Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The following excerpt is from "The Ladies' Complete Guide to Crochet, Fancy Knitting and Needlework" by Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, and was published in 1854, in the US.  It's an interesting view of crochet in an historical context. ~~Kim

"Crochet Work proper is, in its present improved form, almost a modern invention.  It has only been introduced to any extent into this country within the last twenty years, but now it is very general, and our old-fashioned knitting work is completely thrown into the back ground by the Crochet needle.  The embroidered sheath and chased silver needle-case have disappeared even from the cherry-wood workstands of New England, and a thousand beautiful designs for chairs, cushions, toilets and wearing apparel, supply the place of the old-fashioned stocking basket with its well mended contents.  In England and Ireland, where the ladies are always industrious, Crochet work has arisen to the dignity of an art.  It is introduced into the national schools, and hundreds of poor are supported by the rich laces and pretty collars produced there.

It is quite wonderful to what perfection this art has reached in some districts of Ireland.  Every day develops new improvements and contributes some novel pattern to the world, which promises to render this class of lace making more popular than even the English point, has been, especially on this side of the Atlantic.  At the Crystal Palace this year, some specimens of Crochet collars, sleeves, and even entire dresses, were exhibited that had all the rich effect of old point lace.  Flowers, even raised in petals from the ground work, have been invented, and the most intricate patterns are given with a boldness of effect only to be found in the ancient lace we have mentioned.

Thus it is pleasant to see that what was late only a dainty accomplishment with which the gentlewoman idled away her time, promises to become a means of support to the working classes."

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