Home Textile History

Threadwinder.info -- Jenny the Crochet-Worker & mid-19th Century patterns

    Title page and first engraving of <i>Jenny, the Crochet-Worker</i> The Autumn 2016 issue of the Crochet guild of America's (CGOA) Chain Link Newsletter (Vol.2, No.3)
    contains my article "Jenny the Crochet Worker: a morality story of the 1860s", about Sarah M. Fry's book,
    Jenny the Crochet-Worker; or the Path of the Truth. This book is fascinating because it provides a
    contemporary glimpse into the early days of crochet's first popularity. My picture of the title page includes
    an engraving depicting Jenny seeking refuge at a blacksmith's shop after being caught in a sudden,
    unexpected snowstorm while selling her crochet wares.
    Click on the image to see an enlargement.

  The book describes Jenny as being very inventive, a trait needed by all successful crocheters in the mid-19th century. This is because most
  crocheters learned from someone else and were unable to follow patterns. However, crochet patterns of that era would not have helped much
  since they were so poorly standardized. Often thir directions were scanty or very general, sometimes even published without pictures.
  Here are some examples of authentic mid-19th century patterns from a variety of sources.
  Click on any pattern picture for an enlargement and source information.

        Godey's May 1848 Crochet Hair Net pattern         Hartley's 1859 Anti-Macassar pattern         Peterson's November 1861 Purse pattern         Peterson's March 1865 Zephyr (a type of wool) Shawl pattern