[HNW] crochetted tablecloth

Lavolta Press fran at lavoltapress.com
Mon Nov 3 13:19:11 PST 2008

There are two examples of 1820s crochet in _The Lady's Stratagem_.  I 
don't think you saw either of them when you reviewed the knitting chapter.

One I translated from an 1827 French source for amateur needleworkers. 
It is part of a method of making a hat that supposedly imitates a hat of 
Leghorn straw, which was expensive. The reader is instructed to make a 
flat braid by "a kind of knitting, or rather a chain-stitch."  That's 
exactly what it is from the instructions, a basic crochet chain stitch. 
The tool is described as an "iron instrument two or three inches long, 
terminating in a curved point, and fitted into a wooden handle." The 
reader is told to make enough of this braid to form the hat--no quantity 
is given but it would be a lot, because it's supposed to be fine. The 
author mentions that the braid could also be bought ready-made. Then, 
the reader is instructed to use the braid like straw braid, winding it 
around to form the hat, and sewing the edges of the braid together with 
a sewing needle. In other words, the concept of forming the hat entirely 
by crocheting is not there. After the hat was sewn together, a 
stiffening mixture had to be applied to make the hat support itself, but 
that's another issue.

These instructions were copied, with credit to the original author, in 
an 1830 French manual for professional hat makers, which described it as 
a clever and novel idea in hat making.

The other pattern is from an English source of 1829, again for amateurs. 
It's a purse crocheted from "gold" thread, bought from a "lace shop." 
The reader is told to use a tambour needle. It's true crochet, though 
quite simple.  However, no name is given for it as a type of needlework.

Lavolta Press

Chris Laning wrote:

> Yes, that's my little summary ;) It's also available here:
> http://claning.home.igc.org/articles/crochet.html
> 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. 

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