The word crochet is derived from the Middle French word croc or croche, meaning hook. It describes the process of creating fabric from a length of cord, yarn, or thread with a hooked tool. The origin of the crochet technique is a subject of considerable controversy. The word is not to be confused with "crotchet", otherwise known as a quarter note.
Crocheted fabric in the modern sense is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and so on to create a chain. The chain is either turned and worked in rows, or joined end-to-end and worked in rounds. Rounds can also be created by working many stitches into a single loop. Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain. This method distinguishes crochet from other methods of fabric-making as it is composed entirely of loops and is only secured when the free end of the strand is pulled through the final loop.
Some theorize that crochet evolved from traditional practices in Arabia, South America, or China, but there is no decisive evidence of the craft being performed before its popularity in Europe during the 1800s. Many find it likely that crochet was in fact used by early cultures but that a bent forefinger was used in place of a fashioned hook; therefore, there were no artifacts left behind to attest to the practice. These writers point to the "simplicity" of the technique and claim that it "must" have been early.
Other writers point out that woven, knit and knotted textiles survive from very early periods, but that there are no surviving samples of crocheted fabric in any ethnologic collection, or archeological source prior to 1800. These writers point to the tambour hooks used in tambour embroidery in France in the seventeenth 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 naalebinding.
Beginning in the 1800s in Europe, crochet began to be used as a less costly substitute for other forms of lace. It required minimal equipment and supplies, all easily accessible to persons of all social classes. At this time, thread spun from natural fibers was used without dyeing, and worked with handmade hooks of ivory, brass, or hardwood. Those that survive to this day are often ornately carved or inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Around the world, crochet became a thriving cottage industry, supporting communities whose traditional livelihoods had been displaced by imperialism. The finished items were purchased mainly by the emerging middle class. The introduction of crochet as an imitation of a status symbol, rather than a unique craft in its own right, had stigmatized the practice as common. Those who could afford lace made by older and more expensive methods disdained crochet as a cheap copy. This impression was partially mitigated by Queen Victoria, who conspicuously purchased Irish-made crochet lace and even learned to crochet herself. Irish crochet lace was boosted by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere around 1845 who published patterns and instructions for reproducing bobbin and needle lace via crochet.
From 1800 to 1950, crochet was done almost exclusively in thread. Crochet in the round or filet crochet, worked in rows of 'open' or 'closed' mesh to create patterns, were most common. Mass-produced steel hooks were used to work the thread beginning in about 1900.
In the 1950s, crocheters began to use thicker yarns to create less delicate clothing and home items, though thread crocheting remained more popular until about 1960. The craft remained primarily a homemaker's art until the late 1960s when the younger generation picked up on crochet. Often using granny squares, a motif worked in the round, and incorporating bright colors, these designs became indicative of the era.
Although crochet underwent a subsequent decline in popularity, it has recently benefited from a revival of interest in handcrafts among the younger generation.
The following types of crochet are derived from the basic method:
- Filet crochet
- Tunisian crochet
- Broomstick lace
- Irish crochet
Artisans that do crochet are considered to be part of the Miscellaneous Textile Product Mills industry, which is NAICS code 314999.
There are a variety of ways people make money from crochet. Some sell their crocheted items locally, at trade shows or via the internet. Others sell original patterns or kits they have designed themselves. And, still others teach crochet. The best way to learn more about the viabiiity of any of these business models is to participate in associations and workshops, subscribe to magazines that are related to your interests, and read books that give more in-depth information about the business.
Includes Basic Stitches, Lace Patterns, Motifs, Filet, Clusters, Shells, Bobbles, Loops.
The Basic Guide to
Pricing Your Craftwork
Basic formulas for pricing craftwork, retail or wholesale.
The Basic Guide to
Selling Arts & Crafts
Step-by-step help on over 150 topics for marketing your home made crafts.
The Basic Guide to
Selling Crafts on the Internet
Unravels the mysteries of selling crafts online with clear, step-by-step advice.
Business and Legal
Forms for Crafts
A complete set of business and legal forms designed to meet the active craftperson's every need.
The Business of
Sewing, Volume 1
Sample price lists; lists of organizations and lending institutions; payment methods you can offer your customers; how to get a merchant account for credit card sales; how to collect money on past due accounts; buying in bulk with a list of suppliers and a sample letter to contact them; business and financial plans; studio design, networking; time management; tackling your fears; turning sewing into a business and making the transition; how to avoid getting frustrated; industry statistics.
The Business of
Sewing, Volume 2
How to make a "Consumer Price List", and how to structure a "Working Price List" and the use of both; what "Pricing" method is best for you and how to handle price resistance; how to conduct production analysis with a time and motion study; how to make a project inventory list; how to market your business; subcontractors or fabricators and how to hire them; E-commerce and on-line merchant accounts, web design, shopping carts and E-newsletters; how to write books and articles, teach seminars and workshops, and produce sewing audios and videos.
Cute crochet for wee ones.
Encyclopedia of Needlework
Originally published in France in 1884, this anniversary edition provides fascinating historical information plus new additions that make it a classic.
Complete introduction to the art of needleworking, discussing the finer points of canvases, yarns, and the various materials available for creating beautiful pieces of homespun art.
Crafting as a
How to develop a thriving retail business.
Covers every aspect of starting and managing your own craft-based business.
Crafts and Crafts
Good business practice in dealing with customers, pricing, and presentation in the show booth.
Business Answer Book & Resource Guide
Answers to questions about starting, marketing, and managing a homebased business efficiently, legally, and profitably.
This pocket-sized spiral-bound reference for crochet-lovers is designed to fit into a project bag or basket, lie flat for easy use during project-making, and provide the essential information that crocheters need to have at their fingertips.
An excellent reference for new and experienced stitchers.
17 projects for all sizes of dogs.
Encyclopedia of Crochet
History of crochet, instruction in basic crochet techniques for both left- and right-handed learners, detailed information on the abbreviations and chart symbols used in crochet patterns, instruction in specialty and thread crochet techniques, a selection of illustrative projects for crocheters with beginner to advanced skills, and a crochet pattern gallery.
Hundreds of secrets to success in selling arts & crafts.
Knit and Crochet
Stitch techniques for knitting and crochet include prestrung and hoisted-atop stitches, single- and double-crochet, and half-double crochet. Each technique is then demonstrated with an exciting range of masterful designs that feature a sparkling array of beads strategically nestled among the stitches.
The best ideas and information from 80 professionals in various fields of the craft industry.
How to create lifelike, permanent, multi-textured and multi-colored leis.
A complete update of the classic guide, which has become known as "The Black Bible."
Tapestry crochet, also known as "Jacquard" or "Mosaic" crochet, is a multi-color crochet technique. It differs from ordinary crochet in its texture, tension, and method of working color patterns without floats on the back. The basics of the technique are clearly explained and diagrammed for both right and left hand crocheters.
Business: A Legal Guide
Explains legal principles that protect a crafts business and help it grow. It also provides practical advice on how to deal with day-to-day problems -- such as dealing with delinquent payments. The book provides over a dozen tear-out contracts and other legal forms, plus step-by-step instructions to fill them out.
Beaded projects with clear instructions, articles filled with techniques, and features to keep you up-to-date with the beading world.
For the crafter seeking excellent original design, full-size patterns and complete accurate instructions for how-to projects in general crafts, needle crafts and floral.
Newest designs for fashion for adults and children, tabletoppers, accessories, toys, holiday decorations.
Cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, quilting, crochet, beading, lace making, and crochet, plus the stories and ethnic traditions behind the techniques.
First-hand instruction for creating beautiful garments and sewn home furnishings.