Blog Entries, retirement, Writing

A Day in The Life of a COVID Stay-At-Home Female

Photo by Christian Lambert on Unsplash
  • 8:05 Up and at-em. Slowly. My body is stuck and I feel like I am moving through glue. Arthritis is to blame.
  • 8:20 Finally made it to the bathroom.
  • 8:45 Finished repairing the damage sleep caused. Stepped on the scales and gained a pound over the weekend. I am either eating too many chips or I am pregnant.
  • 9:00 Dressed and made bed. See Mom? I didn’t get on the internet just to make you cry.
  • 9:10 Breakfast gathered and brought into the office. No coffee today, because I drink decaf when I do drink coffee and not drinking coffee at all seems to be no problem. Besides, I don’t have irritating co-workers to deal with and no meetings in the breakroom that turn into marathon gab-fests.
  • 10:30 Read the daily Bible text, Breakfast completed, perused Facebook, wrote a blog entry, checked email, checked to-do list, looked online for baby girl names.
  • 10:35 Started working. The thing is, I work at home, doing a job that is sometimes boring and definitely tedious. But, I am saving my house. I call apartments all across the US, checking on apartment availability and pricing and then that info gets sent to the guys who hired me so they can set rates for the “daily pricing” system. Basically, apartments now charge as much as the market will bear, so no breaks on apartment rent.
  • 12:30 Lunch break. Left-over fish fillet made into a sandwich with cheese and tartar sauce. Better than a McDonald’s fillet of fish.
  • 1:30 Watched a guy on YouTube walking around Yokohama, Japan while I ate my lunch.
  • 4:05 Finished working for the day. Highlights from working: Lady: I need your home address and your birthdate before I can provide any information. Me: I am simply looking for pricing and availability. I am not filling out a lease at this time. Why do you need my home address and my birthday? Lady: We need it to make sure you are honest. Me: I will look elsewhere.
  • 4:08 Thinking about the lady I encountered. How will knowing my address and birthdate prove I am honest? I am baffled.
  • 4:09 Turned on the TV.
  • 5:45 Put my trash can out be the street for pick-up tomorrow. Watched an episode of Meet the Meerkats on Discovery+. And another. And another.
  • 6:00 Ate cereal for dinner because I didn’t want my leftovers and was too lazy to cook.
  • 6:45 Napped in my chair after dinner.
  • 8:15 1 hour and 15 minutes of meeting with Friends on Zoom. One of my favorite things to do during the week.
  • 9:15 Watched an episode of The Zoo. Animal shows are safe to watch. I am not old enough to watch anything that is rated “R.”
  • 9:30 Got ready for bed. I used to just get into the bed, now I have to get ready for bed. I am older, now.
  • 10:00 Read a book until I fell asleep.
  • 10:01 Rudely awakened when I dropped the book on my face.
  • 11:30 Read some more until I felt sleepy, again.
  • 11:31 Put the book on the nightstand so I wouldn’t drop it on my face, again.

If you read all of that, I congratulate you. You have a great deal of perseverance and stamina.

Blog Entries, Writing

A Pet Peeve

I am pretty chilled out about most things. It is a perk of getting older, I think. Like water on a duck’s back. But, it seems when something starts to bother me, a non-stop rant may ensue…

Let me start at the beginning. There is a company who sends me emails several times a day. These are completely unsolicited and unwanted. I do not read them and I do not want to read them. (I am not going to name the company in this blog because I refuse to give them any free advertising.) I have unsubscribed from these emails, on average, twice a week for the last month. I always get the message “You have been unsubscribed. Please allow ten business days to process your request.”

TEN? TEN DAYS? TEN DAYS NOT INCLUDING WEEKENDS? Oh, for crying out loud. Any reputable company can unsubscribe you from their email list immediately. As in right that second. As in you-will-never-receive-another-email-from-them

This company I am writing about not only did not unsubscribe me at my request, they INCREASED the number of emails they are sending me by a factor of four.

  • Sidebar: You see, you have to open the email to unsubscribe and that flags their account, telling them I opened the email and therefore I MUST be interested in their product and/or service.

I assume the thinking is, if they send enough emails to me, I will finally be intimidated into buying their product or service and I will finally stop receiving their emails. I am not a fool Unnamed company. I know if I buy your product and/or service, I will NEVER get rid of your emails.

I sent them to Google and reported them as spam. Maybe that will work. Likely, I will get another increase in the number of emails I receive from these people.

The funny thing is, I don’t even know how I got on their list to begin with. Probably, my email address was sold to them by someone else. If I ever find out who that is, I will report them to Google, too.

Blog Entries, Essay, Uncategorized, Writing

Anger Management and STRONG Advice to Landlords

This post is not about crocheting or writing. This one is about anger, as the title suggests. So much to deal with, these days. But, let me start at the beginning.

Anyone who follows this blog knows my brother died last June. In order to keep my finances in order without having to sell most of what I own, I decided to get a roommate who could pay me a small amount of rent monthly. I made a very bad mistake when I didn’t charge a deposit. I thought I was being nice. I thought I was doing my future tenant a favor. I tried to be a fair and reasonable landlady. What a mistake!

I found a woman in her fifties who needed a place to rent, so we agreed on a sum I gave the the grand tour of the house and she said she liked it. She signed the lease, agreeing to pay me month to month. Then, she moved in. Within a week, this woman started complaining about the temperature in the house. My house is 126 years old which means it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, even with HVAC installed. She complained about several things she thought was wrong with my house: No insulation, builder’s grade carpet in the bedroom, only two electrical outlets (she forgot to count the one in the bathroom) and the water from the water heater was too cold, the internet was slow, she had to park on the street, and on and on ad nauseum.

I replaced the water heater because it was old and a ticking timebomb, anyway. I patiently explained the cost of insulating a old home and the cost of re-wiring and old home. She demanded lower rent. So, we renegotiated and I lowered the rent by $100 a month. In retrospect, I should have told her to get lost right then.

Accusation

Then, she began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day. I told her I did not go into her room because I had no reason to go into her room. She installed a security camera and pointed it toward the door to the bedroom. This was apparently done the day she moved in, however, I didn’t know there was a camera in her room for a couple of months. She was bragging on a rug she bought for the floor and I spotted the camera when I went into her room (with her present) to admire it. I thought my head would explode, but I held my peace. Another big error on my part.

She began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day.

The next time she accused me of going into her room, I suggested she look at her camera footage and she would know I didn’t go in there. That became my new mantra. “Look at your camera footage before you accuse me.”

Escalation

By this time, winter was approaching and she began to complain about the room being too cold, the water being too cold, me going into her room and me listening to her phone conversations. As for the last complaint, I went into my bedroom, which is upstairs and right over her bedroom, to change my clothes after dropping food down the front of my shirt. She came up the stairs and demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

She demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations.

“I was on the phone and you went into your room to just hung out and listen to me,” she explained in her whining, complaining voice. What an incredible ego she had. Really? There couldn’t have possibly been another reason I went into my bedroom? She is too old to be an entitled millennial, but that is what she acted like.

I asked her through clenched teeth, “Is your TV on right now?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Stand in my bedroom and tell me what you hear.” I could not hear her TV in my room, nor could I hear her when she was talking on her phone in her room. She didn’t respond. She gave me a bitch-I-wish-you-would-drop-dead look and left. While she was heading down the stairs, I told her that I refused to sit in a closet and never come out just because she moved in.

She had her mail changed to a post office box because she thought I was reading her mail. She continually complained about me going into her room. She still complained about me listening to her phone conversations. She complained that it was my fault that HER Firestick stopped working because of my wonky internet. (I have no problem with it, whatsoever.)

As a side note, I didn’t promise 5-star accommodations. I distinctly remember promising a bed and a bathroom, kitchen and laundry privileges.

She nearly ruined my washer with using too much fabric softener and when I asked her to not use it again, she did anyway. It took me two days to clean out my washer after she left because the inside of it was covered in a sticky blue sludge that smelled just like her fabric softener. And I was allergic to it. when I did my laundry, inevitably, it coated my clothes. I had places that itched that I really didn’t want to scratch in public. I told her this. She didn’t care.

And then, the day before she left, she once again accused me of going into her room. My patience snapped and I suggested (loudly) that she check her camera footage. I suggested she stop making the accusation because if she asked me five months from now, I would tell her the same thing. “I did not go into her room!” I told her that if I HAD to do into her room for some reason, like the house was on fire, I would text her to let her know. I told her I never wanted to hear that accusation, again. She said, “All I want is peace.” I replied, “Then, stop your paranoid accusations and figure out, once and for all time, that I don’t care what is in your room and I have no burning desire to hang out in there when you are not home. I have a life and none of it includes looking around your bedroom.” My tirade was skillfully sprinkled with a few foul words and much longer than I included in this post.

She moved out the next day.

And after she left, I knew why she didn’t want me in her room and was so freaking paranoid about it. She robbed me blind. She must have had a pile of my things in a corner and she was afraid I would see them. The list of things she stole from me is as follows and in no way complete: sheets for the bed she slept on, 2 brand new pillows, the pulls from the ceiling fan, the light bulbs out of the ceiling fan, the bathroom set of cup, toothbrush holder and soap dish, a walking cane, a blanket I crocheted for her that she was supposed to pay for, another blanket I let her borrow, a 25 gallon plastic tote I let her borrow, a hammer, several screwdrivers, a cordless drill, kitchen utensils, an umbrella, and the key to the front door.

She robbed me blind.

Then she told one of my neighbors, who asked her why she was moving, that I kept going into her room when she wasn’t home and she had camera footage to prove it. That statement made her a liar as well as a thief, because there is no camera footage of me going into her bedroom because I never did.

And I don’t want to even discuss how nasty the bedroom and bathroom was right after she moved.

The Lessons I Learned

  • I will not invite someone I don’t know to live in my house, again.
  • And if I ever decide that someone can move into my spare room, they will give me a hefty deposit that I will NOT return until about 30 days after they have left and I have had time to assess anything stolen from me.
  • I will immediately evict anyone who starts to complain about my house.
  • I will not renegotiate the rent once it is agreed upon.
  • I will add $150 non-refundable key deposit and change the lock the same day a new tenant moves out.
  • I will not try to be a “nice” landlady, again.
Uncategorized

I Have NOT Been Idle

Although this year brought about many changes in my life, I have not been slack when it comes to creating. I still have a passion for crochet and other needle crafts. Being stuck at home because of the pandemic has been no hinderance.

For example, I finished a chicken latch-hook rug mostly because I wanted to learn the technique. What I really intend to do is to create a rag rug using old clothing. Just cut the fabric into strips to use instead of using tiny pieces of yarn. The chicken rug was fun to make and I believe the rag rug will be even more so because it will be part of my creative energy. I have not finalized the design for the rag rug, but I will very soon.

I have also completed a commission for a thick, bedspread sized blankie in pearl gray and I have started working on an afghan. I am also nearly finished with a kimono sweater. All of this while working full time in October, November, December, January and February. I am back to part-time for March and April and will working full time again in May and June.

By then, I hope to have some, if not all, of the above mentioned projects completed before full time work begins again.

Uncategorized

I Am Late This Year

The time has slipped by me and I realize I failed to write out my yearly manifesto. It is not a yearly resolution, but rather a series of unrelated and disjointed thoughts about life.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

DECISIONS

  • Make a list of decorating changes to my home. I want to make it as cozy and comfortable as possible without breaking the bank. This includes ideas for a real Boho look in my bedroom. Lots of color and me surrounded by things I truly love. Originally, a Bohemian was a person who traveled the world and picked up items to bring home for display. Well, I am not a world traveler, but I have a number of interesting collections: Dolls, Japanese fans, seashells, coral, books.
  • Unclutter. That seems contrary to the whole Boho idea, but what I mean is to unload extraneous items lying about the place. Items I either haven’t used in a couple of years or do not intend to use ever again. Selling them will add a bit a cash to my pocket and lighten the mood around here. Also, donations are good for the heart.
  • Unclutter my brain. In other words, simplify everything. I want to make my life a easy and simple as possible. In my attempt to unclutter, I will try to not add to the confusion by purchasing additional things I don’t need. (A real problem I have.)
  • Finish projects started but not completed. These include a rug I hooked for my kitchen, a crocheted valance, a sweater, pillow covers and a Victorian style dress for Barbie. If I continue to think about it, I could find 100 other things, but I don’t want to work that hard this morning.

This look would not go amiss for my bedroom.

So, onto 2021. I hope it will be a very productive year.

Uncategorized

Ignoring this Blog is Not an Option

He killed himself and he made me watch.

Karen Pope 2021

I have been neglecting my poor, poor blog for so long.

Several changes occurred in my life and I have discovered that I do not deal well with change. My brother who lived with me died and left me with a helluva mess to clean up. Not just a physical mess in his bedroom and the rest of the house, but the emotional mess, too.

He killed himself. Suicide. Not like putting a gun in his mouth or taking too many drugs. This was a slow alcohol-induced death. Liver failure. And he made me watch. Every day was a slow decline. Almost imperceptible, like when someone is on a diet and gradually looses weight, but doesn’t really notice until someone says, “Dang, you have lost a lot of weight!” He drank until his liver could tolerate no more. He didn’t have the fortitude to quick drinking years ago, when it could have made a difference.

My bother was a coward in every sense of the word. He used alcohol to bolster a personality that was defective. He didn’t want to be a coward, but didn’t know how to overcome. He didn’t try. He hid from his cowardice in a bottle. And he made me watch.

Like many alcoholics, he thought only of himself. He didn’t have room in his pickled brain for thoughts of others. He didn’t care, honestly didn’t care, what happened to the people he left behind. I was closest to him in the end. He burnt all other bridges, systematically, through unbridled selfishness and conceit. He was the only person who knew anything, understood anything or had the right to an opinion.

He picked fights with neighbors, friends, me. In the end, his degenerate behavior netted him nothing but cremation.

I am so angry at him. He killed himself and he made me watch.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash
crochet

Which Do You Prefer? Knitting or Crochet?

Ask avid crocheters or knitters why you should learn their art and they’ll probably say because it’s the most beautiful and versatile art form. Some say one’s faster; others, more fashionable. Decide for yourself. We hope you learn both.

Crochet

Crochet is an extremely versatile and popular technique for making a variety of fashion and home decor accessories. By combining basic crochet stitches and lighter weight or softer yarns, you create a delicate, drapable fabric; a thicker yarn produces a sturdy fabric. Beautiful textured and raised stitches are especially easy to make in crochet.

All you need to crochet is a continuous strand of yarn and a single hook. You start with a slip stitch and continue to make loops (called chains), creating a foundation row. Rows are built on this foundation. Crochet stitches are made with loops and wrapping yarn around the hook. The loops are drawn through the wrapped yarn to make the stitches.

You can crochet in rows, keeping your work flat, or you can join your stitches, creating a ring and work in the round.


Knit


Knitting has long been the favorite technique for sweater making because of the detailing and color patterning that is possible, and the supple, drapable fabric the stitches produce. The two basic stitches–knit and purl–can be worked alone or together and form the basis of dozens of designs as well as other stitches.

Knitting requires two needles and a continuous strand of yarn. You begin by making a slip knot on one needle and “casting on” the number of stitches you need for the project. (That’s the term for creating the foundation row on one needle.) The basic stitches are created using both needles, wrapping the yarn over one needle and drawing the wrapped yarn through loops on the other needle.

Circular knitting needles–long, flexible needles with a point on each end–are growing in popularity because they eliminate seams and the need to continually turn your knitting at the end of a row.

Crafting with Yarn

Wrapping, twisting and braiding yarn provide endless home-dec and fashion possibilities. Make amazing silk tassels, twist multiple strands of yarn into holiday wreaths, braid boucle yarns to trim a favorite outfit, or just have fun wrapping gift boxes. The possibilities are endless, fast and fun.

Article HERE

crochet, Uncategorized

Easy to Crochet Braided Stitch

STRUCTURAL BUT SOFT STITCH 

https://crochetpedia.com/easy-crochet-braided-stitch-ideas/

If you are familiar with crochet fundamentals, you shouldn’t have any problems with this one, because it uses basic techniques. Puff stitch requires some patience, so that the yarn is pulled out evenly, but it all comes with experience. It is often mistaken for bobble or popcorn, but they are all different techniques. Try this fantastic stitch, so you can hone your skills and create lovely accessories for your home!

Materials:

Claudetta used King Cole Riot Chunky, which is chunky yarn. She chose 5,5 mm hook, but you will also need a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Feel free to use different yarn and corresponding crochet hook for this, but remember that squishy and soft yarn will make it look the comfiest.

The work begins with starting chain of multiple of 2. It continues with double crochet stitcheschains and puffs, but there is a little trick that makes all the difference! Let me just say that it’s all about where you work your puff stitches.

This technique will allow you to create fantastic, double-sided structural crochet piece, which can easily become a baby blanket or a pillow cover.

Check out full video tutorial here, it’s really worth a try!

crochet

History of Crochet

by Ruthie Marks

You and I call it crochet, and so do the French, Belgians, Italians and Spanish-speaking people. The skill is known as haken in Holland, haekling in Denmark, hekling in Norway and virkning in Sweden.

Other forms of handwork – knitting, embroidery and weaving – can be dated far back in time, thanks to archeological finds, written sources and pictorial representations of various kinds. But no one is quite sure when and where crochet got its start. The word comes from croc, or croche, the Middle French word for hook, and the Old Norse word for hook is krokr.

According to American crochet expert and world traveler Annie Potter, “The modem art of true crochet as we know it today was developed during the 16th century. It became known as ‘crochet lace’ in France and ‘chain lace’ in England.” And, she tells us, in 1916 Walter Edmund Roth visited descendants of the Guiana Indians and found examples of true crochet.

Photo by Karen Pope

Another writer/researcher, Lis Paludan of Denmark, who limited her search for the origins of crochet to Europe, puts forth three interesting theories. One: Crochet originated in Arabia, spread eastward to Tibet and westward to Spain, from where it followed the Arab trade routes to other Mediterranean countries. Two: Earliest evidence of crochet came from South America, where a primitive tribe was said to have used crochet adornments in rites of puberty. Three: In China, early examples were known of three-dimensional dolls worked in crochet.

But, says Paludan, the bottom line is that there is “no convincing evidence as to how old the art of crochet might be or where it came from. It was impossible to find evidence of crochet in Europe before 1800. A great many sources state that crochet has been known as far back as the 1500s in Italy under the name of ‘nun’s work’ or ‘nun’s lace,’ where it was worked by nuns for church textiles,” she says. Her research turned up examples of lace-making and a kind of lace tape, many of which have been preserved, but “all indications are that crochet was not known in Italy as far back as the 16th century”- under any name

Tambour Gives Birth to Crochet

Research suggests that crochet probably developed most directly from Chinese needlework, a very ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, which reached Europe in the 1700s and was referred to as “tambouring,” from the French “tambour” or drum. In this technique, a background fabric is stretched taut on a frame. The working thread is held underneath the fabric. A needle with a hook is inserted downward and a loop of the working thread drawn up through the fabric. With the loop still on the hook, the hook is then inserted a little farther along and another loop of the working thread is drawn up and worked through the first loop to form a chain stitch. The tambour hooks were as thin as sewing needles, so the work must have been accomplished with very fine thread.

At the end of the 18th century, tambour evolved into what the French called “crochet in the air,” when the background fabric was discarded and the stitch worked on its own.

Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800s and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated. She published many pattern books so that millions of women could begin to copy her designs. Mlle. Riego also claimed to have invented “lace-like” crochet,” today called Irish crochet.

Irish Famine Spawns Irish Crochet

Irish crochet was a virtual lifesaver for the people of Ireland. It pulled them out of their potato famine, which lasted from 1845 to 1850 and threw them into abject poverty.

During these times, living and working conditions for the Irish were harsh. They crocheted between farm chores and outdoors to take advantage of sunlight. After dark, they moved indoors to work by the light of a candle, a slow-burning peat fire or an oil lamp.

A place to keep their crochetwork presented a problem, for many were living in squalor. If they had no other spot it went under the bed where it inevitably became dirty. Fortunately, the crocheted piece could be washed and its original luster completely recaptured. Ironically, buyers abroad were unaware that their delicate collars and cuffs were made in primitive dwellings under poverty-stricken conditions.

Irish workers – men as well as women and children – were organized into crochet cooperatives. Schools were formed to teach the skill and teachers were trained and sent all over Ireland, where the workers were soon creating new patterns of their own. And, although more than a million died in less than 10 years, the Irish people survived the famine. Families relied on their earnings from crochet, which gave them the chance to save up enough to emigrate and start a new life abroad, taking their crochet skills with them.

Potter tells us that the Irish immigrated to America- two million between 1845 and 1859, four million by 1900. American women, busy with their spinning, weaving, knitting and quilting, could not help but be influenced to include in their handwork the crochet skills of their new neighbors.

Tools – the Hooks, the Material

Techniques for working with a needle -knitting, netting, weaving, twisting, braiding, knotting – have been called by many names throughout history. They include needle-coiling, knotless netting, cross-knit looping, looped needle-netting, vatsom, coptic knitting, naalebinding, Tunisian crochet, tambour, needle lace, lace making, tatting, macrame, sprang and shepherd’s knitting.

Throughout the ages, a variety of materials have been used: hair, grasses, reeds, animal fur and sinew, hemp, flax, wool, gold and silver and copper strands, silk, white cotton thread, wool yarns (soft zephyr yam, lustre yarn, double cable yarn, carpet yarn), cotton yarn (anchor and estramadura), silk thread (cordonnet and floss), linen thread, hemp thread, mohair, chenille, novelty mixtures, metal thread and string.

Today we have at our disposal an enormously wide selection of cotton, wool, silk and synthetic yarns. We can also crochet with such unusual materials as copper wire, strips of plastic, sisal, jute, scraps of fabric, unspun wool and even dog hair.

And how about the crochet tool? Today we walk into a yarn shop or Walmart and purchase aluminum, plastic or steel hooks available in more than 25 sizes. In earlier times, however, they used whatever they could get their hands on – fingers first, then hooks made of metal, wood, fishbone, animal bone, horn, old spoons, teeth from discarded combs, brass, mother-of-pearl, morse (walrus tusk), tortoiseshell, ivory, copper, steel, vulcanite, ebonite, silver and agate.

In Ireland at the time of the great famine (1845 to 1850), what at least one person used to produce fine Irish crochet was a needle or a stiff wire, inserted into a cork or piece of wood or tree bark, with the end filed down and bent into a little hook.

What Kinds of Things Were Made?

In early centuries, man – and it was the job of the men – created his handwork for practical purposes. Hunters and fishermen created knotted strands of woven fibers, cords or strips of cloth to trap animals and snare fish or birds. Other uses included knotted game bags, fishing nets and open- worked cooking utensils.

Handwork was expanded to include personal decoration for special occasions such as religious rites, celebrations, marriages or funerals. One might see ceremonial costumes with crochet- like ornamentation and decorative trimmings for arms, ankles and wrists.

In 16th century Europe, royalty and the wealthy lavished themselves in lace- trimmings, gowns, jackets, headpieces – and the poor folk could only dream of wearing such things. So, it is surmised, crochet was developed as the poor people’s imitation of the rich man’s lace.

Moving forward to Victorian times, crochet patterns became available for flowerpot holders, bird cage covers, baskets for visiting cards, lamp mats and shades, wastepaper baskets, tablecloths, antimacassars (or “antis,” covers to protect chairbacks from the hair oil worn by the men in the mid- 1800s), tobacco pouches, purses, men’s caps and waistcoats, even a rug with footwarmers to be placed under the card table for card players.

From 1900 to 1930 women were also busy crocheting afghans, slumber rugs, traveling rugs, chaise lounge rugs, sleigh rugs, car rugs, cushions, coffee- and teapot cozies and hot-water bottle covers. It was during this time that potholders made their first appearance and became a staple of the crocheter’s repertoire.

Photo by Karen Pope

Now, of course, anything goes. In the 1960s and 1970s crochet took off as a freeform means of expression that can be seen today in three-dimensional sculptures, articles of clothing, or rugs and tapestries that depict abstract and realistic designs and scenes.

Techniques Yesterday and Today

It is interesting to compare crochet methods of the past with those we use today. In the period 1824 to 1833, for instance, it is documented in the Dutch magazine, Penelope, that both the yarn and hook were to be held in the right hand and the yarn passed over the hook from the right forefinger. In crochet books from the 1840s, the hook is held in the right hand and the yarn in the left, as right-handers do today.

In a German publication dated 1847, it stated that one should always “keep the same tension, either crochet loosely or crochet tightly, otherwise an attractively even texture will not be achieved. Moreover, if not working in the round, you have to break off your yarn at the end of each row, since this gives a finer finish to the crocheted article.” Today’s patterns, thank goodness, usually instruct us to work both the right and wrong sides of the fabric we are creating. This change came about at the turn of the 20th century.

Researcher Lis Paludan speculates that the admonition to keep the same tension “seems to suggest that crochet hooks were of the same thickness and that the crocheter was expected to work in the correct tension according to the pattern.”

Old pattern instructions, dating about the mid-1800s, indicated that the hook was to be inserted into the back half of the stitch only, using a single crochet stitch unless otherwise instructed. Jenny Lambert, a European, wrote in 1847 that inserting the single crochet into the back half of the stitch was useful for making table runners and such, but inserting the hook through both loops could be used “to crochet soles for shoes and other articles which have to be thicker than average, but the technique is not suitable for patterns.” Today, of course, unless told to do otherwise, we automatically go through both loops.

Patterns and Book

Before patterns were written down, one simply copied someone else’s work. Samples were made and sewn onto pages and bound like scrapbooks, sewn onto large pieces of fabric or kept loose in a bag or box. In her travels, author Annie Potter found some of these scrapbooks -dating from the late 1800s- still in use by nuns in Spain.

Another way to collect stitch samples was to crochet different stitches together in long, narrow bands – some made by adults, some begun in school and added on to over the years. (Later on in Europe, from 1916 to about 1926, readers could buy small pattern samples along with their yarn.)

The earliest crochet patterns known to date were printed in 1824.

The earliest patterns were for purses of gold and silver silk thread in colorwork crochet.

Crochet books were found in many countries, often translated from one language into another. The most notable expert on crochet was Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who published more than a hundred books, many about crochet.

The crochet books from the mid 1800s were small, only about 4 inches by 6 inches, but included woodcut illustrations. These small treasures, Paludan tells us, contained patterns for white lace-like collars, cuffs, lace, insertions and caps for women and children, along with patterns for purses and men’s slippers and caps. Materials recommended for white crochet (insertions, edgings, mats, trimming for underwear) were cotton thread, spool yarn (Scottish thread on spools), linen or hemp thread. For colorwork, silk, wool and chenille yarns, as well as gold and silver threads, were suggested.

Those early patterns, which often were not accurate, would drive modern crocheters crazy. An eight-pointed star, for example, might turn out to possess only six points. The reader was expected, it turns out, to read the pattern but to use the illustration as the more accurate guide.

Want to Know More?

Much of the material for this article came from two excellent sources:

  • “A Living Mystery, the International Art & History of Crochet,” 
    Annie Louise Potter, A.J. Publishing International, 1990
  • “Crochet History & Technique,” 
    Lis Paludan, Interweave Press, 1995