Clues From History
The origin of crochet is hard to pin down to a specific time or region of the world; however, what we do know is that it is a much younger technique than knitting or weaving. Definitive archaeological records exist for both of these two methods of making fabric. Much less is known about crochet. The Crochet Guild of America has a fascinating article on this subject and is well worth a read. I love that examples have been found in China and Guiana which indicates that crochet was not purely a European skill.
Long before crochet patterns were written, women and children were taught crochet visually. One of the most well known of the early forms of crochet is Irish Lace. Crochet was used to replicate the more expensive laces worn by royalty and the upper echelon of society. Women would examine the designs of these laces then create their own versions using basic crochet stitches. Once Irish lace became a cottage industry, women would create individual motifs that were sold to lace brokers who had them assembled into full pieces of lace. Often these artisans would create signature pieces that they guarded from others who would seek to steal their design. Some things have not changed except we now have laws to aid in the protection of intellectual property.
The Evolution of My Method
I am of the opinion that those who learned to crochet visually and not introduced to patterns until later in their crochet journey tend to have more of a “gut feeling” for crochet and what the stitches can do and how best to use them. This is my preference for teaching beginners to crochet. I want to get the hook and yarn in their hands, allow them to perfect the skills and then introduce them to the written formulas and designs.
Intuitive Crochet Is Not A Roadmap
I am of the belief that the same is true of crochet. If all a crocheter knows is how to follow patterns, then what happens when the pattern doesn’t work, or they’ve made a mistake? I want crocheters to have an intimate relationship with crochet. I want them to know that a single crochet is basically a cube and that a double crochet is essentially two single crochets stacked. I want them to know what happens when a variety of stitches are worked in a particular…or random order. I want them to learn they can make something by just picking up yarn or thread and a hook. I want them to know what happens when you use a variety of hook sizes with different yarns. I want them to recapture the innocence of childhood and just have fun playing. Once armed with this skill all crochet projects can be approached with confidence. Not everyone who learns intuitive crochet will use it in a freeform style, but they will know they have the skills to tackle anything.
I have taught crochet to adults, children, as well as a few seasoned citizens. The anxiety of making a mistake nearly ALWAYS steals their joy. I am now on a mission to teach crochet intuitively. I am still in the process of figuring out exactly how this will look, but you are here at the conception and I hope you follow along.
As I write my lesson plans for Texas Yarn Lovers Event in April, the first place I will teach in this way, I am excited for the possibilities. It is as if everything I have ever done in crochet has prepared me for this moment. I want to share my love for crochet and sprinkle seeds of crochet love everywhere I go. I hope you come along for the ride.
Until Next Time…crochet outside the lines,