Crochet Curtains

I had crochet curtains in a house at one point and loved them. They fit the casual decor of that home, let lots of wonderful light in, and let me get a glimpse of the outdoors while giving me a sense of privacy. Their biggest drawback was they didn't control climate well -- cold air came through during the winter more than my other curtains. Because of their lack of insulation or privacy we didn't have them in rooms other than the kitchen and breakfast room.

Crochet curtains lend a light, fairyland air to a window with their open netting and white, finely detailed figures. Crochet curtains are a very popular and inexpensive alternative to woven lace curtains. Shopping for crochet curtains can be almost as much fun as owning them!

The French word “crochet” means “hook”. Crochet is different from traditional knitting because only one implement, the crochet hook, is used. Instead of manipulating two loops of yarn to interlock them, crochet pulls one loop of yarn through another to create a slipknot. Crochet curtains use more yarn than woven lace, but the speed with which crochet can be done and the ease of teaching its techniques makes crochet curtains less expensive than lace overall.

Crochet curtains are fairly recent developments in déecor. Crochet itself did not catch on until the 1800s, when mass-produced cotton thread made the material-intensive technique commercially viable. Indeed, cotton thread became so cheap that it was possible to fund charity with it. During the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1849, Ursuline nuns taught poor farmers wives and daughters to crochet many items, including crochet curtains. These items were purchased abroad, in part for their beauty and in part to help fund relief efforts.

As the Industrial Age created an affluent middle class, crochet curtains, clothes, blankets, and many other items became a widely popular substitute for the status symbol of lace. This led to crochet being looked down upon as "common". Those who could afford lace made by older and more expensive methods sneered at crochet, although the delicacy and detail of both techniques are exquisite.

Bright colors were characteristic of Victorian era crochet curtains. The Edwardian era, starting around 1910, saw a shift to white and pale colored threads. However, crochet curtain patterns became far more detailed, and the threads used became finer. This led to an overall refinement of the crochet curtain art.

After World War II, crochet again returned to vibrant colors and coarser threads. There was a resurgence in home crafts, and crochet curtains were one of many homemade items produced by the burgeoning middle class.

Crochet declined in popularity during the last third of the 20th Century, although a hard core of home crocheters continued to crank out crochet curtains, potholders, doilies, tablecloths, and other dainties. Just recently, interest in home crafts is again on the rise, and crochet remains one of the easiest and most rewarding crafts to learn.

Today, crochet curtains are widely available online. Many are new, machine-made crochet curtains. But some of the best examples of crochet curtains are found in antique boutiques.

Many beautiful patterns are available if you wish to try your hand at making crochet curtains. Haas Design is just one Web site that sells crochet curtain patterns. They also offer a series of Croche-Along classes conducted online.

Crochet curtains are beautiful, unusual, and inexpensive compared to woven lace. Even more frugal and fun is making your own crochet curtains. Give it a try and see just how handy you can be with one hook.