Hooked on Crochet
Long Hua
Shanghai
Classic
Fabric Making

When, in the 1920’s, the French nuns brought the craft of crochet to China, it was an immediate hit.  It was the fashionable decoration of rich ladies and with its delicate patterns, and the vagaries of the needlework, it became the “thing to do” to learn how to crochet.  After all in those poor times this was a way for women not only to make a little extra money, but also to eke out some joy and sweet times.

At just over 60 years of age, Mrs. Jin is one of the few good crochet masters who learned at the hand of those original pioneers.  She told us that from the age of 5 or 6 she followed her mother’s teachings – how to use the long and short needle, the chain stitch, how to tie the shrimp knot, bump knot – stitch after stitch she quietly watched and learned until it became embedded in her heart.  Maybe that was her gift.  After seeing a style, a technique, a pattern, she could remember it at once.  In the world of crochet Mrs. Jin is absolutely passionate.  When she sees a new flower or plant she automatically translates it into crochet patterns.  Some of the patterns only previously seen overseas are easily adopted and made by her.  Not because of her English reading skills, or learning from instructions, but because of her special connection to the art.

“Look at my shawl.  I hooked that when I was young.  After so many years this still looks beautiful and has endured through much washing and use,” she says.  “The more use an item like this has, the closer you feel connected to it,” Mrs. Jin proudly explains in her Shanghai dialect.  Looking at her magic hands whipping up and down, her skill miraculously turns out deeply attractive blooming roses, intoxicating lilacs, and enchanting camellias…

She is very aware that traditional crafts need to be blended into today’s appreciation of what is beautiful.  She is skilled at bringing her needlework abilities to bear on modern designs and sensibilities.  A qipao she hooks is in no way inferior to similar garments made of embroidered silk, and reflects women’s charm and elegance, and is also slightly sexy.  Her works are exported to France, where they are treated with the high esteem accorded to true art.  In such a market, 100% hand-made equates with expensive and her creations fetch good prices in the fashion world.

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Accolades

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