Crochet Minster-on-Sea – A Brief History of Crochet

Crochet Minster-on-Sea – A Brief History of Crochet


Crochet history  – The first evidence crochet in history was in early nineteenth century Europe where it was referred to as shepherds knitting or fishermens’ knitting as it was used with large hooks to mend nets.

Having actually been invented as a cheap substitute for traditional pillow lace crochet struggled to shake off it’s reputation as an inferior type of lace.
However all that changed when Queen Victoria gave it the Royal seal of approval buy buying crocheted lace made by Irish women who were struggling to make a living after the Irish potato famine.

Queen Victoria even learned to crochet, making may scarves for veterans of the South African Boar War. By the end of her reign much of England was hooked (excuse the pun).

FACT –  The word crochet comes from the French word crochê meaning hook.

Crochet history in the 20s and 30s

The 1920s – 30s saw crochet more from a decorative embellishment to a method for producing entire garments. The classic cloche hat was usually usually crocheted, and so followed some stunning dresses and evening gowns.

FACT –  The longest ever recorded crochet chain measured 130 kms. (80.78 miles) created by Anne Vanier-Drussel of France.

Crochet History during the 40s and the war

History of crochet through the war and in the 40s. Crochet became part of the war effort in both Britain and the United States. Women in both countries made numerous hats, scarves and balaclavas for the freezing troops abroad. Crochet embellishments were also used to jazz up existing garments, all adding to the ‘make do and mend’ attitude of the time.

FACT – The fastest recorded crocheter is Lisa Gentry of the USA who managed to crochet a staggering 5,113 stitches in just 30 minutes.

Crochet History in the 1950s

1950s – This period of history after the war crochet envolved the fashions of the day and lent themselves to the classic 1950s styles, even wedding dresses were popular in the early 50s.

FACT – Unlike most mass produced modern knitwear crochet  has always remaind a hand craft.

1960 – 1970s Crochet History – fashion

1960 – 70 This was a period where crochet boomed alongside the swinging fashions of the day. Almost anything and everything could be achieved in crochet. Hats, bags, dresses, hammocks, even bikinis footwear and homewear the list was endless.

The humble granny square had its “in vogue” period in the 70s, people like Paul McCartney and Clint Eastwood was even pictured on the cover of an American magazine in a granny square tank top.

FACT – The largest crochet blanket in the world was made as part of Mandela Day celebrations in 2015 and was 3,133 sq. meters.

Crochet today

Crochet has never really gone away, it’s popularity has waxed and waned but during the period from 2005 to date it has had a massive Renaissance.  Dior to Dolce & Gabbana  are regularly featuring on crocheted garments on theParis catwalks, even our granny square makes many an appearance. For many a season now it can be spied in high street shops and small boutiques.
September 2017 Gades Southend closed down (where I used to teach)
There is no limit to your imagination as far as crochet goes.

Pupils should concentrate on the simple basics of:

    • chain
    • foundation row
    • double crochet
    • treble crochet
    • half trebles
    • double trebles
    • increase
  • decrease

All patterns and garments are essentially made up of these few easy steps.

With the new boom in interest in crochet has come many designers and women  who produce new and stunning patterns. Anything you can imagine can be created in crochet, it is so versatile, faster and more relaxing than knitting. It doesn’t take long to start producing some lovely item, from toys to hairlume blankets to beautiful garments.

Crochet was never meant to be an exact art so always follow your instincts.

Yarn bombing tree