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Crafty Creative Crochet on Etsy & Elsewhere
Crochet is a Fiber Arts Craft
My crafting world revolves around the fiber art of Crochet. This story will tell you about the handicraft known as crochet, plus show you beautifully handmade examples of various techniques and stitches used in creating both practical and playful hand-crocheted items.
Personally, most of my crochet is done using single & double crochet, with the occasional fancy stitch for a border. Therefore, I really admire the crochet artists who create using intricate and beautiful stitches, as you will see in their gorgeous creations sprinkled throughout this page and featured in their Etsy Shops, and Elsewhere..
*Photo credit: Example of the Moss Stitch in Crochet: Photo shared through Creative Commons by Jilted Ballerina on Flickr
Crochet in the Past...
The fiber art of crochet became popular as a craft during the 19th Century. Other needlecrafts were known earlier, but there is no real history of crochet much before that time. At least there do not appear to be any surviving samples of crocheted fabric in any collection much before the Victorian Era in England and Europe.
Crochet basically began in Britain, America and France as a less costly substitute for lace. In the mid 1800s, during the Great Irish Famine, nuns taught local women the art of thread crochet. This beautiful Irish Crochet (as we know it today) became a way for individuals to support communities whose traditional livelihoods were lost to wars and crop failures.
Although there were not many samples of crochet from early times, we have many fine examples today. Let's take a look at the variety available.
Crochet is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process to create a chain of the length needed for a specific pattern or project. Work the chain in rows, or in rounds. Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain, with only one loop left on the hook at any one time.
There are actually just 6 basic stitches --
*double tripe/treble crochet
Most items use just two stitches, the chain and single crochet. By combining stitches, different patterns can be achieved.
There are many how-to videos for various kinds of crochet stitches available on YouTube and any number of articles with instructions, so individual ones won't be presented here. This is mainly a brief explanation of various crochet stitches ~ with delightful handmade examples showing how a particular stitch looks in a sweater, a scarf, a pair of booties...... etc.
The Various Styles of Crochet
The following are variants of the basic crochet method, with brief explanations and lovely hand-crocheted examples.
Traditional Irish Crochet lace created with fine cotton yarn is renowned throughout the world and has become synonymous with all that is beautiful in handicrafts.
What began as a Cottage Industry has grown today to include many styles and forms from clothing created with crocheted fabrics to caps for newborn babies and darling plush animals for children. Every kind of yarn imaginable is used in modern creations, including baby yarn, sport yarn, 3- and 4-ply yarns, specialty, bulky and rug yarns. Cotton is still used in bedspread thread yarn and has become very popular today for washcloths and dishcloths because it is durable and strong. Wool yarn continues to be popular, particularly for home decor and winter wear (and many crafters love to 'felt' with wool yarn), and acrylic yarn is used by most crafters for its versatility and washability.
Victorian Rosebud Gift Bag - by Crochetbymsa on Etsy
Irish Lace is a type of lace created by crocheting separate motifs, which are later assembled into a mesh background.
This Victorian Rosebud Gift Bag is a lovely example of the pattern of Irish Lace. The delicate thread pattern is reminiscent of the romantic Victorian era.
Filet Crochet is a type of crocheted lace that is 'gridlike' because it uses only two crochet stitches, the chain and double crochet. It forms patterns by filling in parts of a chain stitch mesh. Filet crochet is used for decorative items like window curtains, tablecloths, coasters and placemats. Patterns are worked from a graph and created by combining solid and open meshes.
Wonderful Example on Etsy
Most delicate crochet of Irish lace and other lacy items from doilies to tablecloths and bedspreads are done in 100% mercerized cotton 'crochet thread'. It comes in a variety of colors, in addition to the traditional white.
Hairpin Lace Crochet
Hairpin Crochet is created by using a tool that looks like a long 'hairpin' or tuning fork. This strip of lace must be removed from the frame before it may be used. Patterns consist of long strips that are joined together to form the finished article.
A Beautiful Example of Hairpin Lace in this Shawl
by annerstreet on Etsy
Anna, an Etsy Shopkeeper from Europe, designs original hand knitted and crochet fashion accessories, all handmade by her.
Here is a perfect example of the crochet technique known as 'Hairpin Lace' used to create this gorgeous lacy shawl in a mix of white, purple, orchid, and antique rose.
Anna's shop is filled with beautiful items, including more lovely shawls, hats, mittens and scarves. Come see all her lovely items at annerstreet.
Broomstick Lace is a Beautiful Crochet Stitch
Broomstick lace is a crochet technique that results in a very lovely pattern when used for clothing and blankets. It dates back to the 19th century and is done using a crochet hook and another long slender item such as a knitting needle. It is sometimes called jiffy lace or peacock eye crochet. The above example shows the lacy scallop design in a baby blanket which can be found below.
Broomstick Lace Baby Blanket
by Tessasplace on Etsy
The Broomstick Lace crochet stitch was used to create this lovely Baby Blanket in shades of Blue, Green, Yellow, Grey, Brown, and White. The blanket measures 27 by 33 inches (approx. 2 feet by 3 feet).
It is the creation of Tessa from Louisiana and can be seen in her Etsy Shop Tessas Place.
Tunisian Crochet - or Afghan Crochet
Tunisian -- or Afghan -- Crochet is a technique that combines both knitting and crochet to form a soft, yet firm fabric. An 'afghan' hook is used for Tunisian Crochet, which is long like a knitting needle, but with a hook on the end. Like knitting, all the 'loops' for the number of stitches required are "cast on", then worked off, for each row. Unlike knitting, the work is never turned.
The Tunisian 'fabric' thus created is less elastic and thicker than normal crochet, making it very suitable for blankets and winter wear, as seen in the close up of this crocheted 'baby sweater' above.
*Image of Pastel Multi-Colored Tunisian Crochet Baby sweater taken by For Baby Creations for her Etsy Shop.
Granny Square - Sometimes called an Afghan Square
It tickles me to read the description of a granny square as being a crochet technique that produces square fabric by working in the round. Traditionally, a granny square is made with a series of chains and double-crocheted blocks--a kind of filet crochet in the round, if you will, working from the center outward. Crochet crafters usually create multiple small 'granny squares', called 'motifs', then put them together to form a completed piece.
Granny squares are most popular today for creating purses, shawls, scarves, and afghan-style blankets. In the 1970s there even appeared to be a 'Granny Square Trend' and variations on the theme were seen everywhere! The colors and pattern schemes for granny squares may have changed with time, but this form of crochet is still considered a 'staple' among crocheters. It's an easy technique to learn and these multicolor motifs are a great way to use up small amounts of left over yarn.
*This image of a 'Granny Square is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported and is presented by Durova on Wikipedia
A 'Granny Square' Kindergarten Mat in Bright Colors
by TuttiFruittiDesigns on Etsy
A perfect example of what you can do with 'Granny Squares' is shown here in this darling kindergarten mat afghan in Bright Colors. It was created by the crafter behind Tutti Fruitti Designs on Etsy, Judie of Florida.
By the picture, you can see how nice the colors blend together to create a lovely afghan.It measures 39 inches by 33 inches.
Check out all the beautiful baby afghans in the Etsy Shop of TuttiFruittiDesigns
A Collection of Crochet Stitches
Shell Stitch or Fan Stitch - Creates a Lovely Decorative Pillow
The Shell Stitch in crochet creates the shape of arcs and semicircles. It's often used as edging for Afghan blankets and sweaters. It can also be used for an entire item, such as seen in this lovely decorative pillow created entirely in shell stitch.
The crochet shell stitch is formed by anchoring several long stitches into the same base, anchoring both ends with short stitches in a manner that spreads out the cluster like a fan.
This crocheted pillow shown here in peach and rainbow yarn was handmade by a creative homeschooling mom to 5 in Colorado. It can be seen, along with a large variety of her other crafts, in her Etsy Shop lovinghandscrochet
Cluster Stitch Crochet - Creates a Lovely Shawl
A cluster crochet stitch creates a triangle shape resembling an upside-down shell stitch. It's worked across an equal number of stitches and joined together (clustered) at the top.
The example shown here is a lovely peach & white shawl created in a Triple Cluster Stitch pattern by Barbara, a crochet crafter in Reno, Nevada, and is featured in her Etsy Shop barbie777 Crochet Boutique
Crazy Stitch, Brick Stitch, Zig-Zag Stitch... - Variations of the Shell Stitch
The crazy stitch (or Brick Stitch... or Zig-Zag stitch) in crochet makes a unique pattern by using double or triple crochets in an offset shell pattern. It's sometimes called a brick stitch because the interlocking sections at an alternating left or right slant make the finished work look like a brick wall.
Puff Stitch - Creates a Cute Cap!
The crochet puff stitch is named such because it gently 'puffs up' into an oval shape. Puff stitching adds great texture to crocheted fabric. To crochet a puff stitch, you half-close several stitches worked in the same stitch and then join them together to finish the stitch.
Popcorn Stitch - A very versatile crochet stitch
The Popcorn Stitch is similar to the Puff Stitch in that it is oval and stands out from the fabric. It is similar to a shell stitch, involving putting multiple stitches in one base stitch, then the stitches are pulled together at the top. This makes the stitches puff out to make a three dimensional bubble in your pattern.
A great example of the Popcorn Stitch can be seen in this adorable pair of baby booties. The pattern for the booties was created by Emily of Minneapolis, and can be seen in her Etsy Shop Puffalump Brand.
Cable Stitch Crochet - Fisherman-Style Sweater
Most crafters in the field of fiber art relate a 'cable stitch' to Knitting. As seen in this example, cables can also be created in crochet.
To make a crocheted cable you will need 4 stitches. Make a chain in multiples of 4, plus add 3. Four (4) cables would be 16 stitches, plus 3, equals 17. Therefore you'd begin with a chain of 17 stitches.
Pictured above is a a man's fisherman style sweater that will be a treasure for years to come. It has vintage styled designs of cables, baubles, popcorns, diamonds, and ribbing. It has been beautifully handcrocheted in the traditional style with set in sleeves and ribbing around the collar, waistband and cuffs. It is the creation of a crochet crafter from Phoenix and can be found in her Etsy Shop Crochet Gal.
Cable Stitch Tutorial
For an excellent tutorial on the crocheted cable stitch, check out How to Crochet a Cable Stitch from All Free Crochet.
Wave Pattern Stitch - in a lovely afghan
A wave pattern is created by repeating double crochet stitches interspersed with increases and decreases. It looks particularly interesting on crocheted washcloths & blankets like this lovely afghan. The wave pattern is also called a 'Zig Zag Chevron' pattern.
Check out this Zig-Zag Chevron pattern afghan pictured above. It was created by Jackie in New Hampshire and featured in her Etsy Shop JD Crochet Creations.
Crocodile Stitch Crochet - Looks Adorable on the Top of a Pair of Baby Booties!
The Crocodile Crochet stitch is the perfect 3D technique to imitate feathers or scales. The stitch is worked into a base of several V-stitches on a base of double crochet and separated by single crochet stitches.
Meg, a crochet crafter from Canada, created these adorable Baby Booties using the crocodile stitch. Visit her Etsy Shop The Crazy Cute Shop where she features her handmade Cute and Fun crochet items from dolls to animals to hats and more!
Amigurumi - The Japanese Art of knitted or crocheted small stuffed animals
Many of the crochet techniques and stitches presented here date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. One style of crochet -- Amigurumi -- is quite recent, having it's beginning around 2003. It has no practical use, but is becoming a well-loved creation because of it's overall 'Cuteness'. Typically, amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities. Sometimes inanimate objects are crocheted and given features, once again creating something 'cute' and a fun toy. They are a fun item to create and easy to do as most are made 'in the round' with single crochet.
With Amigurumi.... you can make Dolls!
... Like 'SweetDolls' on Etsy Did
Come meet Dawn, a Florida crochet crafter who has an Etsy Shop called Sweetdolls. Dawn creates a variety of dolls in crochet in the popular Amigurumi style. This one she created with "Short Black Hair"- Adorable!
Dawn also combines her love for sewing with many of her crocheted creations, where several of her darling dolls are wearing pretty dresses. They all can be found in her Etsy Shop sweetdolls
Amigurumi Makes Fun Playtime Purses for Little Girls
Playtime purses for little girls who love to imitate 'mom'. This mom created this darling cupcake style purse inspired by her daughter's favorite book "Pinkalicious" will charm all children at playtime!
This Etsy Shopkeeper is a stay-at-home mom of 2 who has a passion for cupcakes and crafts. The result is delightful 'Playtime items' for kids to enjoy. Check out her darling shop stayhomecupcake filled not just with crocheted cupcake shaped purses, but all sorts of fun items
Amigurumi Toys are also Popular - Cute for Little Boys...
Marika lives in Estonia, a small country in Northern Europe. She stays home with her two little boys and creates the cutest little animals in crochet, many of which she turns into rattles for babies. The items I like best, though, are her darling little cars and airplanes, like this set of toy car and airplane baby rattles!
Come see her whole selection of the cutest Amigurumi crocheted crafts in her Etsy Shop ByMarika
Amigurumi Animals - Roly-Poly Penguins in 'basic Tuxedo' and some 'non-traditional' colors.
Felted Crochet - This Felted Handbag is featured in the Etsy Shop of flowerbasketladybug
Felting is the shrinking of the material together using water, heat, and agitation. The fibers will lock together, and what once was a loose crocheted piece of cloth now will look like a solid fabric. Felting is wonderful for knitted or crocheted bags, because it will tighten the fibers into one durable material. The yarn used in a felted project needs to be 100% animal fibers, so wool yarn is usually the felting material of choice.
A creative crafter who crochets, knits and sews all her creations made this lovely and practical felted green apple handbag. It's a lovely example of what can be created by crocheting with wool yarn, then putting the item through the felting process. This New Jersey crafter also creates scarves and pins, along with her handbags, and features them in her Etsy Shop flowerbasketladybug
For Felting your Crochet - Choose 100% Wool Yarn
For all your felting projects, 100% wool worsted yarn is the yarn of choice.
For Cute Stuffed Animals and Toys - Acrylic Yarn is Best
Acrylic yarn is extremely versatile and best for crocheting plush animals & toys because it is machine washable and can be dried in the dryer. Perfect for baby toys that need to be washed regularly.
How-To's for Crochet Stitches?
I have not included instructions for all these stitches, because many 'How-To's' are available online.
Crafting in crochet, or learning various crochet stitches and techniques, can be a very enjoyable and relaxing activity. Did you know that Crochet is considered a form of meditation? :-)
I'd love to read your comments about the crafty world of crochet.
© 2011 Wednesday-Elf