Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Old school

In the effort to make crocheted renditions of diatoms and radiolarians, I've been trying to teach myself some crochet lacework techniques.

You know who really had these down (in 1884)? Therese de Dillmont. You can download her fantastic Encyclopedia or Needlework for free from the always-awesome Project Gutenburg (it looks great on a Kindle). The crochet chapter is just one small part, and it's brimming with awesome illustrations and mind-bogglingly intense patterns.

Figure 485 of 890 (not joking) from Therese de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlwork. She calls it "CROCHET CHAIR-BACK" but I think it should be called "NOOB GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN"
The best part about this book is the stitch notation. The names of stitches we are now familiar with (slip, single, treble, etc) used to belong to other stitches, and guess what: the old system makes a lot more sense. It acknowledges the modularity inherent in crochet, and as a result makes reading patterns much less of a headache. I'd be interested to find out why this system was abandoned...