Crochet History, Where and When Did Crochet Originate?

Crocheting is artwork done with a hook using thread or yarn. With it you can make beautiful doilies, decorations, blankets and even clothing. It does not take much to learn the art, except maybe some patience and hand coordination. It has become quite popular today, but no one seems to know for sure where and when it originated.

But there are theories that it originated in Mediterranean countries, South America or China. Others theorize that it existed in the 1500's and was known as nun's work, or nun's lace.

There is another theory that lace from Egyptian tombs was crocheted by twisting pieces of cotton between the fingers and making the loops by hand. Thread from Egyptian tombs is also thought to be similar to crochet.

However, there is no evidence that crochet existed before the 1800's. The earliest evidence of crochet as we know it today goes back no further than the 1800's when it became popular in Europe. "Shepherd's Knitting" from "The Memoirs of a Highland Lady," by Elizabeth Grant in 1812 is the earliest written reference to crochet. The first patterns were published in 1824.

In France it was known as "Crochet Lace," and in England it was "Chain Lace." Today the French, Belgians, Italians, and Spanish-speaking people call it crochet. In Holland they call it haken, in Denmark its haekling, in Norway its called hekling and in Sweden it's called virkning. Crochet comes from the word croc, or croche, the Middle French word for hook. The Old Norse word for hook is krokr.

In the early cultures they crocheted with a bent forefinger, instead of using a hook. The early hooks ranged from bent needles in a cork handle to beautifully crafted silver, brass, steel, ivory and bone hooks with a variety of handles.

At one point in time crochet was considered only for the wealthy; to make beautiful home décor and dress. The poor were expected to knit the basic needs such as socks and simple clothing. The wealthy did not want them to experiment with crochet because they feared the poor would fall behind in their work when working for the wealthy.

In the 1800's in Britain, America and France, crochet was used as a less cost substitute for other lace.

Crochet remained popular through the mid 1970, then began to decline, but has made its way back into popularity in the 21st century.