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And, although more than a million died in less than 10 years, the Irish people survived the famine.
Families relied on their earnings from crochet, which gave them the chance to save up enough to emigrate and start a new life abroad, taking their crochet skills with them.
At the end of the 18th century, tambour evolved into what the French called "crochet in the air," when the background fabric was discarded and the stitch worked on its own.
Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800s and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle.
Riego de la Branchardiere, who was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated.
She published many pattern books so that millions of women could begin to copy her designs. Riego also claimed to have invented "lace-like" crochet," today called Irish crochet.
Irish crochet was a virtual lifesaver for the people of Ireland.
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One: Crochet originated in Arabia, spread eastward to Tibet and westward to Spain, from where it followed the Arab trade routes to other Mediterranean countries.