Welcome to our new twice monthly Friday feature "Crochet Corner" with Dora Ohrenstein! We are so excited to have Dora working with us to bring all kinds of interesting and relevant crochet information to all of the crochet enthusiasts here at Jimmy Beans Wool. We hope you'll join us back here every other Friday in the "Crochet Corner" and please feel free to send feedback or crochet topic suggestions our way! Without further ado, we give you Dora Ohrenstein!
We lovers of crochet find working with hook and yarn to be a very satisfying endeavor. We get all excited about discovering new techniques, trying a new stitch or project. We also turn to crochet because it's so calming to feel the rhythm of one's stitches, and feel the texture of yarn and hook working smoothly and harmoniously together, as a lovely fabric unfolds from our busy fingers.
A Little Bit of History and Some Crochet Mythbusting
|Stunning Irish Crochet |
circa 1910 from
|Irish Crochet wedding dress, |
from the UK Knitting and
Crochet Guild's Collection.
Look at the history of crochet, and how it was used. We really don't know when it was invented, but textile scholars have been unable to find any surviving samples nor any written references, older than mid 19th century. I find it quite plausible that crochet began at that time, though more basic slip stitching technique is probably far older. Knitting, on the other hand, has been around since medieval times, but crochet had a totally different origin.
|Another item from the UK|
Knitting and Crochet
Guild Collection, a 1940's blouse.
|Modern Antimacassar (or doily) |
made in Albania in 2006
|1975 design by Lillian |
Bailey published in
edited by Mark Dittrick
The problem is, crochet with bulky weight yarns can produce some very useful items, but may not be the most refined way to show off the craft. The beauty of crochet is really showcased with thinner yarns. The finer yarn you use, the more elegant your crochet can be.
|Beau Blazer from "Custom|
Crocheted Sweaters" by
Thank goodness, we have so much more to choose from today! A browse through the pages of this site yields a veritable feast of yarns in a vast array of weights and fibers. Today's great designers, like Doris Chan, Kristen Omdahl and many more whose names are less well known, show how glorious crochet can be. The times they are a-changing, and that makes me so glad to be part of the new world of crochet!
We'll be busting a few more crochet myths in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, let me leave you with my crochet tip of the day:
DORA's TIP OF THE DAY: Often I hear this dilemma when it comes to gauge: "I can match stitch gauge, but my row gauge is too small." Here's what to do: make your stitches taller by drawing up the first loop of the stitch to the height of 1/2". This is especially true for double crochet stitches, but will also work for any stitch - give it a try and you'll see what I mean!
Dora Ohrenstein is an author, designer and writer whose most recent book is CustomCrocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit. Her website Crochetinsider.com is a great source for articles, interviews and techniques, and she teaches online crochet classes there too.