Heritage Crafts


The making of a textile by interlocking loops of thread using a crochet hook. (See also knitting)
Currently viable
Craft category
Historic area of significance
Area practiced currently


In the nineteenth century crochet became a thriving cottage industry, particularly in Ireland and northern France. Women and sometimes even children would stay at home and create things such as clothes and blankets to make money. From the late 1940s until the early 1960s there was a resurgence in interest in the craft, with many new and imaginative crochet designs published for colourful doilies, potholders, and other home items. These patterns called for thicker threads and yarns than in earlier patterns and included wonderful variegated colours.

Although crochet underwent a subsequent decline in popularity, the early twenty-first century has seen a revival of interest in crafts, as well as great strides in improvement of the quality and varieties of yarn. There are many more new pattern books with modern patterns being printed, and many groups now offer crochet lessons in addition to the traditional knitting lessons. Today crochet is primarily practised as a hobby rather than as a commercial activity.


Crocheted fabric is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process to create a chain of a suitable length. The chain is either turned and worked in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in rounds.


  • Irish crochet lace – a type of lace made as an income generating activity in nineteenth century Ireland
  • Tunisian Crochet – a type of crochet using a long hook which is worked in two stages:  Stage 1 the stitches are picked up and the loops left on the hook; stage 2 the loops are removed until only 1 loop is left.  Tunisian crochet is gaining in popularity but has numerous names including Tunisian knitting. ‘Tunisian’ is a misnomer as there is no evidence that this style originated in Tunisia.
  • Amigurumi – the Japanese art of crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures and objects. It has been growing in popularity in recent years, particularly amongst younger makers.

Issues affecting the viability

Crochet is growing in popularity in the UK:

  • More people are supplementing their income by developing a niche market in the field of crochet.
  • More people are being asked to teach in yarn shops to keep the craft alive and these are increasing in number allowing even more people to learn the craft.
  • There are a huge number of ‘knit and natter’ groups and community craft groups where crochet skills are shared and developed
  • Crochet can use ‘left-over’ yarns in any fibre (including wire for jewellery).
  • Crochet is being added to other crafts to enhance the other crafts.

Support organisations

Training organisations


Craftspeople currently known


Other information

Pauline Turner provides an international diploma in crochet.



National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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