If you love crocheting, you’ve probably heard the word crochet bandied about in reference to many things other than the craft we know today. Crochet can refer to a genre of popular music in England or be used as slang in some circles to mean any style of formal neckwear, such as ties and bowties! But what is crochet, really? Where did the word come from? And how did it get to be so popular today? Let’s take a look at the history of crochet!
What is Crochet?
Crochet is a popular form of yarn craft used to create blankets, clothes and more. The origins of crochet can be traced back centuries ago when it was easy for people who could not afford expensive clothing to have something nice to wear that was both warm and fashionable. As time progressed, so did yarn crafting, including crochet which became less common as sewing became increasingly popular among those who could afford it. When machine-made items began replacing handmade items in the late 1800s, crochet almost wholly disappeared until the early 1900s when new designs were developed using modern materials like acrylic yarns.
Early Origins of Crochet
We know that in 3000 BC, long before recorded history, people used wool yarns to make clothing by weaving strands together. If you have seen a tapestry or rug created with this technique, you can imagine how it may have been similar to crocheting! In 600 AD, we see evidence that hooks were used in yarn-crafting techniques. In 16th-century Italy, hooks were crocheted together to create a textile for the Spanish court. Eventually, crochet went from being an art and household craft to something only done for utility purposes, such as making linens and underwear.
The Spread of Crochet
Crochet and its popularity have waxed and waned. Around 1875, crochet had a revival thanks partly to Queen Victoria’s interest in the craft, with crochet work featured on pieces for her coronation gown and wedding dress. During World War I (1914-1918), crocheting for charity was promoted as a way for women at home to contribute their skills towards aiding the war effort. After World War II (1939-1945), crochet became even more popular as mothers used it to occupy their time while their children were confined indoors during polio epidemics. In 1968, singer James Taylor released Sweet Baby James, which included lyrics describing his affection for his mother’s crocheted afghan to demonstrate the sentimental aspect of crochet gifts as it gained popularity in the 60s and 70s. It is common for crochet to be passed down from generation to generation.
Crochet in the Modern Day
At present, crochet is popular for many reasons. The trend towards slow living and eco-friendly crafts has created a demand for easy-to-make handicrafts that are also reusable. Crochet is also widely used to make items with various textures and thicknesses, giving designers many possibilities in terms of creativity when it comes to design. The flexibility that crochet provides in these areas also makes it an attractive option for people who are tired from sitting at their desks all day but want something productive and creative to do after work or on weekends. There are plenty of instructional videos online on how to get started with crocheting and lots of patterns available, too – so this may be a craft you’ll want to try out if you’re not already doing it!
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