by Diana Thompson for the IYP
The San Francisco-based yarn artist Diana Thompson was curious about learning Tunisian crochet and suggested creating her own totem showing off her work.
I have found absolutely no evidence that Tunisian crochet was ever done in Tunisia, a country of rich textile traditions, especially weaving and embroidery. Some evidence suggests it couldn’t have begun there, as much of the population of the area is Berbers, whose custom actually forbade women to use needles and hooks. In fact, the origins of it are unknown, since no samples of the craft have been found that predate the twentieth century.
What is known is that instructions for pieces using the technique appear in Europe around the same time as standard crochet, in the mid-nineteenth century. Not long after, it appeared in U.S. needlework magazines as well. The second half of the nineteenth century saw a huge increase in the publication of instruction books for all the needle arts, and Tunisian crochet was regularly featured along with knitting, crochet, macramé, and other yarn art forms.
Diana’s Rainbow is a magnificent example of this unusual form.