Crochet Traditions 2011

Crochet Traditions 2011

Welcome to Crochet Traditions! I’m so pleased to share some of crochet’s rich history with you in this special issue from PieceWork magazine.

Our journey begins with an article on collecting crochet by the Crochet Guild of America’s founder, Gwen Blakley Kinsler. Following are sections covering numerous crochet techniques: Basic (a great place for those new to crochet to start), followed by Lace, Hairpin, Tunisian, Bead, Filet, Tapestry, and Irish.

We conclude with “Trimmings: A Sampling of Vintage Patterns.” Here you’ll find rosettes, edgings, and motifs to work in various forms of crochet. Each is from an early-twentieth-century pattern, and the instructions are worded exactly as they appeared in the original publications. “Techniques” (pages 133–137) provides diagrams and step-by-instructions for the stitches used in each section.

You’ll meet many extraordinary crocheters from the past. Their stories are varied—from “Billy Monday” and Preacher Lewis to Mary Card, a prolific Australian filet crochet designer, and Anna Rasmus Holsten, who brought her crochet skills learned as a child in pre-World War I Germany to America. All were passionate about crochet.

Although a precise date for crochet’s origin cannot be assigned, we do know that people of various cultures and in diverse geographic areas have been crocheting for centuries. Slip-stitch crochet is perhaps the earliest form; it’s known by a variety of names, including shepherd’s knitting and Bosnian crochet.

The history of Irish crochet, developed to ease the suffering during the Great Famine (1845–1852), which resulted from the blight that ruined potato crops, is compelling. That such exquisite lace came out of such suffering is amazing (“The Irish Crochet Lace of Clones”). And the story of the Utah pioneers who developed the production of silk in the desert is simply remarkable (“Produce What You Consume: The Silk Industry in Utah”).

And, of course, Crochet Traditions offers a multitude of projects. The fingerless mitts made from tussah silk are stunning as is the Point D’Eglantier collar shown on the cover. Miser’s purses (designed to securely carry coins) were fashionable from 1780 to 1925; our beaded example, worked in silk thread with seed beads, will make a twenty-first-century fashion statement! These are just two examples. You’ll also find other purses, buttons, a pot holder, caps and a bonnet for baby, pillows, a doily, edgings, an insertion, and pincushions.

The contents for Crochet Traditions were selected from previous issues of PieceWork magazine, most of which are no longer available. Interweave’s founder, Linda Ligon, began PieceWork in 1993 to honor handwork and the people who created that work.

Whether you just started crocheting or are an old hand, the stories and projects in Crochet Traditions provide some context for your journey. Enjoy!