Thursday, December 13, 2012

History of Crochet

The inspiration to many of my google searches is a penchant for not taking things at face value.  I read an article someplace or I see a show on TV, and a little radar goes off.  Ping: error!  And I need to look up the topic to see if I am right that what I read or saw is wrong!  Whew, does that sound convoluted so on to the topic today: the origin of crocheting.
 
Let me start off by stating that crochet is a method of creating fabric by intertwining loops of thread (or yarn) with a rod about the size of a pen with a hook on the end.  Crocheting can be used to make anything from delicate, lacy doilies to afghans to clothing items.
Now, back to the google search.
Of course, the first entry that pops up on Google is that treasure trove of information: Wikipedia.  Wikipedia states that there is no direct evidence on the origins of crochet.  There is a theory that crochet evolved from other types of needlecraft, needlecraft from China, Iran or South America.  The first real historical evidence starts in the early 1800's.
Other websites state the reason there is no early evidence of crocheting is that it was worked with the fingers (as opposed to today's hooks).  Since there was no tool used and the fabric disintegrated, there is no historical evidence.  I liked one website's response to that (love-crochet.com).  There are "... surviving pieces of knitted, woven, knotted, and other fabrics – everything, it seems, but Crochet. If it existed pre-1800, surely some fabric would remain?"
A few websites try to claim the Renaissance period as the origin of crochet.  But I notice one problem with that: they base this on the existence of lace.  Lace from that period was looped, braided and knotted thread - not crocheted.
So, it looks like the first historical evidence for crochet all date to early 1800's.  That is when crochet is first mentioned, that is when the first patterns are found, and that is date of the oldest surviving fabric proven to be crochet.  My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was in 5th grade, but I haven't crocheted in years.  Researching this topic made me want to start crocheting again!