Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Bit of History: Part III - Crochet History

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part post regarding a little bit of history on some knitting & crocheting as presented for the Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition workshop on Fiber Arts. (Obviously, this is not a comprehensive history, but serves merely as a primer, and my time line *stops* at the Victorian era).

Part I: Victorian Fiber Arts -- can be found here.
Part II: Knitting History -- can be found here.


The exact origins of crochet are unknown as there are no surviving examples. The first mention as *shepherd's knitting* from "The Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant" in 1812, and the earliest published crochet pattern was around the 1820s. It has been theorized that crochet might have started as early as the 1600's and originated around Arabia and parts of Asia.

Around the 1800s, crochet became a cottage industry, especially in Ireland, was an inexpensive substitute for lace. As crochet was a cheap copy of the the more expensive (and thus status symbol) of lace, it was branded as "common". However, Queen Victoria helped its reputation by purchasing Irish made crochet lace, and learned to crochet herself.

Crochet became a popular leisurely pursuit for ladies. There are a lot of patterns available for making everything from crocheted lace copies to clothing. Crochet hooks ranged from crude wood to ivory hooks.