Crochet is a popular hobby that can turn skeins of yarn into beautiful works of art. The skillful tucking and turning of the crochet hook has created millions of gifts and family heirlooms all around the world, a way to craft custom items of clothing, decor, and other pieces for practical use.
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A Multicultural Mystery
Where did it all begin, and how long has crochet been a part of our culture?
Crochet is an ancient form of handwork that appears in many regions of the world. Many historians suggest that crochet originated in China, and made its way over to Europe. Others claim that it had its start in Arabia. In addition to evidence of crochet in both of these ancient cultures, a British anthropologist named Walter Edmund Roth also found examples of crochet among the natives of South America in 1916!
Regardless of where it began, crochet did eventually arrive in Europe, where Italian nuns in the 1500's were known to crochet textiles for churches. It soon spread up into the Celtic and Germanic regions as well. The word crochet comes from the French word for hook, referring to the tool that is used to work the yarn or thread.
Crochet and the Irish
In 1845, the infamous potato famine began to ravage Ireland, and poverty spread through the land that was so severe, over the next 5 years it would take the lives of over a million people. Many families and workers who could no longer farm because of the famine turned to the art of crochet, and began turning out textiles to sell.
Soon, schools were formed throughout Ireland to teach more people how to generate wealth by crocheting. Through this skill, many of the poor were able to earn and save enough money to immigrate to America. They brought their skill with them, and it soon spread to their new neighbors.
You could say that what we call a hobby today, once saved the people of Ireland!
Today, you can find crochet patterns to make anything from toys to ties, dresses to drapes. There are also crochet clubs and organizations all over the nation. The tradition has been carried down through the years, as mothers and grandmothers teach the next generations.
The versatility of crochet makes it a popular craft among DIY fans. You can create delicate lacey doilies, or thick chunky throw blankets, all depending on your size of hook and thread/yarn. And the selection of beautiful yarns in the modern hobby stores is enough to inspire any crochet artist.
Maybe crochet is also popular because the basics are simple and easy to learn. Children and adults alike can enjoy being creative with some yarn and a crochet hook. Yet, with practice and learning, more intricate designs can be achieved to capture the interest of more advanced students.
A Memorial of the Memories Made
If your loved one was one of those generous souls who enjoyed crocheting gifts for their family and friends, there are no doubt a lot of memories attached to the afghans and children's toys that can be found throughout your home. So, why not honor those memories with a custom made crochet themed cremation urn?
The work that we do in a lifetime will live on after us, and pieces of crocheted handiwork are perfect examples of the good deeds that remain with others when we pass on to the next life. We cannot always erase the grief of losing a loved one, but we can minimize it by remembering them and honoring them for the good things they did, and the beauty they left behind for us to enjoy.