March is National Crochet Month! Many knitters have not yet embraced crochet as there is a misconception that crochet is somehow lesser than knitting. I'm a knitter who learned to crochet and let me just say that it is fabulous! It's fun, fast, and relaxing! If you've been leery of picking up the hook, there's no better time than now!
Crochet is thought to have become popular in the early 19th century, though no one knows for sure when it originated. Like knitting, crochet works by pulling loops through loops to create stitches and then a fabric. Unlike knitting with traditional crochet, only 1 stitch is live at a time. This is wonderful news for hesitant newbies - no dropped stitches! Tunisian (afghan) crochet and broomstick lace have many live stitches like in knitting.
Early crochet hooks were made made of silver, brass, steel, ivory, and even bone. Today's hooks can be found in plastic, aluminum, steel, various exotic woods, bamboo, and even nickle plated brass. They come with finger grips, ergonomic handles, bamboo handles, cushioned handles, or even plain.
During the Great Irish Famine of the 19th Century, Mademoiselle Riego de la Blanchardiere invented what we know as Irish Crochet. Impoverished Irish workers would create these intricate and valued lace pieces as an alternate way to earn a living. Irish Crochet became wildly popular in Europe and America during WWI.
After WWII, crochet became more popular as a home craft. During the 1960s-1970s, crochet was often used to produce afghans, pot holders, doilies, and other home items and used thicker weights of crochet thread and eventually worsted weight yarns.
Today, crochet has again become a valued home craft as well as a beautiful art form. With limitless possibilities for garment and home decor use, modern crocheters create everything from useful items to couture creations. Basic crochet has even branched off into several additional forms including Filet Crochet, Tunisian (afghan) Crochet, Tapestry Crochet, Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, Cro-Hooking, & Irish Crochet.
Recently the popularity of Japanese Crochet has spawned such goodies as Amigurumi (crocheted toys) and crochet stitch diagrams. Crochet celeb Robyn Chachula has been integral in familiarizing the American audience with crochet stitch diagrams and has produced books Blueprint Crochet, Baby Blueprint Crochet, and Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia (as well as many others) to bring charted patterns to the mainstream! The reason many crocheters love stitch diagrams is because your finished project will look exactly like the diagram!
Itching to learn crochet but not sure where to start? NexStitch has WONDERFUL free videos to help you learn crochet stitches and Craftsy has a couple of terrific video crochet classes online with master crocheters Vickie Howell and Linda Permann. Infact, the baby sweater pictured above is one I created after taking Linda Permann's Beyond Rectangles Crochet Class on Craftsy!
Go on, get HOOKED!