The word crochet comes from the French word ‘croc’ and the old Norse word ‘krokr’, both meaning ‘hook’. It is believed that crochet originated in the 16th Century and was originally known as chain lace in the UK. There are some theories that say Italian nuns worked crochet based nuns lace as far back as the 15th Century for use in church decoration but this is not proven.
Crochet is very likely a development of a type of Chinese needlework called tambouring. A needle with a hook on the end was used to work thread through fabric stretched over a hoop. It was the French people who really gave us crochet as we know it today when they decided to remove the base fabric from tambouring and simply work on the wool. This was known as crochet in the air. Bobbin lace patterns were reworked so as to be suitable for crocheting. These patterns were published in books which were bought by thousands of women during the 18th Century and so started the craze for this popular yet practical craft.
There are a number of different types of crochet hooks available for different types of projects and taste. Aluminium is one of the most popular materials for crochet hooks as it is solid and will not bend. This means that you get a greater consistency with stiches. Steel is also a popular choice because of its durability. A lot of metal hooks will come with a plastic handle to help with grip. Plastic hooks tend to be much cheaper to purchase and come in a range of bright and fun colours. However, if buying a plastic hook you should make sure that it does not have a rough join seem down the side as this can tear your wool. Wooden hooks are often the most expensive and can come highly decorated. Just make sure that you choose one that is smooth as sometimes they can have rough edges from the varnishing.
|Crochet Hook Conversion Chart|
|2.25 mm||1 / B||13|
|3.50 mm||4 / E||9|
|5.00 mm||8 / H||6|
|5.50 mm||9 / I||5|
|6.00 mm||10 / J||4|
|6.50 mm||10 1/2 / K||3|
|9.00 mm||15 / N||00|
|15.75 mm or 16mm||Q||-|
When it comes to size there are a couple of options to choose from; steel sized and standard. Steel sized hooks are for use in thread based projects (things like doilies). Standard sized hooks are used to work with wool of varying thickness. They are allocated a number dependent on the size of the hook. Many patterns will state which number hook should be used for the project in question.
What is the difference between crochet and knitting?
When knitting all of your stitches are open and spread across the whole needle. This means that if you drop a stich the whole row can be affected. With crochet you only ever work on one stitch at a time which means that if you make a mistake you can simply undo that stitch and start again. Crochet tends to use about 1.5 times more wool than knitting for the same project.
Basic Crochet Technique
There are two main crochet holds (how to hold your hook). Firstly there is the knife hold which is also known as ‘overhand’. You simply hold the hook with your four fingers and the thumb at the base, a bit like you would hold a knife! In this hold you will achieve
a forward and backwards motion.Secondly there is the pencil hold, where you hold the hook exactly like you would hold a pen or pencil! With this hold you will find yourself doing more of a scooping motion. The former is better for those who want to limit the amount of wrist movement whilst crocheting as the hold means that you wrist stays quite straight throughout. The later involves much more motion.
Here are a couple of great videos that should introduce you to the basic crochet techniques!