By Ken Wilson
The Dutch called it Haken and the Spanish called it Labor de Ganchillo, but call it Crochet and it looks just as delicate and. Today the word, with its roots in medieval French Croc or croche meaning Hook, has come to signify one of the most popular fabric crafts for men and women across the globe. Yes, I did say men…because an increasing number of men are now turning to this highly structured and organized craft for finding creative satisfaction.
Crochet is basically a series of interlocking loops of thread into a chain to create brightly colored patterns. These patterned patches can then be given various forms like table covers, tote bags, hats and baby dresses. A single chain of loops is created, with each new loop catching the thread and pulling it through the previous loop. Once the chain is completed, the thread is turned starting a second chain. Some popular stitches are: Chain, Single, Half Double, Double, Popcorn, and Cluster.
Some of the most popular theories suggest the craft originated in France. Significant evidence points to its earliest usage in the 1700s Europe where it was developed as an affordable alternative to the more expensive forms of lace. It needed inexpensive equipment and raw material to create low-cost fabric and the art picked up enough to achieve the status of a flourishing cottage industry by mid 1800s.
Branded as ‘the commoners’ lace’, this art got a fillip when it received a patron in Queen Victoria of England. Though this art has had its ups and downs over the centuries, its inherent simplicity and beauty has ensured its longevity and currency as a fashionable fabric in every century. Easy, affordable and fun, this art has many takers and a resounding Internet presence. Check out DIY guides and patterns on the web and get hooking for hours of fun.