Advanced Graphs
1850 Pattern
Free Demo
Buy SymblCro
e-mail me

Antique Crochet Introduction


Several other persons have written about the history of crochet in some detail, but they only whetted my curiosity as to exactly when and how the specific parts of crochet technique and pattern writing evolved. So I collected all the early crochet books I could find, and set to to work.  I puzzled through the patterns, which became more idiosyncratic as I moved further back in time.

The problem of writing a pattern so any crocheter can understand it remains unsolved. Maybe it has no solution.

This publication contains my study of the development of crochet pattern writing, stitch types and names, and standard figures. I have restricted my study to patterns written in English and published in books between 1840 and 1900. This is because my time is finite, and crochet as we know it in the 21st century was well established by the start of the 20th century.

I tried to select patterns which illustrated the developing clarity of instructions and the recognition and naming of stitches as they appeared. Patterns showing the early appearance of popular figures also get analysis. Then, I include a few that defy rather than enlighten the crocheter. You will recognize these, easily. I have not always been reverent about them. Also note that my text includes a lot of opinion.

In order to see how a pattern directed the crocheter to make the resulting item, I crocheted several pieces, graphing them first to get a feel for the work. After crocheting the piece, I frequently had to update the graph; sometimes the graph was incorrect, sometimes the pattern was inaccurate. Sometimes the illustrated sample was wrong. (Sometimes the written pattern was impossible.)

The samples show how the stitches produce the design, rather than any great skill.  I made the graphs with SymblCro, Advanced version.