Crochet is a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a hook. The word crochet is from the French meaning hook.There is no solid evidence about how old it is or where it originated. It is likely that the earliest crochet was made using fingers. My granddaughter, Taylor, showed me how to do this a few years ago. There are theories that it could have existed as early as 1500 BC, as part of nun’s work. The earliest evidence of crochet, as we know it, is first commonly seen in the later part of the eighteenth century. It may have developed from Chinese needlework, an ancient form of embroidery known in Turkey, India, Persia and North Africa, which reached Europe in the eighteenth century. Crochet began to emerge in Europe in the early nineteenth century, boosted by Mlle Riego de la Branchardiere, well-known for her ability to make patterns that could be duplicated.
My first memory of crochet is of my Granny making doilies for the back of chairs. I don’t remember her using a pattern. She either instinctively knew how to design as she went along or the patterns were long ago committed to memory. I still have a table-cloth she made that my mother displayed proudly on our dining room table. I recall wearing a crocheted dress she made for me when I was 5 years old. It had a blue satin ribbon running through the stitches at the waist that tied in the back.
I wish I could say Granny taught me the art of crochet, but it was many years later in Muncie, IN that my mentor, Janice Cannon, was working on a beautiful afghan. So inspired by the beauty of the afghan, the desire took hold in my mind to make that same pattern. Janice taught me to cast on and to read a pattern. We went to the yarn shop and bought the Brunswick vol. 768 pattern book, the yarn and a hook. She was patient with me as I learned the pattern for the Aran Crochet Afghan style no. 764. I remember the satisfaction and pride I felt when I completed the work. This was the first of 6 that ’I’ve made over the last thirty years. I’ve a special affinity for the Aran pattern because a branch of my family hailed from Ireland. My name, Meredith, is Celtic meaning protector of the sea. When I read an article about the Aran Isles in the National Geographic, I learned that each family had a pattern unique to them so that in the event a man was lost at sea, when his body was found, he could be identified by the sweater on his back.
The new year will find me with a new pattern and yarn that I ordered on line. I want to make an afghan for each family member. I won’t use the same pattern for each one that I crochet this time. I have several styles that I’ll be working on. I want my family to know as I work on their afghan that I think of them and that a prayer goes into each stitch