Shanghai woman keeps the craft of crochet alive

By Shi Wenjing

With such a large population, China is certainly proud of its diverse folk culture. One rarely seen skill called crochet was once very popular on the outskirts of Shanghai, but the stitching style is now facing the threat of disappearance.

A work of art by nimble hands. No matter how complicated the patterns are, they can be made just by using this knitting tool called a crochet hook.

63-year-old Jin Longhua is one of the very few successors of this craft in the city.

“The history of crochet stitch has more than 100 years. I’ve done it for about five decades,” Jin said. “Residents used to rely on this skill to make ends meet. But with the changing of the times, more and more people found other ways of making a living, and very few people still have this skill.”

Unlike other knitting skills such as the popular cross stitch, crochet stitching is not easy to learn, as it has more than fifty knitting patterns.

Crochet Guidebook

Some of Jin’s works are also combined with modern elements.

“My work requires patience and care. Few people nowadays want to work like this.” she said. “With the help of the local government, I’ve held many workshops and exhibitions for local residents and students. I want to contribute to keep this skill alive.”

Apart from designing new work, Jin uses her leisure time to guide her students. She hopes the skill will one day be added to the national heritage list, so that more people will learn the skill and keep it alive.

The weaving method was introduced from Europe and later the skill was modified from weaving to knotting after combined with local skills. The workmanship is a combination of eastern and western cultures as well as the wisdom of local residents.

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