If you love Victorian, you have to love crochet!
The Victorian era conjures up mental pictures of this crocheted doilies
everywhere – on tables, chair backs, as well as mantels, beautiful
edgings on towels, napkins and bed linens, even Christmas
ornaments. This type of needlework has a multitude of uses and Victorian ladies worked hard at finding them all!
There are probably as many reasons to learn to crochet as there are those who crochet. Besides crochet
being “very Victorian” (and we all love that!), most ladies (and
gentlemen) who work this craft will probably agree to the following as
good reasons to begin crocheting today:
The history of crochet is questionable, to say the least. Even the “Experts” don’t agree. Many believe crochet has been around since Egyptian times; others argue that although there were items made “similar” to crochet, they were not truly what is considered crochet as we know it today
In the 1800’s crochet became a substitute for more costly forms of lace. It was not only cheaper to make, it was much faster and easier, too. Crocheting could be learned by almost anyone and the materials were easily available. Cotton thread, being easily manufactured and abundant, made crocheting affordable to virtually anyone who wished to learn. As early as the 1840’s, published instructions for crochet could be found. Soon afterwards patterns became popular items in ladies’ magazines.
As with most crafts, crochet has had years of popularity and years of almost obscurity. It was popular during the Victorian and Edwardian era, as well as into the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. It’s popularity died a bit after that but resurfaced during the 1960’s and then once again no longer popular by the 1980’s. Today crochet has taken its place among one the most loved crafts again.
Learning to crochet may take a little effort at first, but soon you will
be on your way to making wonderful afghans and beautiful doilies as
well as edging for tablecloths and pillowcases, to name a few items.
These crochet instructions with illustrations are from 1885, and, with the exception of name brand cotton thread, as relevant today as it was then. If you find the instructions a little too hard to understand or you feel they are too advanced for you, be sure to check out these easy to understand beginner crochet instructions. They are great. If you prefer to watch video, you’ll want to see these crochet videos. They make learning crochet a breeze!
In crochet, patterns are printed using abbreviations. If you don’t know
what they mean, it’s a lot like trying to read a foreign language – you
may be able to pick up a word or two but will not be able to understand
what it is you are supposed to do. Here is a list of abbreviations for today’s patterns you may find helpful. You may also find it helpful to print out the list and put with your crochet materials just in case you need a quick reference. If you are using a Victorian crochet pattern, check out the list of VICTORIAN abbreviations for crochet work.
If you already know how to crochet, here is a pattern from Art Needlework, 1895, published by The Brainerd & Armstrong Company, for Daisy Lace Design.
It uses a combination of the Roll stitches and Knot stitch, with plain crochet for the heading. It forms a handsome decoration for a silk scarf, and as a trimming for a lady’s sash it has not rival.
Here is the Crocheted Card Basket pattern from The Lady's Album of Fancy Work, 1850 (no author or publisher named).
For EVEN MORE FREE crochet patterns, visit the Victorian Crafts page.