Some say artists are born, some say they are made. The story of these two extraordinary women makes us wonder which one is true. Crochet is by no means a new art, having its origins in 19th century Europe- but Purnima and Anju inherited the art of Crochet from their mother, who would make it for them and others purely out of affection and love. Still remembering the warmth of her hands, Purnima says “She was beautiful both outside and inside- she had such a beautiful heart” Carrying on her legacy, the sisters learned the craft and used to make products for friends and family. “We would make booties, bottle covers and other things” says Anju. Both of them crocheted for the love of it, spreading their affection to everyone they made it for- business was not on their mind.
Their daughters saw the products these sisters made and pushed them to showcase it to the outside world. To share the love, the motherly feeling, the art and beauty of a crochet. “There are a number of items that can be prepared by crochet- afghans, shawls, hats, scarves, baby booties, laptop sleeves, ponchos, bags and many many more” beams Purnima. Not very clear on what exactly Crochet is, we tried to understand more from them.
“Crochet is actually a process of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn, thread or strands of other materials using a crochet hook. The name ‘Crochet’ comes from the French term crochet meaning small hook” explains Anju. But is it some new form of art or a reinvented one? “The earliest crocheted item dates back to the 19th century in Europe where the term appeared in a magazine in Netherlands in 1823. An earlier reference of something similar, called Shepherd’s knitting is from 1845 in England. Another mention was during the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1849, when crochet lace work was introduced as a form of famine relief. Schools teaching crochet were started at that time and as the Irish migrated to America, they took the art with them. This form of crochet was called the Irish Crochet, which uses lace work in crochet” tells Purnima.
Today, crochet is much more elaborate in texture and intricate in design. Although this craft was considered a homemaker’s art only till about 1960s and 1970s, the next generation picked up the art and popularised it using bright colours and loud patterns. But the 21st century can be hailed as the major turning point in Crochet because of the major strides in the quality and variety of yarn. There are many more new pattern books with modern patterns being printed, and most yarn stores now offer crochet lessons in addition to the traditional knitting lessons. There are many books you can purchase from local book stores to teach yourself how to crochet whether it be as a beginner or intermediate. There are also many books for children and teenagers who are hoping to take up the hobby.
Anju elaborates further “Basic materials required for crochet are a hook and some type of material that will be crocheted, most commonly yarn or thread. Yarn, one of the most commonly used materials for crocheting has varying weights which need to be taken into consideration when following patterns” These days, natural yarn has replaced synthetic yarn as yarn made of bamboo, hemp and banana stalks is available to crocheters. Other tools are cardboard cutouts, pom pom circle, tape measure, gauge measure, row counter etc.
From a homemaker’s craft, Crochet has come a long way and evolved a lot over time. “It is now on the catwalk as well, where Christopher Kane’s Fall 2011 collection featured the granny square in a lot of dresses (the granny square is the most basic Crochet motifs)” says Purnima. Crochet has been made popular by many designers on multiple shows and there are easy to learn videos available. Crochet truly represents style and simplicity in one sentence. It is old world charm in today’s panache.
The art is so elaborate that different patterns can be produced by hand using different types of stitches. The crocheted item not only contains the art work of the maker but also so much love and devotion which is visible in each stitch of the final product. Crochet is truly a representation of so many things- poise, style, simplicity, design, finesse- the list is endless. Is it a difficult craft to master? “The process of Crochet is as simple as you would like and can get as complicated as you can imagine” tells Anju. Since we were not the experts, we thought of asking the obvious question. How is Crochet different from Knitting? The sisters smile and tell us a number of differences.
- The implements used for Crochet and Knitting are different (Crochet uses one hook and Knitting uses two needles)
- Each stitch in a Crochet is completed before proceeding with the next one, while in Knitting a number of stitches are kept open
- In knitting, each stitch is supported by the corresponding stitch in the row above and it supports the corresponding stitch in the row below, whereas crochet stitches are only supported by and support the stitches on either side of it
- Many crocheted items are composed of individual motifs which are then joined together, either by sewing or crocheting, whereas knitting is usually composed of one fabric
- Knitting can be accomplished by machine, while many crochet stitches can only be crafted by hand.
- A single crochet stitch is twice the height of a knit stitch in the same yarn size and comparable diameter tools, and a double crochet stitch is about four times the height of a knit stitch
- Crochet uses more yarn than Knitting
“Over the last 4 months, we have turned into businesswomen from housewives, thanks to our children. Completing orders for our customers and staying busy comes naturally to us and we enjoy it a lot!” exclaims Purnima. Their products are not only accepted but they get letters of appreciation about the products. The sisters have come a long way in only a span of 4 months but the road is still long ahead. Says Anju “We are now thinking of teaching Crochet to people and expanding our business” These sisters are definitely out here to make their statement. And their talent speaks for itself. With the support of their families and the passion and love in their heart, they are already well on their way to making an impact.
You can see their beautiful products at https://wudbox.in/vendors/momscreation/