The History of the Crochet Hook

The History of the Crochet Hook

The history of the crochet hook is quite fascinating. Crochet itself is believed to have originated in the early 16th century in Europe. However, the exact origin of the crochet hook is a bit unclear. That makes this art more mysterious because there is also some evidence of crochet possibly having roots in early China or Arabia. So, who were the earliest pioneers of this craft? What tools and techniques were used in those early centuries?

Whoever it was that discovered this popular art form and the tools necessary, we owe a debt of gratitude for providing us that tool for this long-living and sustainable life skill. Let’s dig a bit into some historical trivia surrounding the crochet hook. 

Hooks of all kinds

The first crochet hooks were likely made from simple materials like bone, wood, or even ivory. These early hooks were handmade and varied in size and shape. Over time, as crochet became more popular, hooks started to be produced on a larger scale and with different materials such as metal. We have been searching for vintage crochet hooks or trying to produce some of our own.

Many of our followers have known how Fuad himself creates his own unique hook handles on Wood Be Fancy. He has also dabbled in making his own fully hand carved wood hooks. We have yet to discover any  bone or ivory hooks while antiquing, but one can imagine how rare these must be. 

Visit Fuad’s etsy shop HERE.

Metal hooks and more!

In the 19th century, steel crochet hooks became particularly popular due to their durability. They didn’t break or wear down as easily with use. They were often used for delicate and intricate lacework. The size and shape of the hooks also began to mass produce during this time, making it easier for patterns to be shared and replicated. 

In the modern era, crochet hooks are available in a wide range of materials including plastic, aluminum, and bamboo. They also come in various sizes and designs, catering to different preferences and crochet techniques. Company branding and designs were perfected and the industry has grown significantly. 

Crochet hooks have evolved alongside the art of crochet itself, allowing people to create beautiful and intricate designs with ease. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crocheter, having a good crochet hook is essential for bringing your creative ideas to life!

What is your go-to hook? Share with us in the comments!

Happy Hooking!

~Fuad, Shannon, and Nadia

This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!! ~Nadia




An Open Letter to the Yarn Community

An Open Letter to the Yarn Community

Dear Creators,

As a BIPOC creator and maker, it is a powerful time in history to watch as so many companies and corporations take a stand in support of Black lives and stand against racial injustice. That is how it should be. I stand on my platforms to support Black Lives and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) creators because they have long been overlooked. There is SO much talent in this community and BIPOC need more recognition and elevation. Our world is full of color and diversity. More companies have to stand for their diverse audience and understand their needs. Not turn a blind eye. Makers of color deserve recognition. Many of the fiber companies have taken a stand. Yet, some have not.

Many of you know that I was a Joy Creator for Red Heart Yarns which was bought out by Yarnspirations/Spinrite. I continued to use and promote their product in nearly all my video tutorials and projects. I stood behind their product. I was not a paid spokesperson nor was I paid money for my videos. I was given yarn support and like all makers, we do generate a small stipend from using affiliate links that generate a sale from time to time. I was always transparent about that. It is one way we can provide free patterns while still generating a small avenue of income to bring you our patterns.

In the face of recent events, the company I had been representing as a stitch ambassador and Joy Creator has not made a public statement nor taken a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or to denounce the killings of black men and women. There has been no statement against racial injustice that we all witness all too often. There has not been a show of support for the community of makers of color in this industry. With that weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, I reached out in a private email and asked them to remove me from their platform and asked them to stop using my likeness on their website.

I decided it was time to move on to a company I felt better represented people of color and community as a whole. I sent Yarnspirations an email with a knot in my gut and a prayer in my heart. I waited. I did not receive a reply. I kept waiting, refreshing my inbox, checking over and over. Nearly a week had passed when none of my requests were acknowledged nor was there anyone from the company who reached out to me at any time to say anything encouraging – not even a one liner. Their silence spoke volumes. It was apparent to me that my voice was not worthy of a reply.

I decided to raise my voice then, in a more public fashion today. It was only in that route did a round-about apology come forth, yet no stand has been taken publicly on any forum. After taking things to the next level in a series of group emails and on a private blogger group did I receive this apology.

It should not be the job of the BIPOC community or BIPOC ambassadors/makers to handhold companies and tell them how to represent their community of color/diversity OR to tell the company to take a stand. The company should already know that the time has come to stand up to racial injustice and discrimination and speak for their customers and creators of color. We need to be seen. People of color have done enough for them by working for free. The company should have been doing this work LONG before now. They should have come with a BOLD and POWERFUL statement in the beginning that made everyone, ESPECIALLY Black makers and creators and creators of color feel elevated and supported.

We should not have to plea with anyone to make a stand. A statement for BIPOC creators and customers should have been the FIRST step of action and then further action could be taken going forward. That is Anti-Racism in action. A company that stands with their creative artists of color and with the nation to say their community of BIPOC matter. That would have gone so far in quelling the fears and anxieties that many of us feel. Those of us that are here as representatives of color, NEED to HEAR that companies like Yarnspirations/Spinrite stand with Black lives and other people of color as a community.

I have decided to use my voice on my platform because, like me, it is compiled of a large percentage of people of color across the entire globe. Many use their product. I used Red Heart Yarns/Yarnspirations products. I shout it out on every video tutorial on every crochet project. Yet they stay silent on my behalf and on behalf of millions of voices. That is unacceptable. The fact that there was no reply and my request for communication about this matter was ignored in my personal email was an eye-opening revelation.

My blog and YouTube channel reach over 150 countries and my nearly half-million followers on all platforms make up only 18% of my actual viewers.  I use it to speak my truth as a creator of color, as a woman, and as a PROUD young mother of a child of color – and if that truth and Yarnspirations’ stand do not align, then it is imperative for me to move on and to let others know my intentions and why. This wasn’t a hard decision, just painful to recognize that this company has taken a no stand approach and continues to take no stand other than an obscure Equal Opportunity statement.

Silence is complicit and silence is ALWAYS the voice of the oppressor. ALWAYS.

I am moving on and divorcing myself from this company that has not seen the importance of lending their voice to Black lives or makers of color, nor the enormity of what that could mean financially from me or others, walking away. If a company wants to be anti-racist then TRULY be anti-racist.  There is no tiptoeing around and waiting for the “right time.” The time was long before today.

~Nadia

 

Quick follow-up edit:

I hear and see ALL the comments on this post. Don’t worry, I AM listening. For those of you trying to call me out or say this is political-understand this – this is about human rights and human rights are NOT political. Let’s get that straight. Or those who are asking now that I posted this where am I? I am right here. Same place I am everyday – working to bring you more of this craft because that is what I do and love and I am also taking care of Nasir. Just because I am not commenting back to every comment, that doesn’t mean I have gone into hiding. This is my platform, and I do have the right to stand where I stand just as every person on this feed has the right to say and feel the way they do. I have no objections to any of that. This is about being heard in a place that has not lent more voices to this important racial matter and over the injustices that continue to be ignored or passified in this industry.

It seems like some are ok with this being ignored, that it will be swept under the rug and forgotten and everything will go back to being “comfortable” again. Do you know who stands behind the camera in every video tutorial I post? It’s my dad. Even if you don’t know him or see his face on here or he is not as vocal on this platform, he is still a HUGE part of YARNutopia. He is a HUGE part of ME! I stand for Black makers and makers of color in this industry, and I stand for my father and many people who are unseen but still have a voice that is not being heard-Don’t you get it?? My dad always says to me, “Anything worth fighting for is not going to be comfortable or easy, Nadia.” This, right here, is not comfortable, but it is NECESSARY! It is only when we feel uncomfortable that big changes can come and my hope and prayer is that change truly does come. He also tells me that sometimes you have to lose to win. Not win in monetary ways or in fame, but win in a way that you can sleep at night and wake up the next day and look at yourself in the mirror. For anyone who truly knows me, knows where I stand when it comes to racial injustice and how I feel about the Black Lives Matter movement. They know this was the right thing for ME to do. You don’t have to agree and despite all the negative things some may say, I do respect and see everyone’s comments and I am not afraid or hiding from any of it nor does it change the way I feel. Thank you.

Woven in My DNA

I am often asked, “How did you learn to crochet”? My go to answer has always been the same, my mom gave me a skein of yarn and a hook during one of my hospital stays and from there, with her help and the help of other YouTube and internet crochet artists, I learned to hone my skills. If I wanted to dig deeper into this question, I would say that maybe, just maybe, this fine art of crochet is part of my early genetics and ancestry!

A family history lesson

When I was young, I had a class assignment to write about my genealogy. I remember at that time, my paternal grandparents were visiting us in the United States from Lahore, Pakistan. I recall sitting with my grandfather as he shared with me the tales of our family members and generations before me. He had instilled in me a deep appreciation for our rich family heritage and we often conversed about our family lineage and how steeped in history our family roots ran. He shared things like in his village of Jalalpur Jattan, which is now in Pakistan (before the split of Pakistan and India), my great-grandfather Dr. Imam Ud Din (Born in the 1870s) came from a long line of weavers and tapestry artists; their skills were sought after by all the villagers and beyond.

 

They made textiles, tapestry, and blankets made from weaving wool called thussas. Several other family members were also gifted in this craft. To this day, our village and family are recognized for their legendary skill.  Along with my paternal great grandparents, many other family members were also very skilled in sewing, crochet, and knitting. These fiber art talents were passed on from generation to generation.

Here is a photo of my Great Grandparents:

This is another vintage photo of one of my family members as she works on a beautiful tapestry piece:

This is my Great Aunt who was known for her exceptional quilting skills:

My dad has mentioned often how wonderfully gifted his sisters are in these areas as well. I even found photos of my great grandfather weaving together the ropes on an outdoor lounge bed called a charpai. He even took time out of his busy life as a doctor to participate in this activity.

Coupled with the fact that my paternal side of our family was so gifted, on my maternal side of the family, my great grandmother Rose also had an incredible talent for crochet which is carried over through my mom and Aunt Gail, it was easy to deduce that I possibly inherited a wee bit of their skills. It is fun to imagine that I could be the bearer of these gifts and hope to continue to pass these talents on, not only here in this global arena, but to my own children someday. I am thankful to be a part of such talent on both my paternal and maternal sides of my family!

Centuries old

I have read that crochet has been around since the early 16th century and some proclaim even earlier. This had me thinking of the earliest history of crochet and how many generations ago these skills were truly used for survival. I found an interesting blog on the Crochet Guild of America Website giving insight into the history of this craft.

We have all learned from someone or somewhere. Whether this art-form was passed on to us from generations that came before us, or if we learned from the latest technology provided to us from online crochet artists or teachers, it continues to survive and thrive. I have deep respect for those who came before us that created such remarkable pieces of crochet artistry without the help of YouTube or Ravelry yet. I thank my lucky stars for having those resources today! It is truly remarkable that after all these years, decades, and centuries that the love for crochet is never-ending! Knowing my personal history, I believe these skills have been woven into my DNA.

Where did your love of crochet come from? Who was your first teacher? Share in the comments section!!

~Nadia