[HNW] crochetted tablecloth

Chris Laning claning at igc.org
Mon Nov 3 12:43:47 PST 2008

Kathryn Newell wrote:
>So *that's* where that "crochet is Renaissance" type of stance comes from. I 
>was wondering about that. It's one thing to possibly use chain stitch to 
>attach parts of lace together. It's another to jump to modern crochet. I 
>love to do crochet work (yarn and thread) but I don't do it at SCA events.
>Chris, isn't that *your* Crochet FAQ in the archives of Historic Knit? 
>Anyone here who has a Yahoo account can meander over and read through it. 
>It's an excellent rebuttal for the "crochet is SCA period" type of argument 
>one hears.

Yes, that's my little summary ;) It's also available here:

I haven't heard anyone argue that crochet "must be" older than 1800 based on the tambour theory, though. That would be difficult, in any case, since tambour embroidery itself doesn't seem to date any earlier than the late 1700s. 

Usually people who argue that crochet must be earlier are basing their statements on misinformation from earlier needlework books, which may state (erroneously) that crochet was called "nun's work" in the 1500s or earlier -- or on a general feeling that it's a "simple" technique and so must have been invented centuries ago. Unfortunately, the total absence of any evidence, whether physical or documentary, from before 1800 tends to suggest that crochet was invented after that date. 

It's often pointed out that the absence of evidence by itself doesn't prove anything. In general that's a reasonable guideline, but the more evidence that accumulates for textiles of *other* types from before 1800 (and there is quite a lot of evidence for woven, netted, tablet-woven, knitted and nalbinded textiles), the more one suspects that the total absence of evidence for crochet before that date actually _does_ mean something.

0  Chris Laning
|  <claning at igc.org>
+  Davis, California
http://paternoster-row.org  -  http://paternosters.blogspot.com

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