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Friday, April 3, 2009

History of crochet

Exact dates for the birth of crochet are hotly disputed. Some would trace the art as far back as the beginning of the 1700's, though many argue that there is no tangible evidence to support any such theory. Within the early 1800's, though, crocheted pieces were found all over the eastern part of the world, including China, Persia, North Africa, and India, as well as throughout Europe. So, while no one can say precisely, most will agree that the art originated around 1820 in Europe. Earliest definite record of any such handiwork can be traced to the ancient art of tambouring (from the French tambour or drum). A drum was used to stretch a background fabric, through which fine thread was crocheted into by use of a thin, hook-ended needle. This developed into crocheting later when the background fabric and drum were removed.
Another theory, which does not contradict the former, is that crocheting sprouted from the practice of lace making. (Most believe the form was taken from tambouring, while the style belongs to the art of lace making.) Crocheting became a popular alternative to this high-class handiwork. Crocheting supplies were inexpensive and easily accessible to even the middle and lower classes. Hooks were made by hand from bone, ivory, brass, hardwood, or even silver, and decorated with ornate carvings or mother-of-pearl. Within the past fifty years or so, different types of thread in varying thickness, and yarn have been discovered to produce both beautiful pieces of work, as well as more durable handiwork than those made from the original thinner threads. Today hooks can be found in a greater variety of materials such as plastic, copper, wood, aluminum, steel, and bamboo. The original ivory and bone, though still found nowadays, are being used less and collected more. The different materials and sizes of hook are used to produce distinctive patterns and effects.

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