Illustration: Crochet chair back pattern, 19th century.


Although crochet can often be closely, although inaccurately twinned with knit, it has in fact long been associated with lace rather than knit. In many respects, it could be seen as a simpler, though still effective interpretation of lace skills. Although obviously not as fine and accomplished as professional lace making, depending on the materials used and the fineness of both yarn and needle, a wide variation of crochet can be achieved.


Crochet can be produced quickly and efficiently with one hook and a continuous chain. From this relatively simple process, much more complex patterns and interpretations can be achieved as is shown in some of the examples that illustrate this article.


Illustration: Crochet collar pattern, 19th century.


In the mid-nineteenth century, the skill became particularly widespread in Ireland where extra income could be achieved with little initial outlay. Crochet pieces were produced in large numbers and were used within costume and domestic interiors for such items as collars, cuffs, pillow borders and table linen.