The word "crochet" refers to a method of needlework that involves looping thread with a hooked needle. While there are similarities with knitting, crochet differs from knitting because it uses only one needle rather than two, and the designs are typically worked horizontally rather than vertically. People enjoy the art because they can personalize their work with exactly the yarn and pattern they like. From beginners to advanced craftsmen, enthusiasts are able to create stunning designs for sweaters, scarves, afghans, and more. There is also the pride of craftsmanship with the finished product. There is virtually no limit to what can be created with this textile craft.
The term comes from the Old French word for hook, croche, which was in turn derived from the Germanic word croc. The first written reference dates back to the 19th century, with the first printed patterns appearing in 1819 in a ladies' magazine. The craft certainly dates back even earlier, as these beginning designs assumed the reader was already somewhat familiar with the practice.
Like needlepoint and knitting, the craft was a necessary skill all refined ladies were expected to master, for both practical and aesthetic reasons. With the industrialization of yarn production, cotton became less expensive and more readily available. Because the designs consume more yarn than comparable textile productions, it is well suited to inexpensive cotton, thus popularizing the craft.
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