Taken from the French word `Crochet`, meaning `Hook`, this timeless craft allows the creation of beautiful fabrics, traditionally from thread or yarn. Not to be confused with knitting, Crochet utilizes only one tool to produce intricate and decorative patterns. Crochet is not just
a way to waste time after your retirement. In fact, crochet has undergone a complete makeover in the last decade, becoming a bespoke staple.
Interior design moves in mysterious ways and current fashions are no exception. The modern yet traditional style continues to be promoted as people look more towards quality than quantity. The days of learning crafts at school every week are long gone- replaced by computer skills and examinations. However, self-study is possible for anyone and both you and your family can take time out to learn new skills and find a flair for something you never knew you had. Relaxing and satisfying, crafts at home build relationships and provide time-out from our ever increasing hectic lifestyles.
The origins of Crochet stretch way back to almost the beginning of the the 1800`s. Although there are rumors of Crochet starting out earlier across China and South America, the first documented evidence was found in a Swedish magazine in 1819. Crochet exploded in popularity across Europe at this time, due partly to the availability of cheap, good quality cotton.
The biggest adoption of Crochet in the early years occurred in Ireland during the famine as a way for impoverished families to earn money. As a focus for survival, Irish Lace became an art in its own right and was in great demand until World War I, although many different techniques and styles have since become popular.
Filet Crochet is grid-like in appearance due to the simple use of only two variants of stitch. Often monotone in color, Filet is normally used to make curtains, place mats, tablecloths and other household necessities.
Afghan Crochet is also known as Tunisian Crochet and uses an extra long hook to create thicker pieces, often using techniques similar to those involved in knitting. The technique often causes the material to curl and it needs to be finished by using a steaming process. If you are interested in creating an original, beautiful blanket and wrap quickly- this is the technique for you. Tunisian Crochet is known as the fastest way to create fabrics.
Tapestry Crochet is extremely popular in Guatemala and uses bright colored material to create bags, hats and accessories with a `motif`. Broomstick Lace can also be called Peacock Eye Crochet and is perfect for clothing due to the soft fabric it produces. The name comes from the tools that were originally used- a broomstick!
Hairpin Lace is essentially a lace craft and involves the use of a crochet needle and a loom used to work the cotton into a spine shape- to which further patterns are added. This technique is mainly used to add decorative pieces to clothing. Finally, Co-Hooking involves the use of 2 hooks which both hold an alternate color. In this way patterns can be made more complex through the use of color.
The original crochet designs were made with bold, bright colors and this continued until the Edwardian period, during which a more understated, pale look was desirable. What the new style lacked in color it made up for in complexity, with patterns become more challenging, daring and experimental. As interest in crochet continues to ebb and flow, more and more patterns and ideas are spread. Indeed, in this technological age it is possible to find an original pattern from anywhere in the world, from the comfort of your home.
So what do you need to start with Crochet? The tool, or hook, can be plastic, metal or even wooden. In earlier forms the hooks were made from cork handles, brass and even bone. The yarn or thread can vary in texture, strength and appearance depending entirely on what you are creating. Experimentation is key to beginning your journey with the world of Crochet.
The technique begins with a slipknot on your chosen hook and creating a chain by pulling a loop through the original loop. Patterns and directions are simple to follow and have a basic language and guide to help you, although be aware that there are differences between descriptions between British and American instructions!
If you have always fancied attempting a hands-based craft to create something personalized, Crochet is a good place to start. With patterns and instructions for beginners all the way to the more experienced, there are many different styles and fashions to try so you can surely find your niche. With a rich and interesting history, Crochet is a traditional craft that has evolved to present day interest.
Recently Crochet has been taking over the graffiti community, with several pieces of brightly colored crochet appearing overnight on trees, walls and centers across the USA and UK. Mathematicians have even constructed complicated formula for the crochet patterns which have been used to model and visualize difficult concepts. Crochet is not simply an old art-form or craft- it has many uses in society!