History of crochet – part 2

miniature crochet
© F H Powell 2014

By the early 19th century crochet was becoming popular across Europe and appeared in literary works in the early years of the century. The first crochet pattern appeared in Holland in 1824 and by the middle of the century ‘crotchet’ as it was then spelt was appearing in craft books and instructional books on the subject. The popularity of crochet gathered pace in the mid to late 1800’s as it was a cheaper than lace making and therefore more widely practiced. The industrial revolution bought mass production of cotton threads that were being made available in greater quantities through the cotton mills of England. In 1801 242,000 were employed in the Lancashire cotton industry rising to 446,000 by 1861. This explosion in cotton production replaced hand spinning and gave cheap thread to the masses. Crochet became popular and a way of earning a living in Ireland particularly during the famine years of 1845-49. It was exported to Europe and America and was popular due to its high quality.