Crochet is a type of needlework, which is exclusively used in making fabric from yarn or thread with the aid of crochet hooks. Crochet, a word derived as is from the French, meaning "hook", can create beautiful and useful items such as dresses, shawls, sweaters and table mats. The process of crocheting is similar to knitting although there lies a difference that only a single loop of thread or yarn is active at a given time in a crochet.
History takes us back to the 19th century, when crochet became very popular in America and Europe. With the increasing production of cotton threads in America, crochet, which required considerable supply of thread soon gained prominence. Women of the 19th century, adopted crochet as a hobby as well as a source of income. Today, many enthusiasts take up this craft as a hobby, keeping the technique of this traditional needlework alive.
Making a Crochet
To begin making a crochet, you will need some basic materials such as crochet hooks and yarns or threads. The hook, one of the most important tools, comes in various sizes and lengths. Hooks are made of steel, aluminium, plastic or wood. Steel, aluminium and plastic hooks are available at reasonable prices at any crafts shop or hobby stores. You can also go in for sophisticated wood hooks created by trained artisans and customize them with beads and semi-precious stones of your choice. Moreover, steel hooks are used for fine wool and cotton work, while plastic and aluminium hooks are used for synthetic materials and wood hooks are preferable for heavy wool. Thus, you need to be sure to buy the right kind of hook for the type of crochet you desire to create.
Moving on to yarns or threads, these are easily available in a considerable variety of cotton, jute, synthetic, and light, medium and heavy wool. Apart from these two important materials, you will need a tape measure to measure your crocheted work. Sometimes cardboard cut outs are also used to create fringes and tassels, while a pompon circle is used in making pompons, which are decorative balls of cotton, wool or plastic.
The process of crocheting is not very difficult although it needs considerable practice. Begin making a crochet by placing a loop on a hook and then pulling another loop through the former loop. This process needs to be repeated to create a chain of desired length. You can either work in rows or join the chain to the start of the row with a stitch and continue in rounds. Further, you can create stitches by inserting one or more loops through each loop in a chain.
If this sounds confusing, search the internet for design patterns and catalogues of famous crochet designers. Also, there are many online tutorials, which will help you in your initial learning phase of the craft of crocheting with detailed images. Moreover, you can go through books and magazines of vintage as well as contemporary crochet patterns available either online or in any book store to learn more about crochet.