Short history of crocheting

Crocheting becomes very popular nowadays! When you crochet, you free up your mind from all the negative thoughts. The rhythmic, repetitive moves, combined with relaxation, has benefits similar to those of meditation!

Have you ever asked yourselves what are the origins and history of this captivating art? We did a small research and we found out a number of curiosities.

There are suppositions that crocheting existed far before Christ, in the year 1500, being practiced by nuns, who used to tight knots.

There are 3 main theories concerning the origins of crocheting:

  • The first theory supports that this art comes from Arabia and extended to East in Tibet, then to West in Spain, reaching through the Arabian trade paths other Mediterranean countries.
  • Another theory says that crocheting originates in the South America, where a primitive tribe was using crocheted ornaments in their rituals.
  • The third one brings arguments that the motherland of crocheting is China, where in ancient times crocheting dolls used to be a popular activity.

More concrete proofs of the existence of crocheting can be found in the second half of the XVIII-th century, when lace became popular in Turkey, India, Persia, North Africa, reaching Europe at the end of XVIII-th century. Crocheting earned proportions when it was discovered that fragments of stitches crocheted according to a certain repetitive scheme, can exist separately, without being sewed on textiles. At that moment, in France the lace became known as “air crocheting”.

The first notorious name in Europe in the field of crocheting is Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere, surnamed as “Mother of modern crocheting”. She published her first book (out of a total of 72), a guiding book for crocheting and knitting, in 1846. The book revolutionized the domain of crocheting and influenced fashion trends during the Victorian period. Women were eager to wear crocheted clothes, created at home, after the design of Eleonore Riego.

In Moldova the origins of crocheting date back in VI-th decade of the XX-th century. The tool used for crocheting has had different names in villages of Basarabia: “miripilic”, „cîrlig”, „sudelcă”. The initial techniques was simple, the main element being the chain, out of which the rows were created. It seems that the most common crocheted work was the so-called „horbotica” and we suppose that it’s more ancient, and the most popular ornamental motifs were the stream, „ram horns”, „communion bread”. In time, crocheting became ample, a big range of combinations and techniques have been developed, which led to a real treasure of the national popular art.


  • History of Crochet 1500 BC – 1820, by K. Perry, 2005
  • History of Lace (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace), by Burry Palliser, 2012