Crochet is the technique of fabric construction by puling loops of yarns though other loops, using a special hook. Crochet has been practiced in India for the last 300-400 years. Portuguese missionaries introduced it in Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Goa is considered the oldest center for crochet craft in India. The Godavari Delta region in Andhra Pradesh is another important center where crochet has been practiced for more than 100 years.
The Goan Crochet
The delicate crochet craft is now practiced by skilled women in Panaji and Margao and is now a traditional craft of Goans. The Goanese crochet is unique in terms that every article has a set design to be followed. A different pattern is followed for garments, different for upholstery, different for bed covers, etc. These designs have not been published anywhere and have been passed on from generations to generations of Goanese households. Crochet items made of superior yarn – blouses, bed covers, table-runners, curtains, doilies are an integral part of a Goan bride’s trousseau. With the advent of machines to make crochet , the interest in handmade crochet is slowly dying down and a lot of people are looking for quick and alternative sources of income. However, it is important to ensure that such a national legacy is not lost with the test of time.
Materials required to Crochet
Crochet craft is an inexpensive craft that requires very basic raw materials and can be easily worked at home. The only raw material required is the yarn or thread used. A range of yarns can be used – vegetable dyed hand spun yarn, wool, merino wool and silk. Mill-spun cotton is used to make hand bags, purses, garments, etc. The crochet hook comes in many sizes and materials, such as bone, bamboo, aluminum, plastic and steel.
Process of Crocheting
Crocheted fabric in the modern sense is begun by placing a loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and so on to create a chain. The chain is either turned and worked in rows, or joined end-to-end and worked in rounds. Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain. This method distinguishes crochet from other methods of fabric-making as it is composed entirely of loops and is only secured when the free end of the strand is pulled through the final loop.
Crochet vs. Knitting
Crochet is often confused with knitting but there are differences in both the techniques. One of the more obvious differences is that crochet uses one hook while much knitting uses two needles. In knitting, each stitch is supported by the corresponding stitch in the row above and it supports the corresponding stitch in the row below, whereas crochet stitches are only supported by and support the stitches on either side of it. If a stitch in a finished crocheted item breaks, the stitches above and below remain intact, and because of the complex looping of each stitch, the stitches on either side are unlikely to come loose unless heavily stressed.
The history of crochet continues as new stitches, as well as new techniques and designs, are being developed by a whole new generation of crocheters. Magazines and books are now devoted to crochet, and extraordinary new yarns are being spun in every imaginable style, weight and color. The lowly bent needle has itself become a thing of beauty, created by artisans in many styles, sizes and materials from wood to acrylic to polymer clay.
A wide range of products are now made using the technique of crochet including coasters, cushion covers, place mats, bed covers, runners, curtains, pullovers, tops, handkerchiefs, table covers, belts, bags and more. Crocheted beanie hats and berets have been popular in International Fashion Trends. New silhouettes like tank tops, spaghetti blouses, boxy fit tops, boleros, bandannas and stoles are a being experimented. Crochet is in vogue this year as part of the Boho Trends. Hand-crocheted pieces like tops, dresses, swimsuits and bags have been trending. Kendall Jenner was also spotted in a wholly crocheted maxi dresses at Coachella this year!