains can be worked in rows, or turned to create a pattern. Rounds are created when several stitches are pulled through one loop. These are the methods that separate crocheting from other fabric making methods.

Crochet is a relatively young craft if one compares it to other fabric-making procedures. It has gone through several steps of evolution to become the art that we know today. With the advent of different technologies and modern ways of making fabric, crochet is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. However, there are still many people who love crochet and with any luck, these people will pass on the art to the generations to come.

Author Winifred Holstone enjoys writing articles for numerous Internet magazines, on other hobby and hobby crafts subjects.






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