Of course, ALL free Victorian crochet pattern books are lovable. After I researched crochet stitches for my classes, though, I keep these two close by and bookmarked. Both of these antique crochet books were published in 1891. (Click each image for the free download information and link.)
Last year I searched in literally hundreds of crochet books and booklets. I love researching crochet. Lots of antique, public domain crochet sources are keepers. Perhaps these two stand out in particular because of the specific stitches I was looking for.
- The Art of Crocheting. By Butterick Publishing Co., Ltd., 1891 (London and New York).
- Home Work, A Choice Collection of Useful Designs for the Crochet and Knitting Needle… By A. M., Rose Publishing Co. Ltd. (Toronto).
I recorded all occurrences of star stitches, love knots (“knot stitches” to the Victorians), and lacy Tunisian crochet patterns. I was surprised to discover that in many of the publications ranging from the 1840’s to the 2010’s, these stitches often didn’t appear at all. These two 1891 gems were especially fun for creative star stitch patterns.
Researching crochet stitches in free Victorian crochet pattern books offers lots of insight into crochet’s development. It’s fascinating to see how crochet is explained, illustrated, and promoted. Exciting, too! By 1891 the public demand for crochet patterns and stitch how-tos was very strong.
Free Victorian crochet pattern books date from the 1840’s to shortly before World War I. Please support the Antique Pattern Library. It’s one of my favorite sources for some obscure early indie crochet designer booklets too. I hope you will help their cause by donating scans or funds.
The Home Work book was the focus of an ambitious crochet pattern project by the Cyber Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Members crocheted actual swatches and projects from the book. The exhibit of them at CGOA’s annual Chain Link conference was a highlight of the event!
Also see my Antique Crochet Stunners board in Pinterest.