I can, still, recall the first pieces of crocheting I ever saw.
They were medium sized crocheted doilies, done in an ecru color, heavily starched and surrounded by crocheted grape vine leaves. Bottle caps had individually crocheted covers done in a variegated, purple -colored thread. They were put together representing clusters of grapes.
When I came home from school, the doilies were attached to a pegged board to dry in the open air. They were always placed on our living room coffee table and end tables.
My mother and grandmother made these doilies and I thought they were the most beautiful creations. The grapes looked so realistic.
There were also high-standing, ruffled doilies, heavily starched and dried on peg boards. These, too, were the most fascinating pieces of crocheted work I had ever seen.
It’s “only” crochet
At that particular time, this type of work was thought of as “only crochet” and not in the same category as Belgian lace, nor the same category as a genuine oil painting, which were considered to be “real art.” It’s sad, but over the years, thoughts have not changed much.
Since the first day my mother taught me the beginning stitches of crochet art, I have been eager to learn all I can about this beautiful art form.
I look at crochet art as, “Using simple supplies to work magic.” The production of something from nothing may be better words.
Recorded history of crochet art
Oddly enough, there is little recorded history of crocheting. Not many ancient pieces in museums; no old figurines that show men or women sitting around a fire crocheting, and very few acknowledge the art in diaries and histories of the time.
This lack of information appears odd because of all the textile arts, crocheting is, perhaps, not the easiest to some, but it is the most versatile and possibly the most beautiful.
There are suggestions that crochet originated during the Irish Famine, but there is not conclusive evidence from where it originated.
When you think about it, all that was needed to crochet was some yarn, twine or small twigs and a hooked, smooth stick or a hooked index finger. So, why did it appear so mysterious when it could have been brought to the surface so much sooner? As shepherds sat tending to their flock, by night and day, possibly, they were designers of crochet stitches by pulling small strands of vines through loops with a branch that had a hook on the end, as they passed those long hours away.
Maybe it came from the way sailors make their knots. Who knows? There are so many ways crochet art could have come to being.
It is said that nameless women in the British Isles, Europe and America took the idea of pulling a loop through a loop and did this in more artistic ways and it became “fine art.” Wouldn’t it be nice to know who these nameless creative women were and where they may have lived? Most of all, I would like to know how they came up with their creative ideas.
I don’t believe anyone will ever know, nor will the art of crochet truly receive the appreciation it is due.
We should do our best to carry on the tradition of creative crochet art, keeping it alive by experimenting more and more upon the basics. We may be able to imitate, but we will never be able to duplicate the fine art of crochet. No matter where it originated, we know the celebration of Christmas around the world is soon to come.
Let’s talk about it in August
As an American folklore, the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, of welcoming others to the warmth of home.
Pineapple patterns done by paintings, woodcarvings, cross-stitching on cloth pieces or crocheting and knitting with thread or yarn are traditional, heart-warming gifts. They can be done without too much difficulty. So, why not welcome someone to your home or make them a beautiful house-warming gift from your creative hands and heart, filled with love?
Karen Buffington is a crochet artist who owns and operates Karen’s Korner Crochet Shop, 93 Pine St., Gallipolis.