Regency crochet?

Hello, everyone. I actually have a regular post, which I’d planned to do before my husband suffered a stroke in January. But first, since I know many of you are kind enough to be interested, I’ll give a brief update.About a week ago, we celebrated Rich’s return from the rehab center with a banner and an ice cream cake. He is strong enough now that I can care for him safely at home, and he is rising to all the challenges of moving about in a real world environment. He’s managed the 14 steps up to our 2nd floor and though it tires him, it’s good therapy. Until he is able to travel more easily, Rich will get physical and occupational therapy from a home care agency. I’m in the process of arranging for a good speech therapist to come to our home (I can’t seem to light a fire under the one from the agency) but hope to have that problem resolved soon.

I am really enjoying taking an increased role in Rich’s recovery, though it does leave little time for anything else. Writing feels like a terribly distant dream at this point. However there are small miracles to celebrate. I never thought I’d be so excited by a man just wiggling his big toe! LOL

Now to my post. Last December, I started crocheting a scarf for a friend, similar to one she’d admired in a store. After Rich had the stroke, I continued to crochet in hospital waiting rooms, by his bedside while he was sleeping, etc… Keeping my hands busy helped me stay calm during a chaotic and scary time.

Earlier, I’d wondered if Regency ladies crocheted, so I did some research into it. I found some interesting information in the “History of Crochet” by Ruthie Marks.

Although sources differ, some believe crochet originated with tambour work, a form of embroidery that uses a hook to create patterns on a background fabric. Originated in the East but reached Europe around 1860. Sometime around 1800 tambour work evolved into what the French called “crochet in the air”.

So crochet would have been a relatively new craft for a Regency lady. I’ve found little to suggest it was widely popular until Queen Victoria began to crochet. She made eight scarves for selected British soldiers during the South African war.

During the Victorian and Edwardian periods, crochet grew in popularity, reaching heights of virtuosity demonstrated in this example of crochet lace from Clones, Ireland.

Since then, crochet has evolved in various directions from the ugly

to the weird

to the downright eyeball-searing.
These images come from What Not to Crochet, a blog I check out when I’m in desperate need of a good laugh.
No wonder crochet has gotten something of a bad name. Yet there are some artisans out there creating beautiful designs, such as Sophie Digard, several of whose designs are pictured below. Though I no longer have time to crochet, someday it would be fun to attempt something as intricate and lovely. But by then I should be back to WRITING.

Anyone else enjoy crochet? Is there something special you reach for when you need to center yourself? Sites you visit for a good laugh?


P.S. A friend just tipped me off about a post at Dear Author announcing a new release from Laura Kinsale! Hurray!

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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