Monday, March 1, 2010

History Lesson

March is National Crochet Month. The origin of crochet often falls under scrutiny. Some believe men may have been among some of the first crocheters during the early centuries, others say there's no evidence of the artform until the 19th century when it was popular with European women of the day. In more recent times though, history has come full circle with men finally reclaiming their niche in the world of crochet.

During the mid to late 20th century, crochet was beginning to be seen as the pastime of "old ladies." It was mocked, berated, and seen as inferior in the world of fiber art. During the 21st century however, it has become a modern and hip way of expressing ones creative spirit. From amigurumi to the classic granny afghan, crochet is making its mark on the new millennium in a very postive way.

Perhaps its current popularity can be attributed, at least in part, to some modern day celebrities who lend their name to the enjoyable hobby. One of the first names that comes to mind is that of Vanna White. From pattern books, to her own popular line of yarn, her name has helped to revitalize the once jeered art form.

While Vanna may just be the most well known woman in crochet, the most celebrated "dude" associated with crochet is not who you might think. Yes, Drew Emborsky most certainly is The Crochet Dude, but the identity of an earlier male fiber fiend may just surprise you.

He was born a slave in 1864, just before the abolition of slavery, in what is now Diamond, Missouri. In the absence of his natural mother, his owners, Moses and Susan Carver, raised him as their own. Susan not only taught him in his youth to read and write, she also taught him to crochet. Historically, he is best known as the man who discovered 300 uses for the peanut.

Have you guessed who he is yet? I'm sure you have.

Yes, George Washington Carver was a crocheter!

You can catch a glimpse of him with his handiwork at approximately 1:45 into the following video:

Stay tuned for more on this subject!

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