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The Dutch called it Haken and the Spanish called it Labor de Ganchillo, but call it Crochet and it looks just as delicate and. Today the word, with its roots in medieval French Croc or croche meaning Hook, has come to signify one of the most popular fabric crafts for men and women across the globe. Yes, I did say men...because an increasing number of men are now turning to this highly structured and organized craft for finding creative satisfaction.
Crochet is basically a series of interlocking loops of thread into a chain to create brightly colored patterns. These patterned patches can then be given various forms like table covers, tote bags, hats and baby dresses. A single chain of loops is created, with each new loop catching the thread and pulling it through the previous loop. Once the chain is completed, the thread is turned starting a second chain. Some popular stitches are: Chain, Single, Half Double, Double, Popcorn, and Cluster.
Some of the most popular theories suggest the craft originated in France. Significant evidence points to its earliest usage in the 1700s Europe where it was developed as an affordable alternative to the more expensive forms of lace. It needed inexpensive equipment and raw material to create low-cost fabric and the art picked up enough to achieve the status of a flourishing cottage industry by mid 1800s.
Branded as 'the commoners' lace', this art got a fillip when it received a patron in Queen Victoria of England. Though this art has had its ups and downs over the centuries, its inherent simplicity and beauty has ensured its longevity and currency as a fashionable fabric in every century. Easy, affordable and fun, this art has many takers and a resounding Internet presence. Check out DIY guides and patterns on the web and get hooking for hours of fun.
I know of a few, forms of crochet, the versatile most often used, called, in the west, Crochet, encompassing a variety of techniques utilising a hook and yarn and loop stitches; stitches with names like slip stitch, chain stitch, double crochet stitch, half treble and treble and a more.
Archaeological finds suggest that Arabia may be the first area where fiber was worked by a needle and, or a hook. Ancient samples from Egypt suggest a skilled application of needles and or hooks, going back to 950BC - 1200BC.
Through its continued history across the ages, crochet, a word from the French word croc, meaning hook; is believed to have been worked by men and women. A technique that can be worked sitting, standing, lying down or when on the move, utilising many varieties of yarns, linen, cotton, silk and wools, including finely beaten and spun precious metals (silver, gold), with or without the addition of beads and spangles, to produce cloth, jewelry, bags, rugs, upholstery trim, to work fabric to cover furniture, to make warm through to light garments, to the finest of laces and also to produce artistic creations; sculptures, miniatures, creations limited only to the artists imagination. Similar crochet patterns found in India and North Africa give credence to the theory that crochet may have been in continuous use in the Middle East for thousands of years.
Tunisian Crochet or is it Afghan or Tricot crochet, worked with what looks like a cross between a hook and a needle, where and when did it first surface? Was it Tunisia? This form of crochet that can look like crochet or knitting or weaving, was it the fore runner of each of these forms of fabric making?
Slip stitch crochet, perhaps the earliest form of crochet and fabric making.
Broom-stick crochet also called peacock lace, when and where did this originate? Was it invented by Europeans traveling across America in covered wagons, they had broomsticks and hooks, they had the acquired knowledge, they brought out from their homelands with them, they needed very warm bedding and clothing, did they start creating this fast and easily put down and picked up form of crochet?
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