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Many people enjoy crochet for its relaxing qualities and satisfying results. It appeals to a wide number of people, as most of the materials still remain inexpensive and easy to obtain. Young children are often taught crochet to increase their fine motor skills, to help in their learning to count and follow instructions and to bolster their self-confidence. Amongst older people crochet is popular as a social activity and to help keep arthritic symptoms in check.
Many people find that crochet can reduce stress levels. Itís an easily portable craft and can provide inexpensive and original gifts. Crochet can help with dexterity; help with eye-hand coordination; help develop concentration and can be incorporated as part of other crafts.
Crochet means hook in French and this is the name given to the craft amongst French, Italians and Spanish speakers. Itís known as haken in Holland, haekling in Denmark, hekling in Norway and virkning in Sweden. Although other forms of handwork can be dated far back in time, owing to archaeological finds no one is quite sure when and where crochet began.
Crochet is a series of interlocking loops of thread onto a chain using a thin rod with a hook at the end. A chain of loops is created, with each new loop catching the thread and pulling it through the previous loop. After the chain is completed, the thread is then turned to start a second chain. There are a large variety of patterns and stitches. Some of the more common stitches are chain, single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, popcorn crochet, and cluster crochet.
In the past it was very common to work directly from a picture of finished work or from a sample. This is why in early patterns many of the directions seem to be missing. Women in the nineteenth century were familiar with crochet and therefore instructions that we need today were unnecessary at that time.
The story of crochet continues. By referring to old books, magazines and brochures, people find techniques that have been forgotten. Often crocheters think they have invented new crochet stitches, when they are actually reinventing stitches that have been around for over a hundred and fifty years.
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