For how long sewing and knitting have been in use, crochet is still relatively new. This might seem strange, but the earliest evidence of crochet only dates as far back as the early nineteenth century. The first appearance of crochet actually refers to it as ‘shepherd’s knitting’. The history that follows is filled with many facts that are not common knowledge. Learning about this history can help further your understanding of the art of crochet and might open doors for a potential new hobby. Read here, as we explore a brief history of crochet.
The Turn of the Century
Crochet originated as a cheaper replacement for producing lace. For this reason, in its early days, crochet items were often viewed as an inferior product. It was Queen Victoria who actually put crochet on the map when she commissioned women from Ireland who were struggling to make a living during the potato famine to crochet lace for her. The Queen eventually learned the craft and used it to create handmade crochet scarfs for veterans of the South African War. The public caught wind of this and quickly adopted the practice as well.
1920s - 1930s
In the early twentieth century, crochet was mainly used to create small accessories and additions to clothing. Through the 1920s and 1930s, it was breached new territory and was used to make full garments, including sweaters, dresses, and hats. Due to this new level of popularity, crocheted cloche hats and evening gowns are still highly recognizable styles associated with this era.
1940s - 1950s
With the Second World War beginning as early as 1939, there was an increased need for garments for soldiers headed overseas. Many women found crochet a great method to create warm stocking caps, scarves, and even earmuffs that they could donate to the troops. Crochet was a cheap way to design and produce accessories. Throughout the next decade, crochet kept evolving and was used to produce dresses and skirts in styles and shapes that matched current trends. Some people even made even full wedding gowns from the craft.
1960s - 1970s
This brief history of crochet wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this era. The 1960s were a decade of revolution, and crocheting went through a revolution of its own during this time. The free-spirited styles of this era were perfect for the craft. Garments designed for lounging at home were also produced from crochet. In the 1970s, there was a rise in do-it-yourself kits and patterns. Companies mass-produced these items as the intrigue in crochet continued to grow.
1980s - Today
Crochet continued to grow in mainstream fashion through the 1980s and the 1990s. Currently, crochet has made its way into the fashion scene and has been made popular once again by high-profile designers and companies. There are now more unique options for yarn than ever before, so individuals can create truly stunning crochet pieces. At Lindley General Store, you can find yarn for batiks from Canada and other unique items to create beautiful and stylish crochet garments for the new age.