Several other persons have written about the history
in some detail, but they only whetted my curiosity as to exactly when
the specific parts of crochet technique and pattern writing evolved. So I
collected all the early crochet books I could find, and set to to work.
I puzzled through the patterns, which became more idiosyncratic as I
moved further back in time.
The problem of writing a pattern so any crocheter can understand it remains unsolved. Maybe it has no solution.
This publication contains my study of the development of
crochet pattern writing, stitch types and names, and standard figures. I have
restricted my study to patterns written in English and published in books
between 1840 and 1900. This is because my time is finite, and crochet as we know
it in the 21st century was well established by the start of the
I tried to select patterns which illustrated the developing
clarity of instructions and the recognition and naming of stitches as they
appeared. Patterns showing the early appearance of popular figures also get
analysis. Then, I include a few that defy rather than enlighten the crocheter.
You will recognize these, easily. I have not always been reverent about them.
Also note that my text includes a lot of opinion.
In order to see how a pattern directed the crocheter to make
the resulting item, I crocheted several pieces, graphing them first to get a
feel for the work. After crocheting the piece, I frequently had to update the
graph; sometimes the graph was incorrect, sometimes the pattern was inaccurate.
Sometimes the illustrated sample was wrong. (Sometimes the written pattern was
The samples show how the stitches produce the
design, rather than any great skill. I made the graphs with
SymblCro, Advanced version.