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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Bleil

Welcome to the Mt. Cynthos collection of Granny Square earrings!

The tops of these earrings are crocheted. Crocheting is the process of using a special hook to create a fabric out of any stringing material. For these earrings I used cotton thread typically used for embroidery. I chose embroidery floss because it comes in vibrant colors. The word “crochet” originates from the French word “croche” which means hook.

Colorful metallic crochet hooks
These are crochet hooks; they come in a wide range of sizes. They are made of various materials and an assortment of colors.

I have been crocheting for 50 years. I was taught by the neighbor that everyone called Grandma Rye. She was 88 years old. Sitting on her living room couch surrounded by old photos and religious icons, she taught me the basic stiches and how to make granny squares using yarn and a size J hook. This was the early 1970’s. Crocheting had become popular again within the counterculture of the 1960’s and granny squares were seen everywhere. I made many granny square blankets during that time. In the 1980’s popularity declined again. It is only now experiencing a resurgence. Despite the ups and downs in the popularity of crocheting, I have always had a crochet project going. I taught myself how to read patterns. I learned to use various sizes of thread and hook. I made many doilies.

I have a book that I use when I need to remember a needlework craft that I did many years ago. For example, I recently consulted this tome to rediscover some embroidery stitches so I could do a little embroidery on my wife’s Levi’s. The book’s title is New Complete Book of Needlework by Vera P. Guild. It is a Good Housekeeping book originally published in 1959. (I have the 1971 Book Club edition.)

I looked again to see what Ms. Guild said about crochet. She talks about it in a particular time and place; Ireland during famine times in the mid 1800’s. Until then, it was mostly nuns who crocheted. Their students learned to crochet from them and made lace to sell. Irish Crochet is known to have existed as far back as 1743 when, according to Ms. Guild, the Royal Dublin Society awarded prizes for exemplary pieces of this work. In the book, Ms. Guild continues teaching about the various abbreviations and everything else you need to know to crochet.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of crochet, I found this blog and video by Alysha Littlejohn. She writes a history of crochet including the role it played during the potato famines in Ireland.

My crocheted granny square earrings evoke memories of past decades while belonging in any modern jewelry box. They are well made, one-of-a-kind, and fun to wear. Each pair is augmented by a dangle of beads in complementary, and sometimes contrasting colors. I love crocheting and have been doing it for half a century. It is an old needlework art, a few thousand years old as we know it with precursors going back as far as 6500 BC. It is an honor to share my love of this art with all of you!

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1 Comment

Kristina Bleil
Kristina Bleil
Oct 13, 2023

Lovely post! And thank you for sharing some of your own history!

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