History of Crochet
The crochet enthusiast of today has access to patterns, fiber in many colors and textures. We all can easily find hooks in various sizes to make fine laces, doilies, warm sweaters and blankets. A man or woman can settle into their favorite chair and crochet a thick luxurious afghan or make stuffed toys for gifts. We've come a long way from the first recorded days of the art of crochet.
There is no proven time period recorded when crochet was introduced as a craft. It is believed by some that crochet was developed or taught to nuns in the 1500's. It was part of needle arts that was termed "nun's work" or "nun's lace." In the 1700's it was believed that people finger crocheted in a macrame type fashion to make trim for clothing. One theory is that crochet was derived from Chinese needle art called "tambouring." A thin needle was used to weave and interlock yarn into needlework. In the mid 1800's the art of crochet has been recorded in patterns that surfaced in Europe.
In the early years of crochet it was an art and high end extravagance for the wealthy. Crochet hooks were fashioned from silver, brass, steel, ivory and bone which were set into handles. The most expensive hook was fashioned from mother of pearl and was generally a wedding gift for a wealthy bride. The poor who were hired as house help were not allowed to learn to crochet. They were expected to only be able to craft things that would meet their basic needs. They would knit stockings and mend clothes. Fisherman crafted a form of crochet to make or repair their fishing nets while on board their vessels for months at a time.