History of Crochet

You and I call this Crochet as well as French people, Belgian people and people who speak Spanish except Spain, where is called Ganchillo. Also this is known as Haken (Netherlands), Haekling (Denmark), Hekling (Norway), Virkning (Sweden) or Uncinetto (Italy).

Other forms of crocheting or embroidery can be dated far away in time thanks to archaeological findings, written texts and several kinds of illustrated representations. But anyone is absolutely sure about when and where the Crochet started. The word comes from ‘Croc’ or ‘Croche’, French word for hook. Also, the Old Norse called it Krokr. Annie potter, who is an expert about crochet, said “ The real modern art of crochet as we know it today was developed in the XVI century. It was known as 'crochet lace' in France and 'bead chain' in England”. Walter Edmund Roth found true examples of crochet in Guiana in 1916.

Another writer and researcher, Lis Paludan of Denmark, who limited her search for the origins of crochet to Europe, offers three interesting theories.:

  1. Crochet originated in Arabia, spread eastward to Tibet and westward to Spain, where he followed the Arab trade routes other Mediterranean countries.
  2. The earliest evidence of crochet came from South America, where a primitive tribe was seen using crochet adornments in puberty rites.
  3. In China, early examples were known of three-dimensional dolls worked in crochet.

But, says Paludan, basically there isn’t "compelling evidence as to how old is the art of crochet or where it came from. It was impossible to find evidence of crochet in Europe before 1800.s. Many sources state that crochet has been known subsequently the 1500s in Italy under the name of 'work Nun' or 'cord nun,' which was worked by nuns for church textiles". Her research revolved around examples of lace making and a kind of lace tape, many of which have been preserved, but "all sign says that crochet was not known in Italy before the sixteenth century" under any name.

Tambour and the birth of crochet

Research suggests that crochet is probably derived from Chinese needlework, of a very ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, reaching Europe in the 1700s and became known as "tambouring , "the" French tambour "or drum. In this technique, a background cloth is stretched and tight on a marquee or frame. The thread of the work is held below the fabric and then a needle with a hook is inserted downward and a loop is made through the cloth. With the loop still on the hook, this is inserted a little more forward and another thread loop point is made and works through the first loop to form a string point. Tambour hooks were as thin as sewing needles made, so the work must have been produced with a very thin thread.

At the end of the eighteenth century, tambour evolved into what the French called "crochet in the air," when the background fabric was discarded leaving then only one stitch thread. Crochet began to spread in Europe in the early 1800s and soon received a huge boost by Mlle. Branchardiere, which was best known for his ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace, crochet patterns designed that can be easily duplicated. She published many books on crochet patterns so that millions of women could begin to copy her designs. Mlle. Branchardiere also claimed to have invented "Lace-Like", today called Irish crochet.

Crochet hyperbolic kelp Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY 2.0 vía Wikimedia Commons


You can see how far the art of crochet visiting this museum The Museum of Arts and Design


Crochet today is artistic expression instrument of science, technique for creating clothing, means of economic support, cultural movement, medical therapy and has earned a prominent place in the history of creation and human inventiveness.