Each chain stitch is created by bringing a loop of thread through the previous loop. This chain forms the base of a garment. Looping new stitches through this row in an interlocking fashion is how one creates subsequent rows. There are many stitches to use, that create a variety of stunning textures and patterns that are endless. Stitches are called such things as chain, single crochet, half crochet, double crochet, treble (or triple) crochet, even shell, popcorn and pineapple to name just a few.
There are three theories where crochet originated. The first theory is that it originates in Arabia, spreading to Tibet and Spain, following the Arab trade routes through the Mediterranean. The second is in South America where primitive tribes used crochet in rites of puberty. The third is in China, where early crochet dolls have been uncovered.
Sadly, there is no real evidence to back these theories concerning where crochet
originated. Some say crochet dates back to the 1500, where it was worked by nuns (nuns lace), including bobbin and needlepoint lace for churches. Others believe it dates back before the birth of Christ. Thread found in certain Egyptian tombs is felt to be similar to crochet, the interlocking loops made by hand instead of hook.
The earliest evidence of crochet as we know it dates back to the 1800s, when it was popularized in Europe. In 1812, we find the first written evidence of crochet, Shepherds Knitting, from the Memoirs of a Highland Lady, by Elizabeth Grant. The first crochet patterns were published in 1824.
The original crochet was done with hands instead of hooks, using a bent forefinger instead of a hook. Early crochet hooks were made simply, from a bent needle imbedded in cork, to ornate beauties of silver, steel, ivory and bone in many different types of handles.
Once, crochet was considered only for the wealthy, to make beautiful things to decorate their homes and to dress. The wealthy actually did not want crochet to extend to the poor, feeling it would take them away from their duties in attending to the wealthy!
In the 1800s, crochet was used as a less costly substitute for more expensive lace. Many crochet books were published through the 1920s. From the late 1930s through the early 1940s crochets popularity peaked, and there were contest for workmanship design and speed. Crochet became an art form in the 1960s and there was more experimentation in textile art. But crochets popularity began to diminish in the 1970s.
Today we see crochet wear flying down the fashion runways! Crochet has become high fashion, and the yarns are scrumptious. So, get hooked on crochet!