Traditionally the orgins of crochet are said to come from either Arabia, China or South America, however there really is no real evidence of it being crafted prior to it becoming popular in Europe during the 19th century. What we know about the orgins are strictly speculation.
The first ever printed crochet patterns emerged in a Dutch magazine in 1824. The early spelling of the word was crotchet which was standardized in 1845 to the spelling we know today of crochet.
After the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 which he patented in 1794 and the device known as the spinning jenny in 1764 by James Hargreaves in England; machine spun cotton thread became more readily available in Europe and North America. This made the thread less expensive and available to a wider variety of women, making hand spun linen more obsolete.
The technique of crochet uses more thread than the machine spun methods, which make cotton the most and best practicle materials for crocheting.
Crochet is a process of creating fabric from thread, yarn or other materials using what is called a crochet hook. These hooks are made with wood, metal, bone or plastic. There are many collectors of the early hooks, which are sometimes very rare and hard to find. The crochet hook is manufactured in various sizes so that they will accomodate the various types of thread, yarns or materials used in the crochet projects.
The process of crochet is pulling loops through loops, and incorporates various techniques of wrapping the working materials around the hook one or more times to complete what is called a stitch. A series of symbols are used to define the pattern that one is creating.
Crochet is used today to make some of the most delicate of home furnishings and decor as well as some of the bulkest of clothing items. The possibilities are endless once you learn the basic techniques.