Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vive la Difference! And a Brief History

What's the difference between knitting and crocheting? I'm asked this question nearly every time I am in public with yarn in my hands. The simple answer is that a knitter uses two needles whereas a crocheter uses one hook. But let's delve a little deeper, shall we? Knitting, by definition, is much more structured. A knitter works in neat, tidy, orderly rows, working logically into the next stitch on the needle. Crocheting affords one the freedom to hook into any stitch in any row, all willy-nilly. Crocheting uses more yarn (freedom has its price), but everything I've read and heard leads me to believe that crocheting is a helluvalot easier than knitting! Yay, my team!

I read a brief and fascinating history of crochet in Debbie Stoller's awesome book, The Happy Hooker. Crocheting is said to have been around for just over two hundred years. By comparison, knitters have been at it for about a thousand years. The exact origin of crocheting is unclear, but the first printed crochet pattern was found in a Dutch magazine (those crafty Dutch!) in the early 1800's. Crocheting became the working class' answer to the fancy laces that the wealthy were sporting.

Did you ever wonder why prostitutes are called hookers? Well, it's been suggested that lace manufacturers didn't pay their crocheters a living wage, so the gals were expected to turn a few tricks on the side to pay the bills! Merciful heavens! What would Grandma, the Ednas and the Mildreds say? This shocking state of affairs caused a slew of God-fearing women to learn to crochet for themselves so they were assured that their lace wasn't tainted with sin!

During the Irish potato famine, Ursuline nuns taught Irish women how to crochet with thread. This came to be know as "Irish Crochet" and was wildly popular, as it was obviously stitched with pious fingers. This craft was a great stimulus to the Irish economy.

Because of the amount of thread or yarn required, not a lot of crocheting happened during the Great Depression or World War II. Come peacetime, the gals dusted off their hooks with a sigh of relief.

This is baby Elan in the hat and blanket I crocheted for him! His parents Sarah and Ray met at a Cubs game, and the following season Ray proposed on the pitchers mound at Wrigley, so I knew what I had to make for this adorable little guy! I crocheted the Cubs logos too, because without them the garments just look super-patriotic!

This is the Tigger hat I designed and crocheted for a friend. These pictures got me an order for another one!

Coming soon: Awesome DOMO hat!!

Peace, love and yarn!

No comments:

Post a Comment