We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, one of the main reasons why we love our job is because we get to meet some really lovely and talented folk. Ruby from Frank on Olive has kindly written this fabulous blog on crochet through the ages.
Throughout the decades crochet has stayed pretty much the same, swooping in and out of fashion magazines and catwalks around the world, that same old traditional square pattern you see thrown over the back of your grandma’s armchair – you’d think…? When you think of crochet, granted, you probably think of the garish granny squares in mustard yellows and pillar box reds of the seventies, when crochet was plastered all over everyone’s home. But if you actually take it right back to the beginning, you’d be surprised that crochet actually has quite a colourful past.
What I find really endearing about the ‘birth’ of crochet, is that it actually became popular in Ireland, during Great Irish Famine in the 1840s. Learning the art of crochet to create and sell ‘Irish Lace’ was an alternative way of making money for some families, and actually saved many during times of desperation.
Through this market, crochet became very popular in Europe and America, and ‘Irish Lace’ was soon a rather exclusive fashion accessory for the wealthy. It then became even more popular when Queen Victoria learnt to crochet, firmly pushing crochet on and into the 20th Century.
In the 1920s crochet evolved completely. Going from the very intricate, lace-like crochet seen on the lavish gowns from the turn of the century, to being used in a whole new way. This was when crochet started to be used as a fabric to create a garment, as opposed to being used as a luxurious embellishment. Instead of using thread, which was used to make lace, designers began using yarn, which was much thicker. It was now possible to create entire garments from crochet- that were not only wearable, but would also keep their shape. One of the more recognized fashions of the 20s, arguably, is the cloche hat. Traditionally thought to be made from felted wool, cloche hats were often crocheted, which again, brought crochet back into the limelight.
Throughout the 30s, 40s & 50s, crochet continued to be used to create garments and accessories, evolving and moulding itself to compliment the ever changing fashions – structured and fitted blouses, beautifully delicate evening gowns, adding detail and femininity to simple garments and as glamorous fashion accessories such as shawls and scarves.
It wasn’t until the 1960s & 70s that crochet began to come into its own. During this time there was a huge demand for home crafts and ‘modernising’ the home – and so the granny square was born. Moving away from the traditional crochet we’d seen up to then, albeit not completely, crochet started to introduce bright and bold colour, creating a number of (some might think) garish home textiles. The granny square being the door to a whole new world of modern crochet, which is what crochet was to be associated with from then on. In the 70s, the world literally went ‘crochet mad’. From blankets and cushions, to bath mats and toilet seat covers – there was a crochet pattern for everything.
Crochet had not only taken over the homes in the 70s, it had also taken over the wardrobes as well – with some rather hilarious outfits to say the least…
Then crochet started to slowly disappear start of the 21st century, crochet was an almost completely forgotten craft – all that remained were the blankets and bedspreads that your grandmother once made. It wasn’t until recent years that crochet has been revived, and with a little modern twist, it is now quickly reappearing in the homes, magazines and wardrobes of today.
Crochet is now more in demand than it has ever been, and with a new chic and contemporary style, it is firmly back on the pages of high fashion magazines and blogs – but as you’ve never seen it before.
If you fancy giving crochet a go take a look at Frank and Olive’s Facebook Page for details of Ruby’s fabulous courses.
We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x