Knit ting with a hook

Landscape (UK) - - In The Kitchen -

Cro­chet as it is known to­day dates from the early 19th cen­tury. Sim­i­lar­i­ties have been traced back to an­cient Chi­nese em­broi­dery, how­ever, as well as to fab­ric adorn­ment in Ara­bia and South Amer­ica. The word it­self is an old French term for a hook. In the 17th cen­tury a hook was used to join pieces in lace-mak­ing. It was not un­til 1823 that in­struc­tions for purely cro­cheted work were pub­lished in a Dutch magazine, Pene­lope. An au­thor in the 1840s de­scribed “a species of knit­ting orig­i­nally prac­tised by the peas­ants in Scot­land with a small hooked nee­dle”. This was re­it­er­ated in The Memoirs Of A High­land Lady, writ­ten by Elizabeth Grant. This en­try was dated 1812, but not pub­lished un­til 1898. She re­ferred to “shep­herd’s knit­ting” where gar­ments were pro­duced by loop­ing yarn with a hook. In mid 19th cen­tury Ire­land, cro­cheted lace­work was prac­tised as an al­ter­na­tive means of in­come dur­ing the potato famine. It be­came pop­u­lar in Europe and Amer­ica. Cro­chet was fash­ion­able through­out the Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian eras, be­com­ing in­creas­ingly elab­o­rate. Pat­terns were avail­able for ev­ery­thing from bird­cage cov­ers to lamp­shades. It was also en­thu­si­as­ti­cally taken up by the Americans in the post-war pe­riod. Colour­ful cro­cheted granny squares were pop­u­larised in the 1960s and 1970s. Mo­tifs worked in the round were joined to­gether to make blan­kets, pon­chos and scarves. It then went out of fash­ion, but has been re­vived again with the resur­gent in­ter­est in home crafts.

Cro­chet blan­kets were tra­di­tion­ally made up of squares. Amanda, how­ever, has ex­panded this to in­clude cir­cles and tri­an­gles. She often uses more than one shape in a blan­ket, cre­at­ing a kalei­do­scope of pat­terns as well as colours.

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