I’ve been crocheting for a very long time but I stuck to the basics for years – single crochet, double crochet – all with a regular old hook. The thing is, it’s hard to actually find new types of crochet because a lot of the time you don’t even know what you’re looking at. I follow some incredible German, Japanese, Lithuanian and Spanish crocheters on Instagram who do the most gobsmacking work but I often don’t know what techniques they are using because I don’t speak their language. I’ll see this incredible thing in my insta feed with a crochet hook sticking out of it and I’ll be like ‘What the hell is that??? I must make it!’ and then I click through to the description and I’m heart broken that I can’t read the caption. Such is the beauty of the internet!
Knitting appears to be the king of the yarn world but crochet has it’s own techniques and finishes that can’t be achieved with knitting. The origins of crochet are a bit murky but we know it was first seen in early nineteenth century Europe and was referred to as ‘shepherd’s knitting’.
It was originally invented as a cheap alternative to buying expensive lace (crochet is by no means a quick craft but if you’ve ever seen lace being made, you’ll totally get this) but it was Queen Victoria who made it popular by purchasing Irish lace crochet items from people trying to make money after the potato famine in Ireland. She even learned to crochet herself and popularised the craft (we just need Queen Mary to start crocheting now!). Crochet pulled many poor families out of the potato famine and earned them enough money to emigrate to America. It was about 1900 when swathes of Irish folk landed in the US bringing their crochet skills with them.
In the 50s, crochet was used for practical items during the war, things like nets and under helmet caps for soldiers. It was also used to embellish dresses and hats as a way for women to update their look when money and resources were scarce. In the 60s, crochet fabrics were all the rage with women crocheting their own shift dresses and pant suits. The 70s saw the rise in popularity of the granny square with jackets, dresses and hooded sweatshirts made entirely out of the versatile little motifs. The 80s were full of chunky crochet cardigans and fete style toys, crochet was a bit quiet through out the 90s and now crochet is having a modern comeback with stylish homewares, gorgeous kids toys and beautiful clothing items for men and women.
I’ve been crochet obsessed long enough now that I can recognise almost any kind of crochet so I thought I’d pop together a resource in case any of my readers were keen to expand their skills. There are certainly more types of crochet than the ones I’ve one listed but these are a few that you may want to know more about.
1. Amigurumi Crochet
This is a crochet art form that originated in Japan and it refers to the making of small, stuffed toys or creatures made from knitted or crocheted yarn. Ami means crochet or knit and nuigurumi means stuffed doll. If you ever see a little doll or toy made from yarn, that’s amigurumi. Hello Kitty, Plants VS Zombies and Mario Kart are popular themes for amigurumi.
Things to make using the amigurmi type of crochet
– Children’s toys
– Larger novelty cushions and homewares
– Fan items
2. Aran Crochet
Refers to ribbed or cabled crochet. It’s traditionally a Celtic style crochet with interlocking cables and can be used to make chunky beanies, sweaters and scarves. Aran is also a weight of yarn so be weary of that when you read the word ‘aran’ in a pattern. When you see a picture of someone snuggled under a big, cosy looking blanket – that’s aran.
Things to make using the aran type of crochet
3. Bavarian Crochet
This is a vintage crochet stitch that’s traditionally work in rounds like granny squares. It creates a thick fabric and allows for blended colour changes rather than sharp colour changes like with granny square. Each section is worked in two parts – a base row of clusters and then a row of shells worked on top. Bavarian crochet looks like really, really fancy granny squares.
Things to make using the Bavarian type of crochet
4. Bosnian Crochet
Bosnian crochet makes a dense, knit-like fabric using just the crochet slip stitch, worked in different parts of a stitch from the previous row. You can buy Bosnian crochet hooks but it can also be worked with regular crochet hooks. It’s also sometimes called Shepherd’s knitting. IT also looks quite a lot like knitting. It’s not currently a very popular style and if you see it, you’ll probably think it’s knitted.
Things to make using the Bosnian type of crochet
– Smaller items as it’s quite time consuming
5. Bullion Crochet
This is a specialised crochet stitch achieved with a combination of multiple wraps of yarn around a very long hook, forming a distinctive and unique ‘roll’ stitch. Bullion crochet is usually used for motifs rather than fabric based projects. It results in a thick, uniform, round motif style piece.
– Stiff items like placemats
– Motifs for decoration
Things to make using the Bullion type of crochet
6. Broomstick Crochet
This is a vintage crochet stitch that is also sometimes called jiffy lace and it’s made with a traditional crochet hook but the stitches are formed around something long and wide like a broomstick handle. Most modern crocheters use large crochet hooks or thick dowel to do broomstick lace these days. Broomstick lace is an excellent crochet skill to learn and it results in a very beautiful and unique final product.
Things to make using the Broomstick type of crochet
– Delicate shawls
– Throw blankets for decoration
7. Bruges Crochet
This method is used to make bruges lace – where ‘ribbons’ of crochet are created and then crocheted together to form intricate lace patterns. Most grandmas have some handmade bruges style crochet items tucked away in drawers and wrapped in acid proof paper.
– Intricate shawls
– Embellishments for clothing
– Table mats
Things to make using the Bruges type of crochet
8. Clothesline Crochet
This is a style of crochet where traditional stitches are worked over a thick rope or clothesline style length of thick twine to make circular mats and baskets that hold their shape. This is often seen as a trial technique and can be traced back to craftspeople in Nepal and Africa.
Things to make using the Clothesline type of crochet
– Structural wall hangings
9. Clones Lace Crochet
This style of crochet is heavily linked to Irish lace crochet and was created because it was much quicker and easier to create than needlepoint lace. The Clones knot is a part of the clones crochet skill set. Clones lace is a very practical crochet style and was used for utilitarian purposes during wars.
Things to make using the clones lace type of crochet
– Open work scarves
– Delicate dresses and tops
10. Cro-hook Crochet
Cro-hook crochet is worked with a double ended hook to create double sided crocheted. It allows the crocheter to work stitches on or off either end of their crochet piece and to have neither a right or wrong side to what they’re working on. This is also sometimes called Cro-knit. This style is similar to Tunisian and results in excellent colour work that’s not achievable in other styles of crochet.
Things to make using the Cro-hook type of crochet
– wash cloths
– Baby blankets
11. Filet Crochet
This is a crochet style created with chains and double crochet. It’s a grid like pattern where squares are either filled or not filled and the negative space is used to create pictures within the piece. The unique thing about filet crochet is that you can embed images using the full and empty squares of the fabric.
Things to make using the filet type of crochet
– Baby blankets
– Jackets and kimonos
– Hand bags
12. Finger Crochet
Very similar to finger knitting, finger crochet is exactly like crocheting just without the hook! It’s essentially a form of hand fabric weaving in the style of crochet stitches. Finger crochet is fun when you’re getting started but as the finished tension is quite loose, you’ll probably want to move on to a hook pretty quickly and make more versatile projects.
Things to make using the finger type of crochet
– Simple string bags
– Basic scarves
13. Freeform Crochet
This style of crochet is created without a pattern or an official plan. It’s a very organic and artistic form of crochet. Note: If you’re a control freak (like me!) this may not be the style for you. I struggle without instructions or a plan so if you’re similar, avoid freeform.
Things to make using the freeform type of crochet
– One off clothing times
– Art pieces
14. Hairpin Crochet
This is similar to broomstick crochet except that it’s worked with a traditional crochet hook with the crochet piece held taught between two thin metal rods. Back when this technique was created actual metal hair pins were used which is how it got its name. This style result in a really unique finished fabric.
Things to make using the hairpin type of crochet
– Delicate scarves
15. Micro Crochet
This is a modern style of crochet and it’s achieved using very fine thread and extremely fine crochet hooks. This is very delicate work and probably best for more patient crocheters.
Things to make using the micro type of crochet
– Teeny tiny things
16. Overlay Crochet
A technique where a base of crochet is made and stitches are added on top to create a raised pattern. This opens up many possibilities for beautiful and intricate colour work.
Things to make using the overlay type of crochet
– Pot holders
– Wall hangings
– Hand bags
17. Pineapple Crochet
This isn’t so much a technique, it’s more of a general stitch and shape pattern. You can use pineapples in crochet make doilies, scarves and even clothing. Once you know how to spot a crochet pineapple, you start seeing them everywhere. This is a stitch style that was popularised in the 70s.
Things to make using the pineapple type of crochet
18. Stained glass crochet
Very similar to overlay crochet but the top part is usually done in black yarn to create a contrast stained glass affect. A unique and striking style of crochet.
Things to make using the stained glass type of crochet
– Thick, sturdy items
– Winter scarves
19. Symbol crochet
This is also known as chart crochet and is very popular in Japanese stitch books. It’s an extremely useful skill to learn as you can pick up any symbol crochet book in any language and make the projects just by using the chart. Note: Your life will change once you learn to crochet from symbol patterns.
Things to make using the symbol type of crochet
– Complicated patterns that are difficult to explain in words
– Intricate designs
– Foreign language patterns
20. Tapestry Crochet
This is the crochet equivalent of colour work. It’s also called intarsia crochet. There are many different methods of working in tapestry crochet and each style gives different results. Tapestry crochet is one of the many ways to do colour work.
Things to make using the tapestry type of crochet
– Colour work pieces
– Imagery based designs
21. Tunisian Crochet
Worked on a long hook with a stopper at the end or a hook with a cord attachment, Tunisian crochet is very similar to knitting in that you have many live loops at any given time and you work your loops on and off your hook, just like in knitting.
Things to make using the Tunisian type of crochet
– Knit look items