This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
Crochet has been long known, but it has only become a favorite with the fair votaries of the needle, during the last few years. It is very difficult to describe, though easy of execution, and can be applied to a variety of useful aud ornamental purposes. It is most frequently adopted in working shawls, table covers, pillows, mats, slippers, carriage mats, and a great variety of other things of elegance and utility. Silk, cotton, and wool, are employed, and the work is so easy, that a moderate share of attention to details, will make an expert workman.
These are called plain single crochet, plain double crochet, plain stitch open crochet, and open crochet, with a variety of stitches. It is not easy to describe the manner of working crochet stitch, though it is easy of execution: perhaps the following will be found tolerably correct. Take a skein of wool, and having wound it, make a loop at one end, like the first link in a chain; through this draw another, and so on, until the chain is of the length required. Each must be made rather tight as it is drawn through its preceding loop. This forms the foundation, and the young worker may then proceed with the article she intends to make. She must pass the needle through the last loop of the foundation, and catching the silk or other material from behind, draw it through and so proceed with every succeeding loop of the foundation, until the row is completed. Having thus formed the first row, she must proceed as before to form a second, and so on from right to left, and from left to right, until she has all the rows required. This is the most effectual way we know of for the learner to pursue and she will find that her work is the same on both sides, producing raised and depressed rows in alternate succession. In working she must not generally work backward and forward, but must finish each row separately.
Make only one loop in each stitch. In making common purses in crochet, this is the stitch generally employed.
Keep two loops on the needle before finishing the stitch. This stitch is more generally in use than any of the others described.
This stitch is done in the following manner. To the last link of the foundation chain, crochet five stitches, which must be again crocheted in the fifth stitch of the chain. This is to be repeated to the foundation. The rest of the rows are to be done in the same way, attaching every fifth stitch to the centre one of each loop in the row preceding. This looks extremely well for purses, and it can be be varied by employing two or more colors as taste or fancy may direct.
This stitch is difficult to describe; an attention to the following rules will, we hope, enable the reader to understand it. First make a chain of the length required for the foundation ; then work one stitch plain, and bring the material round the needle, which must be passed through the first loop of the chain, through which bring the material, and you will thus have three stitches on
the needle. Through the two first of these the material must be drawn, which will leave two; through these the material must be again drawn, and that will leave one, through which you are to make one stitch plain, as at the commencement. You then put the material over the needle, and through the fourth link of the chain, and proceed as before. You will thus have one plain stitch between each two double ones, which will leave an open space. Double Open Crochet. - This is a similar stitch, only the single stitch is omitted, and the two long stitches are made together, by passing the needle through the next loop without making a stitch. Thus you will have two long stitches and one open stitch in succession. Treble Open Crochet. - This is exactly like the last, only making three long stitches, instead of two, before every plain stitch. It looks neat and elegant, and may have beads introduced, which produce a charming effect. The following directions will enable the novice to work with beads with freedom and accuracy. Thread the beads on a strong silk, and pass one on to the middle stitch of each of the three long ones.
This will, of course, place a bead in the centre of each square, Beads of various colors may be introduced, so as to form a diamond. A gold or polished steel one should form the centre of each diamond.
To work this you have only to take both meshes of the chain, instead of one, as in common crochet.
Work backward and forwards, first taking one mesh of the chain, and then the other. The upper mesh must be taken first.