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Crochet: a Unique, Hand-Crocheted Item or Heirloom - A Lost Art?

Updated on January 6, 2022
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I am a teacher, mom, grandma, wife and crocheter! I love keeping my hands busy. Crocheting is relaxing and productive for me.

An Easter Egg Doily that I made
An Easter Egg Doily that I made

Crochet a Lost Art Form? -- My family is keeping it alive generation by generation

When you come into my home, you will see hand crocheted doilies, afghans, tissue box covers, potholders, scarves, shawls and so much more. I love it because of what it stands for to me -- History and Sentimentality

Some might say, "Crochet???" Many people that I talk to, have really no idea what crochet is. They tend to think it is synonymous with knitting. I also find, lately, that fewer and fewer people know how to crochet. The ones that are learning are learning from books and videos, which is great. I, on the other hand, learned the old-fashioned way -- from generation to generation. Each generation has passed the knowledge of how to crochet down to the next generation and on, and on.

I, my mom, my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers, and on back as far as we know crocheted. It has been a huge part of our lives and hobbies. Not only have they taught each generation to crochet, but the wonderful heirloom doilies & afghans have also been passed down.

Each person that crocheted in my family seemed to have a trademark. One of my great-grandmothers made her family dishrags for the kitchen. The other great-grandma made afghans for EVERYONE!!! She did intricate ones that involved needlework patterns AFTER the afghan had been crocheted.

One of my grandmothers made beautiful, intricate, colorful doilies -- the other made adorable clothing for all the grandkids.

My mom takes after her mom and loves to make doilies. I tend to like making the afghans. No matter what the speciality, all of my ancestors were very talented and used their talent to give to others and supply much needed items for the houses.

Crochet is a tradition that I am now trying to teach my daughter, but so far, her interest isn't too much into it. She is 12 and can make some basic stitches. But she is not surrounded, as I was by 5 or 6 relatives crocheting around me. She sees only my mom and me on crocheting. Also, the competition between screen time and crochet has not been a good one for her.

I hope that the tradition will not die. Even though the art is not as widespread, the handmade items continue to be a hit.

I made the Easter doily, pictured, about 10 years ago.

My Grandmothers Handiwork
My Grandmothers Handiwork

Precious Crocheted Heirlooms Around My Home

Each Crocheted Item in my home has been made by family or friends.

Walking through my home, you will see many different crocheted pieces. Doilies decorate end tables, dining table, inside my curio cabinet, under the tv, framed, etc. Some people don't seem to realize how many uses crochet has in decorating and telling a story. In my home each doily, tablecloth, coaster, wall hanging and scarf holds a story or a memory of life in those days -- back when.

My mom framed one of her mothers and hung it in her bedroom. She used scraps from my grandmothers favorite dress and set the doily in the center. It is gorgeous! My grandmother got to where she couldn't crochet in the years that I was alive, so, I don't remember it. I DO remember, however, her doilies that were around her home and ones that she had made and given to my mom. Each one is precious and beautiful, especially knowing that those shaky, soft , old hands that I knew so well, had made them before the arthritis stepped in.

My great-grandma crocheted my mom's doll, similar to the size of a Barbie, a beautiful, intricate dress. The dress is made of crochet thread in yellow with red trim. After I married, my husband at the time, had a great-grandmother that found out I crocheted and she gifted me with a --- you guessed it --- a doll dress. This dress was from the same generation as my great-grandmother's!!! I came home and framed them in a 10X13 together. Showing not only beautiful handiwork that at the time was at least 50 years + old, but it also showcased to families with rich history in handmade creations.

In a shadow box frame I chose a piece of crochet from myself, my mom, both of my grandmothers and my great-grandmothers. I layered them to where each was showing and showcased all the generations of crochet that our family had made. This piece of "artwork" on my wall is by far my favorite decoration. Talk about the stories that come when people ask about that collection of crochet. The background piece I chose was my great-grandmother's hand crocheted dish rag, that really looks like a square doily. The beauty that we display, she once used to scrub pots.

My rich heritage of crochet, might sound odd. I feel, though, a deep connection to continue on with a tradition and craft that began way back in my family. I would love to know further back that 5 generations, but, unfortunately family tree books don't always tell the stories that truly made up the person's life.

The heirlooms I will pass down to my children, but the stories I will tell till they have them stored in their memory, as I do. A bit of home and heritage tied up in heirlooms around my home.

This doily, pictured, is one that my mom's mom made. The yellow rose at the center is gorgeous! They loved color in that error -- the mid-1900s.

Cats-in-a-Row by my mom - I LOVE Cats

Cats-in-a-Row Afghan by my Mom
Cats-in-a-Row Afghan by my Mom

Cat's in a Row

This afghan even amazed me on the uniqueness of it!!! Each row is cats! Too Cool! This afghan uses three colors of thread and follows a pattern that allows for the cat shape to show. You can google "Cat's In a Row Crochet Afghan Patterns" and find this exact pattern.

Small Pineapple Doily
Small Pineapple Doily

The Popular Pineapple Design

This pic is of one of many that has the popular pineapple design.

Pineapples in a home stand for hospitality. Well, the crochet world has taken that to heart. There are SO many that have what is called a crocheted pineapple within the design. After you learn what the crocheted pineapple looks like, you will notice them in more and more crocheted designs. Here is a pic of one that either I or my mom crocheted. It is a small circular pineapple doily. Again, you can search online for pineapple crochet patterns and a plethora of choices will pop up.

Scrap Yarn and Crochet

Scrap Afghan
Scrap Afghan

If you crochet any at all, you will find that scraps of leftover yarn or thread seem to mount up. Well, since crochet can use even bits of yarn -- you make scrap designs. There are SO many afghan patterns that use any and every color of scrap that you have.

My mom took some of the scraps that we had together and made this colorful afghan pictured here. The pattern is called a "Mile-a-Minute" and enables you to incorporate any color you choose.

Handcrafts - Which of these do you do?

One of MANY Scarves that my mom and I make
One of MANY Scarves that my mom and I make

Do you.....

See results

Beginner Crochet - How-to Books and YouTube Videos can be a HUGE asset!!!

Patterns -

I like books for crochet better than websites, primarily because you can have it nearby while crocheting. Though if it is online and printable then you can have your pattern available in either paper or online. Often times I forget my paper copy when I go places, but can always pull it up on my phone and have it even if I forgot the trusty paper copy.

YouTube Videos -

Even as a "seasoned' crocheter, I will sometimes turn to YouTube if I need to be reminded of a stitch or to learn a new stitch. Learning to crochet has never been easier than it is now with all the "How-to" videos out there online. An example of one of those how-to videos is below.

Crocheted Flower

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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