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Threadwinder.info - May 1852 Punch, "The Law of Crochet"

Sweetly Pretty cartoon Fanny article Punch Magazine (full title: Punch or The London Charivari) lampooned all aspects of politics and popular culture for almost 60 years.
During the mid-1800s crochet was so popular that it was a frequent target for Punch's satire.

Law Cartoon In May 1852 Punch magazine published the satirical and very chauvanistic "The Law of Crochet". For the complete text see my article published in September/October 2011. PieceWork magazine. However I have provided a summary below with additional photos. Click on thumbnail-pictures for larger images and additional explanations.

Clause 1: Limits crochet time to no more than 14 hours per day.
Clause 2: Being busy with Boar's Head (a brand of crochet thread made by Walter G. Evan's & Co. in Darley Abbey, Derbyshire) is an inadequate excuse for a badly cooked calf's head (a favorite dish at the time and the main ingredient in mock turtle soup).
Boar'S Head Thread Sign Boar'S Head flyer and Mee's book                 Beeton's Calfs Head Alice's Mock Turtle

Australia's Kiwi bird Clause 3: Excuses a husband's grumpiness when his wife pays too much attention to crocheting an "anti-macassar", so much that she is unwilling to go to the zoo to see the the new Apteryx (Australia's Kiwi bird) or to pay adequate attention to her husband's jokes. (Anti-macassars are now known as an "antimacassars", the term for a textile piece, usually crocheted, that protects chair cushions from hair oils. The most popular hair oil of the time was Rowland's Macassar Oil.)
Old Macassar Oil bottle Rowland's Macassar Oil advertisement

Clause 4: A wife's "unreasonable" attachment to crochet excuses the husband of all sorts of bad behavior, examples provided in the bill.
Clause 5: Places no limitations on the wife's late night darning or mending.
Clause 6: Gives the husband the last word on the interpretation of the law, without appeal.
Clause 7: Provides "remedy for all cases of Crochet Aggrevation".

2000 IOW Needles 1899 IOW Needles 1899 IOW Needles Clause 8: Obliges the husband to furnish his wife with alternate "amusement" such as copying, accounting, or editing duties.
Clause 9: Empowers a husband to taunt a crotchety wife (a play on the word "crotchety", defined as irritable, quarelsonme, cantankerous, or grouchy; see the below section on Lord Brougham for more comments on the word "crotchet"). For example, if she requests a holiday at the Isle of Wight (where the geologic formation, the Needles, are) she can be told she has had enough of the Needles. Fine crochet hooks were often called "crochet needles" until the early 1900s.

Disraeli caricature Disraeli photograph The article concludes recommending Disraeli, "because he really works very fairly - with a hook" (an antisemitic comment, based on an inaccurate stereotype about his Jewish heritage) sponsor the bill in the House of Commons, and Brougham Hall Lord Brougham sketch Lord Brougham "celebrated for his Crotchet-work" (ties to Thomas Love Peacock's book, Crotchet Castle) sponsor the bill in the House of Lords.

Queen Victoria At the time of Punch's satire, crochet continued growing in popularity. Even Queen Victoria learned to crochet.
Picture, with gracious permission from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.