Crochet

Crochet (English pronunciation: /kro?e?/; French: [k]) is a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the French word "crochet", meaning hook. Hooks can be made of materials such as metals, woods or plastic and are commercially manufactured as well as produced by artisans. Crocheting, like knitting, consists of pulling loops through other loops, but additionally incorporates wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times. Crochet differs from knitting in that only one stitch is active at one time (exceptions being Tunisian crochet and broomstick lace), stitches made with the same diameter of yarn are comparably taller, and a single crochet hook is used instead of two knitting needles. Additionally, crochet has its own system of symbols to represent stitch types. Lis Paludan theorizes that crochet evolved from traditional practices in Iran, South America, or China, but there is no decisive evidence of the craft being performed before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century. The earliest written reference to crochet refers to slip stitch crochet|shepherd's knitting from The Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant (17971830) in the 19th century. Some claim that the first published crochet patterns appeared in the Dutch magazine Penelope in 1824. Crochet patterns have recently been found in the Swedish magazine "Konst och nyhetsmagasin for medborgare av alla klasser" from 1819, discarding this earlier notion. There might exist even earlier examples in publications not previously scrutinised. Other indicators that crochet was new in the 19th century include the 1847 publication A Winter's Gift, which provides detailed instructions for performing crochet stitches, although it presumes that readers understand the basics of other needlecrafts. Early references to the craft in Godey's Lady's Book in 1846 and 1847 refer to crotchet before the spelling standardized in 1848. Kooler proposes that early industrialization is key to the development of crochet. Machine spun cotton thread became widely available and inexpensive in Europe and North America after the invention of t

e cotton gin and the spinning jenny, displacing hand spun linen for many uses. Crochet technique consumes more thread than comparable textile production methods and cotton is well suited to crochet. Knit and knotted textiles survive from very early periods, but there are no surviving samples of crocheted fabric in any ethnological collection, or archeological source prior to 1800. These writers point to the tambour hooks used in tambour lace|tambour embroidery in France in the 18th century, and contend that the hooking of loops through fine fabric in tambour work evolved into "crochet in the air." Most samples of early work claimed to be crochet turn out to actually be samples of nalebinding. Donna Kooler identifies a possible problem with the tambour hypothesis: period tambour hooks that survive in modern collections cannot produce crochet because the integral wing nut necessary for tambour work interferes with attempts at crochet. A snip of the table of contents in Gaugain's 1840 book. However, Mrs. Gaugain, in her 1840 The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crotchet Work, refers to "Tambour, or Crotchet," then proceeds to call it "tambour" in all the instructions, indicating a strong connection believed in at the time of crochet's beginning, and that it was, perhaps, the older name. That those hooks that survive cannot be used is the constant problem in archaeology: what was commonly used may have been usually worn out and didn't survive. Tambour lace on fine net is commonly taught with the crochet hook, these hooks with "integral wing nuts" being an expensive item. Early crochet hooks ranged from primitive bent needles in a cork handle, used by poor Irish lace workers, to expensively crafted silver, brass, steel, ivory and bone hooks set into a variety of handles, some of which were better designed to show off a lady's hands than they were to work with thread. By the early 1840s, instructions for crochet were being published in England, particularly by Eleanor Riego de la Blanchardiere and Frances Lambert. These early patterns called for cotton and linen thread for lace, and wool yarn for clothing, often in vivid color combinations.