Crochet is a means of creating garments or items from yarn, thread or even strands of fabric. The name is thought to be derived from the French word “crochet” which translates into English as hook.
Unlike knitting, crochet is worked with a single hook with only one active stitch being worked (except Broomstick Lace and Tunisian Crochet).
Many texts suggest that crochet was developed in the 19th century along with the manufacture of finer yarns and cotton threads.
Whilst most commercial crochet hooks are made from a metal alloy or plastic, they have also been made out of wood, bone, horn and ivory.
Needles can vary in thickness and have a sizing system similar to knitting needles. The thickest to accommodate heavy yarn such as Arran or strips of material, to incredibly fine needles and special devices called tambour hooks for working delicate, single strand threads such as those used in Irish crochet lace.
Crochet involves the pulling of yarn through the loop on the needle in various permutations of five stitches;
* Basic Chain Stitch
* Slip Stitch
* Single Crochet Stitch
* Half Double Crochet Stitch
* Double Crochet Stitch
Unlike knitting, a number of stitches are often worked into one to create intricate patterns and shapes.
Many of these stitch combinations also have their own names, including shell stitch, butterfly stitch and popcorn stitch.
Patterns for crochet can take the form of graphic charts with symbols to denote the stitches or written patterns with abbreviations for each stitch.
Crochet can be combined with knitting or other needle crafts and a common example of this would be a crochet edge on a scarf or jumper.
Irish Crochet Lab – A place to learn Irish crochet and other crochet lace.
Knitting and Crochet Guild – National educational charity dedicated to UK domestic hand knitting, machine knitting and crochet