Crochet is a French term meaning “small hook”. Whereas knitting uses two or more needles to form yarn into a fabric, crochet is done with just one hook. Instead of working with a row of stitches, each stitch or cluster in a row is completed individually before moving on to the next.
I think most people immediately associate the word crochet with “Granny squares” and rugs or throws. Granny squares are great ways of using up odd balls and scraps of wool. They can be made separately and joined together in whatever combination or size you want to do. The fact that you are doing just one at a time means they are easily tucked into a bag to take with you if you know you are going to be sitting somewhere waiting for a while.
While these are all very handy features of crochet, there is so much more you can do with it. Projects can range from fine cotton delicate lace to chunky yarn floor rugs or cushions. You can make clothing, accessories, home wares and even jewellery.
My grandmother did a lot of fine cotton crochet and I still have some pieces of her work. I probably took my inspiration from her as this has been the form which has appealed to me the most. There is something special about a handmade table cloth or dressing table set, as opposed to mass produced machine made ones.
There is a great range of versatility in crocheted garments as well. You can use basic yarns, stitches and motifs to make practical everyday wear, or fine luxury yarns and intricate lacy patterns to make stunning special occasion pieces.
The internet has provided a great forum for sharing patterns and tips in recent times, and also gives access to a huge online market for purchasing patterns, yarns and accessories.