Historic Folk Toys: Craft, 'My First Crochet Set'

Historic Folk Toys: Craft, 'My First Crochet Set'

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My First Crochet Set
Our My First Crochet Set comes with a Boye 6-inch Size G crochet hook, acrylic yarn, illustrated instructions, and history. This is a fun beginners' set that will get you hooked on crochet! Nice for group instruction and for beginners of all ages. Crochet is one of the easiest types of needlework to learn. Give it a try and you'll see why.

Historical Background: The word "crochet" comes from the French word "croc," meaning "a hook." Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes. The smallest crochet hooks are used with fine cotton or silk thread to make laces and finery. The regular size is perfect for personal items, such as blankets and clothing (sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens, etc.). Jumbo crochet hooks are available for use with jumbo yarn and to create heavier items such as rugs.

Few examples of old crochet remnants remain because of deterioration, but some have been located in Africa, China, Europe, Turkey, North America, and South America. Crochet is similar to knitting in the formation of loops, except that knitting uses two needles and crochet only uses one. Crochet is called "shepherd's knitting" in Scotland because of the caps and heavy cloaks worn by shepherds made from this dense type of crochet. Pioneers in early America reused wool from worn-out clothing and devised the "granny square," which could be pieced together to form a patchwork blanket, or made into clothing or bags.

The tiniest of crochet needles and the finest of threads were used by nuns in Italy during the 16th century to make lace for altar cloths and church garments. It became known as "nun's lace" and quickly spread to Spain and Ireland. One particular French émigré, Eleanore Riego de la Branchardiere, moved to Ireland and became fascinated with the lace work of the nuns at a convent in Dublin. She popularized this craft probably more than any other person by publishing her work, including newly devised stitches, in her magazine, The Needle. Two other women taught this craft to women during the first half of the 19th century in homes set up for the poor, and their work from these "homes" is still popular and named after their origins: "Carrickmacross lace" and "Clones lace."

Knitting and crocheting are grouped together in many publications. Many women's magazines began to promote these kinds of leisure work for Victorian-era woman as a form of usefulness. Women had more free time due to the technological advances of the day. Since a woman must be doing something useful, she could crochet or knit for charitable organizations or simply for her own personal use. Some of the magazines included patterns for: table scarves with crochet lace on the ends, yoke patterns to be used for a camisole or nightgown, a tuxedo collar with matching cuffs, chair backs, table cloth and napkin sets, and household linens. (The list is long!) These "ladies of leisure" had to find something to do with their hands. This might explain the frilly appearance of Victorian homes decorated with lacy items covering all sorts of furniture tops, sofa backs and chair arms.

Other forms of crochet, which resulted in lacy appearances, are Filet crochet, Hairpin crochet, and Broomstick crochet. Filet crochet became so popular that a deviation from it was thought nice. The May, 1928, Needlework Magazine features "A Handsome Border for Luncheon-Cloth or Centerpiece, with Matching Napkin-corner, Tulip Design" and is described as being a "pleasing change from the persistently popular filet-crochet." Surely this became a most popular pattern! Hairpin crochet is worked on a two-pronged steel loom, which looks like an enlarged hairpin. The crochet hook works the thread or yarn loops between the prongs of the tool. The prong is turned left to right after each stitch is made. There are many beautiful variations and finished hairpin lace can be used as an inset in fabrics near a hem or sleeve edge, or it can be used to join other needlework pieces together.

"Broomstick lace" is made with a crochet hook and a giant knitting needle. The size of the giant needle and crochet hook determine the size of the stitch pattern. An entire garment can be made with a broomstick lace pattern and it is fairly easy to do. There is really only one stitch (one set of stitches, that is) which is used in broomstick crochet.

Even if you are a beginner in crochet, it is easy to make a small, pretty and/or useful item. There are so many choices to make: small thread for doilies and Victorian pretties, two-ply yarn for baby items, four-ply yarn to make a scarf, or rug yarn for your very own personally designed rug. Our My First Crochet Set will be a great beginning for anyone!

PACKAGE DIMENSIONS - 4.75 x 7.5 x 0.5"