Learning the History of Crochet – taking my crochet geekiness to another level

Does the history of crochet intrigue you as much as it does me?


Artwork appears via cassatt at flickr.com and is considered public domain.

As per the following definition, I’m slowly becoming a crochet geek.



noun: geek; plural noun: geeks
  • be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.

I know this is true because I spend most of my free time either crocheting, shopping for yarn, reading crochet blogs, or looking at photos of crocheted items that were made by others. I knew I’d crossed into a new crochet geek dimension this morning when I found myself looking up the history of crochet.

I’ve been crocheting for several years and it suddenly occurred to me that I really knew very little, if anything, about the beginnings of my favorite hobby/craft.

Who was the first person to take a strand of yarn and turn it into something warm and cozy?  After studying several websites, I could not find an answer to that question.  What’s even weirder is that I can’t even find an accurate date or time period where crochet actually started.

Best Sites to Learn the History of Crochet

I spent some time this morning searching the topic and the following are my favorite sites that I felt had some of the best information.  If you have another site that you think is useful, please share it in the comments and I’ll gladly add it to my list if I agree.

  1. History of Crochet written by Ruthie Marks
  2. Crochet at Wikipedia
  3. A Brief History of Crochet at Wool and the Gang

According to Crochet.org’s History of Crochet written by Ruthie Marks, “it’s impossible to find evidence of true crochet in Europe before the 1800’s.”  Crochet is thought to be derived from an ancient Chinese needlework technique known as Tambour way back in the 1700’s.  It can also be linked to Nun’s Lace in Italy as far back as the 16th century.

I found this statement in an article at Wikipedia:
“The first known published instructions for crochet explicitly using that term to designate the craft in its present sense, appeared in the Dutch magazine Penélopé in 1823.”

Although it’s factual beginning is a bit confusing, I did find an awesome page that shares some of crochet’s “greatest achievements” throughout the eras.  It was actually the first site that came up in my Google search.  The page is A Brief History of Crochet at WoolandtheGang.com where they’ve created a wonderful visual layout full of fun facts and trivia about crochet’s history.  If you’re feeling a bit geeky, like me, I highly recommend a visit there.  I learned a lot!

How about you?  Do you consider yourself a crochet geek?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.  I love hearing from my readers!


About Robin @ Imperial Crochet

I'm a former community manager of a now defunct lifestyle site who's been writing online, and off, for over fifteen years. My passions include my family, my cat, reading, writing, crochet, and yarn art. I've decided to stitch all of those things together by way of my new blog, Imperial Crochet. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!
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26 Responses to Learning the History of Crochet – taking my crochet geekiness to another level

  1. I’d never even thought about it, until I read this, now I need to know more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kati Lyn says:

    I tried too find more on its history once but it was very difficult. Almost as if it was a hidden art

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello fellow crochet geek 🤓 This is so weird…just yesterday I was sitting here with my poncho WIP, wondering who was the first one to decide that a hook, some yarn, and fancy loops and knots can be made into beautiful things . I swear – it really was yesterday! 😊 And here you are, giving me everything that’s out there about the history of crochet. I will now dive into the sites learning some more. Thank you so much, Robin 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kathyreeves says:

    That really was fascinating, I am obviously a fellow geek!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For what it’s worth, the oldest ball of yarn was found in Cambridge, England (in 2016) that they believe dates back 3000 years. YES!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. tonymarkp says:

    Yes, I do, enough to have learned that Tunisian crochet probably isn’t from Tunisia! Which is bizarre.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love crochet but it would be more fair to say that I’m a fibre geek 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tami says:

    I tried doing doing some history of crochet research once and I was also surprised at how little info is out there. I did hear an interesting crochet fun fact while I was watching one of my favorite documentary series “The Roosevelts” on Netflix – apparently the day that FDR died his mistress was with him and was crocheting when he suffered his aneurysm. Well that’s not really a fun fact, but it was an interesting fact. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. About all I know of crochet history is this post I wrote featuring another WP blogger named Myra. Myra blogs about the truly stunning and realistic-looking crochet flowers and butterflies that her mom designed in early 1900’s China 🙂 💜 Jackie@KWH

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kate says:

    I started looking up the history of Crochet a while ago. I haven’t gotten far, but yes, I suppose that makes me a crochet geek too. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The history of crochet – awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such a cool idea for a post! I need to look into this now! Thanks for sharing what you found.

    Liked by 1 person

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