I am definite all you guys have heard about this amazing craft called “Crochet”. No matter what your age could be, I am sure all of you, at some point of your life would have seen or heard your mother or your grandmother refer to this amazing needlecraft called “Crochet”.
It is one of the oldest and the most classic fashions that I have ever watched in my life. And the best part is, it is not limited to just clothes, but trickles down to home décor and just about anything around us.
My first memory of seeing “Crochet “(I am definite it would be the case with many of you) is that of seeing these round table mats called “ Doilies “which were used as a decorative piece for the centre tables or corner stools in the living room. They used to always move me to a fairyland. For some reason , these delicate pieces always made me feel very special about our home especially so because , no matter what, if some guests visited our home , my papa used to religiously pull out these “Doilies” and spread them in the most appropriate places. And so I had a feeling that, these were very special stuff that is displayed for very special people.
Later I also listened to stories of “Crochet from my grandparent’s days when they used to live in Penang in Malayasia . My grandmom, it seems, used to make huge table runners made of “Crochet”. There was also this very girly story of the women of a village called “Mankurussi”, of Pallakkad district in Kerala (India), where to my grandparents returned after their stint at Malaysia as this was their native place; a quaint sleepy village , where I have spent some of my best ,happy days as a child. The story was that of “Crochet” being made as lace to be attached to the edge of the in-skirts that women wore underneath the sari (a long piece of cloth that women drape around their bodies), as the straps of bodice that was worn as an undergarment beneath blouses and as lace attached to the hemlines of petticoats worn by little girls. I assume this was some sort of lingerie for the women of the village! So lingerie is after all an old romantic thought; not so modern as we think!
Maybe since I had a thing or two for fabrics, garments and designs, way back itself when I was just a little girl, I loved these stories about textiles. I started designing and getting my clothing made to order ever since I was in the ninth grade.
I would look at the images of dresses in many foreign magazines which were absolutely gorgeous. And in my part of the world, in those times, we never used to get to buy dresses or frocks beyond an age for girls (this age being highly limited; say ten years) .And beyond this, girls generally don’t wear little dresses. Either we pass onto something more traditional like typical skirts (half and full) and blouses or maybe to Salwar Kameez. Even if we got to wear or buy dresses, those would be mostly long ; in the sense , the hemline of the dress would be definitely beyond the knee or maybe till calf. So there was nothing pretty or girly about these dresses whose style quotient was also zilch or so I felt.
And there I was, on a mission to do my own clothes in a very serious way. I used to draw my own sketches (definitely influenced by all those foreign magazines) and would go about searching for suitable fabrics to make them. I also hunted out tailors to kind of understand my sketches and make them like the way I ideated. These guys always had a problem doing what I exactly wanted. They would give their own conservative inputs and always tried their luck at manipulating my designs to which I revolted strongly. There arose probably my traits as a designer to get what I really wanted. I learnt to say “No” in a firm yet prudent manner. And I fought tooth and nail with this clan to get my designs done without diluting.
There is this vivid memory of a Black dress with white polka dots. I wanted the collar in “Crochet” And I knew it was nearly impossible to get a collar crocheted in any of the commercial places unless you knew someone who would do it personally for you. Sadly I didn’t know anyone. Thus, I just picked up a doily mat that belonged to my father and took it to the tailor to convert it into the flat Peter Pan collar of my dress. Thankfully the tailor was also experimental and he agreed. Voilà! I had my dream dress with the crocheted collar. What an accomplishment!I wore the dress proudly and clutched dearly onto it for many years. I still remember I had it even when I was studying for graduation (Maharaja’s College, Kochi, India; the best place where I have spent my youth and fell in love too).
“Crochet” has ever since remained close to my heart and I still remain a sucker for all things crochet. When I used to run my lifestyle store (Ahom in Kochi, India), I had sourced out beautiful lampshades done in “Crochet” from Pondicherry and Auroville(Tamilnadu). I can’t really explain the awe I had when I saw local women do these “Crochet” lamps. They were gathered under a thatched roof in their traditional saris and were engrossed in a chat; relaxed and pulling out needle to create some of the prettiest lampshades that i had ever seen. The whites were classy. The coloured ones were so much like, out of a fairytale with the glass beads tied at the thread ends. I can never forget the high I felt , standing amongst those women admiring the intense simplicity of this craft. As samples, which they had made for a foreign client, they showed me more pieces like a belt, a wallet, and a beautiful bikini. And guess what? I coaxed them to sell that sample bikini to me! Smart eh?
Some amusing products where Crochet is used
Image coutesy: Pinterest