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Crocheting on Rick Rack Intro and History Trivia

In the late 1800s, needlecrafters were already crocheting into the edges of a variation of rick rack, called waved braid. At left is an illustration from the December 1883 issue of The Young Ladies Journal, the caption reading "Edging: crochet and waved braid".

The May 1916 issue of Needlecraft has an article named "The Renaissance of Rickrack", which begins by saying that this type of braid is "again in the highest of favor". It goes on to say that twenty-five or thirty years before (placing the time at about 1886 or 1891) there was a limited choice of materials for the worker wishing to combine crochet with braid for laces.

A quote from the 1916 article: "Now the modern manufacturer, catering always to the demands of needlecraft, has produced the braid in such a variety of sizes as to make it applicable to every style of trimming." Now, 74 years later, we have an even greater wealth of variety that crocheters of that era could only dream of.

These days multi-colored and rick rack trims with colorful designs woven in are in plentiful supply. The rick rack shown at left is just one example.

These days, solid color rick rack trims are readily available in various widths, ranging from teeny tiny for trimming doll clothes to jumbo. Shown here are Medium (red) and Jumbo (white).

The 1916 Needlecraft article has instructions for eight variations of edgings and borders that combine various stitch combinations crocheted into the edges of the rick rack. I'll be posting some of those patterns on this site from time to time, along with other rickrack/crochet edging patterns that I have found in other pattern books of the early 1900's.

Some uses named in the 1916 article are as trimmings for babies' garments, handkerchiefs, lingerie, pillowcases, towel ends, doilies and centerpieces. One of the favorite uses today would be for trimming clothing and accessories.

My Variation of Pattern Shown on Right

The Many Names of Rick Rack

Just a little history trivia: In the 1916 Needlecraft article, the word is rickrack, another 1916 pattern book says rick rack and today, the trim packaging also shows it split into two words "rick rack". You'll sometimes see it spelled ric rac. Go back to the 1800s and you would be crocheting on a variation called waved braid. By 1916, they had dropped the "d" to make this wave braid. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was also called zigzag braid, snake braid and corrugated braid. There, more than you ever wanted to know about rick rack.

Learn how to crochet on rick rack; instructions for an edging that combines crocheting with rick rack trim.

This article copyright 2000 by Sandi Marshall. I was fortunate to find at an auction originals of each of the publications mentioned on this page. It is from these 1883 - 1916 publications that I did my research for this article.

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