Friday, April 18, 2008

The Friday Fact

Crocheted Lace

How many of you remember the old crochet doilies that were at your grandmother or great-grandmother's house? Or Diana having to have more doilies than Josie Pye when she got married? In terms of years, especially when compared to other forms of lace, they're really not that old.

Crocheted lace as a lady's artform has only been around since the mid 1800's, when Irish nuns started doing it. Before that crochet was not something that nice ladies did. I've been unable to verify what I'm about to write, but it's still a fun story. It's said that the term "hooker" came about from crochet lace factories where the crocheters, who work with hooks, were expected to turn tricks on the side for the factory owner. Read that in a book called The Happy Hooker and yes it's about crochet.

Anywho, Irish nuns are said to have gotten ahold of crochet lace and turned it into a respectable artform by selling it and teaching it to their students. To this day crocheted Irish lace is very highly prized and is exquisite.

Doilies were a necessary part of life for the Victorian lady, especially from about 1875 on. Hair pomades were all the rage and ladies didn't want that greasy gunk getting all over their beautiful furniture. So doilies were crocheted and pinned to the tops of chairs. Later they were also pinned to the arms, then used as table toppers, runners, dresser scarves, etc.

Nowadays it's commonly referred to as thread crochet and it's an artform that I dearly love. The intricate lacy patterns hold my attention in a way that regular crochet doesn't.

1 comment :

  1. I had no idea about the origin of hooker. If only I knew how to crocet! My grams tried to teach me but I was so young, and I don't remember a thing. It's one of those crafts I'd love to pick up again.