Crochet Classes

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Not to be confused with the game of hitting balls through hoops; crochet is the art of creating fabric from yarn or thread using a crochet hook. It is similar to knitting, a past-time that has seen a revival in the past five years thanks to the Sex and the City stars who were pictured on set passing the time by busily knitting scarves and jumpers for their unsuspecting nieces and nephews. So why not stay two steps ahead of the trend and take a course in crochet instead

Beginning in the 1800s, crochet was used in Britain, America and France as less costly substitutes to other forms of lace. The first crochet patterns date back to 1824 in the Dutch magazine P n lop ; it caught on gradually and in 1847 detailed instructions for performing stitches were seen in A Winter s Tale. There are claims that it was used much earlier and that a bent forefinger was used instead of a hook which would explain the non existence of remaining artefacts.

Crochet has special relevance to Irish history. During the Famine of 1845-1849 Ursuline nuns taught local women and children to crochet; the results were then shipped all across Europe and America. It became a thriving industry in Ireland; supporting communities whose traditional livelihoods had been damaged by fighting or crop failures. The clothes and blankets made were purchased mainly by the middle class; although those who could afford lace saw crochet as a cheap copy. This snobbery was mitigated somewhat when Queen Victoria began to purchase crochet and even learned how to make it.

The process of crocheting revolves around five basic stitches that vary in height; although stitching is a common attribute it shares with knitting it is often held to be easier with crochet as only one loop is active as opposed to the whole line. Learning may be difficult to begin with but crochet is a skill that when learnt is a lifelong hobby; one which will unleash your creativity, help you to unwind and most importantly perhaps make birthdays lighter on your wallet; and for those with misgivings just smile smugly at them and wait for them to come knocking asking you how you perfected your chain stitch

Frank Bolger

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