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    In the 19th century, Dutch lace-making connected to the Ulster textile industry, as expensive linen pieces were trimmed with Dutch lace and linen thread used to make fine lace products for the home. The first details of crocheting emerged in the Dutch magazine “Penelope” in 1823, with an exhibit of then-stylish purses crocheted with silk thread. From which the work received its name. Like many of you, I wanted to know what that pattern looked like. And it begged the question; why are we not still making extremely delicate items with silk thread? Is it about time spent, durability, or cost effectiveness?  We know for certain their crochet, with stitches taller than just slip stitch, existed by 1822. That meant there had to be a commercial market for crochet already in existence in 1822. That market was in France supporting the Paris fashion industry (we’ve talked about those delicate feminine creatures).    

    Second, the Penelope article referred to the purses it was providing patterns for as being “in vogue”. But to be in vogue, very similar purses had to already exist  And they must have been crocheted. Penelope would have printed patterns in another technique if crochet wasn’t popular. In this plate from the magazine, the top 3 purses are crocheted, the bottom 2 use other techniques. 

    Skip head to today and you have what is becoming very popular ‘Hygge’ it hasn’t always been a crochet term (or yarn type) but it is a way of life. It’s the Danish quality of “coziness and comfortable conviviality”. It sounds great to me. Hygge yarn is extremely soft and drapey, despite its quick-to-stitch bulky size. The base yarn is twisted with a fur end, which adds a lovely texture that is wonderful to work with. Red heart has some for around 7 dollars a skein but if you really want to give it a go…https://woolfolkyarn.com/shop/hygge/ it looks like the warmest yarn you’ve ever felt in your life and absolutely a far cry from the silk threads of yesteryear. Those threads run from the very thin to 20g and 50g, which are are more popular today if you are going to imitate old fashion patters, and they drap well on the body. 


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