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Home » Knowledge Center »  Academic Reports »  Crocheted Fabric

Crocheted Fabric - Origin and Types of Crochet

Crochet Fabric Shawl Crocheted fabric is created from yarn or thread using a crochet hook or a crochet machine. Crocheting, like knitting, comprises pulling loops of yarn through other loops. However, crochet differs from knitting. In crocheting process only one loop is active at a time with the exception of Tunisian crochet. Also a crochet hook, instead of knitting needles, is used for creating fabric.

Origin and a Brief History of Crocheting
It is generally believed that traditional crocheting practices were prevalent in Arabia, South America, or China. However, there is no decisive evidence supporting the claim. According to some other speculations, many early cultures practiced crocheting with the help of a bent forefinger instead of a fashioned hook and as such there were no evidences left behind to approve of its primitive practice.

Crocheting Crocheting as a craft became popular in Europe during 19th century. Crochet patterns were first published in the Dutch magazine Penelope in 1824. Industrialization contributed significantly in the development of crochet. The availability of inexpensive machine spun cotton thread that replaced hand spun linen, gave a thrust to crocheting. The 1800s saw Britain, America and France substituting other forms of laces with crocheted fabrics. Although crocheted lace consumed more thread than woven bobbin laces, they were faster to make and easier to teach.

Later Developments in Crocheting
With the end of Victorian era in the 1890s, Crocheted lace became more and more elaborate in texture and their stitching got complicated, especially between 1910 and 1920. Earlier these laces were made in a variety of colored threads. Now the new patterns had set forth white or pale threads for crocheting. However, certain fashion accessories like fancy bags were often crocheted out of brightly colored silk threads and were elaborately decorated with beads.

Crochet Hat Due to World War I, the crocheting patterns got simplified and very few people engaged themselves in the craft. However, after World War II, during 1940s - 60s, there was a sudden resurgence of interest in home based crafts, particularly in the United States. Thus, many new and imaginative crochet designs were published widely for making colorful doilies, potholders, and other items. These patterns needed thicker threads and yarns as compared to the earlier patterns and included wonderful and varied colors. The craft was, till now, a homemaker's art. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the granny squares, a motif worked in the round and incorporating bright colors became very popular. Subsequently, there was a decline in popularity of crocheting.

Upon the arrival of 21st century and with improvement in the quality and availability of varieties of yarn, there was a revival of interest in handcrafts in general and crocheting in particular. Many fibers yarns & threads publications now published new innovative crocheting patterns on a regular basis. These days, most of the yarn stores offer crochet lessons along with the traditional knitting lessons.

Basic Principle and Process of Crocheting
Crocheted FabricsThe CAD/CAM technology facilitates easy creation of virtually all types of fabric weave and design, helps simulate the created weave/design into the virtual fabric in different color combinations long before the actual fabric is manufactured. If the designer is satisfied with his virtual creation then the software again provides the required parameters in various formats as per his need to weave the created design into actual fabric form. Crochet patterns are based on mathematical structure and have been used to illustrate shapes in hyperbolic geometry that are difficult to reproduce using other means. They are very difficult to understand when viewed in a two-dimensional presentation. For making Crocheted fabric, the basic materials are threads and crochet hooks. It is started by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process a number of times till a chain of required length is created. The chain is used in two ways- it is either turned and worked in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in rounds. Rounds can also be made by working many stitches into a single loop. Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain. At the end of a stitch, there is always only one loop left on the hook. However, Tunisian crochet is an exception which draws all the loops for an entire row onto a long hook before working them off one at a time.

Methods and Types of Crochet
There are many variants of the basic crochet method which include Filet crochet, Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Irish crochet among others.

Filet crochet pattern Filet crochet : Filet crochet is a kind of crocheted fabric or a crocheted lace. It is gridlike as it uses only two crochet stitches namely chain stitch and the double crochet stitch. In some countries the double crochet stitch is also known as treble crochet. This type of crochet is often worked in rows, but it can also be worked in the round. Patterns can be made by filling in parts of the mesh with double crochet stitches. Fine crochet thread is mostly used to create decorative items such as doilies, tablecloth, coasters, placemats etc.

Tunisian crochet Tunisian crochet : It is also known as Afghan crochet or Tricot Crochet. This type of crochet uses an elongated hook. Sometimes, this hook comes with a stopper on the handle end, known as Afghan hook. Some consider it to be a mixture of crocheting and knitting as some techniques of knitting are also used in Tunisian crochet. Many loops are worked at once in this method as opposed to traditional crochet where only one loop is worked at a time. It creates a dense fabric in a grid pattern with a definite front and back side which can also act as an ideal base for cross-stitch.

Broomstick lace Broomstick lace : Also known as jiffy lace and peacock eye crochet, broomstick lace uses a crochet hook and a long slender item similar to a knitting needle, usually a lightweight plastic knitting needle or smooth wooden craft dowel. A larger knitting needle or dowel results in a lace like effect, whereas a smaller one gives a more closely woven effect. As the resultant fabric is soft yet stable, it is good for clothing and for making blankets.

Hairpin lace Hairpin lace : This method uses a crochet hook and a hairpin lace loom, which consists of two parallel metal rods held at the top and the bottom with the help of removable bars. Earlier, a metal U-shaped hairpin was used for the purpose, hence the name 'Hairpin lace' originated. Strips are made by this method which are then joined together to create a lightweight fabric. Various types of yarns and threads are used to get different color, texture and designs. Items such as scarves, shawls, hats, baby blanket, afghans, and clothing are made from it. Hairpin lace can also be used to decorate sewn, knitted, and crocheted works.

Irish crochet Irish crochet : During the Great Irish Famine during 1845-1849, local women and children were taught to thread crochet which were sent all across Europe and America. They became popular all over the world and were purchased for their beauty and also for charity towards Irish population. It is a type of lace, where separately crocheted motifs are created and then these motifs are assembled into a mesh background.

Crocheting Machines
crochet machine Although crocheting is a home based craft done by hands with the help of hooks, nowadays many crochet machines are also available in the market. However, these machines are basically fabric knitting machines that are used for making different types of lace for the purpose of clothing and other textile products such as embellishments for dresses, home furnishings and the like. A crocheting machine has slide needles with knitting needles which are disposed on a knitting needle bar. Slides of the slide needles are attached to a slide bar which is disposed over the knitting needle bar. With their to and fro motion, the needles can work out crocheting patterns with the yarns fed through a guide.