12/12/12: Crochet Over the Centuries

Today is December 12, 2012 or 12/12/12. This day only happens once every one hundred years. As I pick up my crochet, flip through a brand new pattern PDF on my computer, and visit my LYS with it's shelves of yarns from all across the country, I wonder what crochet was like a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, and what it will be like a hundred years from now.

Crochet Mittens - Digory Mittens by Brenda K. B. Anderson  
Digory Mittens by Brenda K. B. Anderson  

December 12, 1812

Not much is known about the history of crochet in 1812. Some of the first printed crochet patterns were found in publications dating from around this time period. But historians have very little evidence of the patterns and tools used in the early 19th century.

If you were an early crocheter in December of 1812, you might have been using slip stitch to create a warm pair of woolen mittens or gloves. You might have used front or back loop only crochet stitches to create subtle patterns. Your crochet hook might have been handmade from the handle of an old spoon or carved from a fishbone.

Two hundred years later, slip stitch crochet, sometimes called Bosnian crochet, is no longer a common stitch used to create warm winter accessories. But designers like Brenda K. B. Anderson still draw on this early technique to create beautiful pieces liker her Digory Mittens.


December 12, 1912

   Crochet Irish Lace

Much more is known about crochet in the 20th century. As a crocheter in December of 1912, we know you would have had access to written crochet patterns, ranging from thread edgings and home decor to warm hats and coats. But complicated crochet lace was definitely the most popular crochet technique. Exquisite examples of Irish crochet were in great demand until the beginning of World War I, about a year and a half later.

You might have been crocheting with a gorgeously carved crochet hook of bone or ivory or delicate metal hooks, perfect for thread work.

Budding crochet historians, like Maire Treanor, are working to ensure this lace crochet heritage isn't lost. They are gathering motifs and history and sharing them with other crochet enthusiasts.

Crochet Socks - Red Twig Knee Socks by Patsy Harbor  
Red Twig Knee Socks by Patsy Harbor  

December 12, 2112

What will crochet look like on December 12, 2112? Will intricate lace designs, thick warm garments, or perhaps crochet socks be the popular fashion? Will they finally create a crochet machine? I hope not. I love the feel of the yarn slipping through my fingers and the relaxation of working each stitch. Perhaps crochet will once again become a skill taught to each child.

What do you think crochet will look like on December 12, 2112?

Best wishes,

P.S. Check out Irish Crochet and Clones Lace with Marie Treanor.

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