25 Edgy 1970’s Crochet Designers: Where Are They Now?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately of vintage crochet books from the 1970’s. Several of them are really unique books that share the early stages of niche areas of crochet that are popular with certain segments of crafters and artists today. For example, Creative Crochet is about freeform crochet and Hard Crochet touches on tapestry crochet. These books mention so many different designers from the 1970’s and I can’t help but wondering what their body of work looks like and where those designers are now. So I decided it’s time to launch a new blog project: 25 Crochet Designers from the 1970’s.

1970s Crochet Isn’t Just What You Think

In the post that I did about Hard Crochet one of my readers, scarletdash, mentioned how everyone makes these assumptions about what 1970s crochet looks like and these great books that look at the line between crochet as a craft and crochet as an art remind us that those things aren’t the only things that 1970s crochet was about.

Yes, 1970’s crochet definitely include lots of the things we think of. I asked my Twitter friends and my G+ friends what comes to mind about 1970’s crochet for them and some of what they said included:

  • Orange, brown, yellow and avocado acrylic yarns
  • Clunky, bulky patterns
  • Granny square everything, especially vests and bikinis
  • Chevon pattern blankets
Yes, there were a lot of those things in the 1970’s and that’s why we automatically think of those things. But there was also a big celebration of the domestic arts as a part of the women’s empowerment movement, especially in the art world, and there was a big push to take crochet to the next level. One of the books I’m reading, Fiber Arts: Macrame, Crochet, Wrapping, Coiling, Weaving by Diane Philippoff Maurer has a great description of how crafting wasn’t accepted in the art world at this time (sculptures okay, fiber sculptures not okay) and how artists, especially female artists, fought that to get crochet and other crafts seen as a legitimate art form.
I want to use this series to get to know those crochet artists of the 1970s that were pushing the boundaries of that time, making way for the crochet artists of today that are pushing new boundaries.

About the Series

In this series I’ll be doing research into a new designer each week to find out more about him or her. I will look at: who they are, their published work from the 1970’s, how that work represents 1970’s crochet ideas, what they’ve been doing since then (if I can find that information), and how any newer crochet work compares to that of the 1970’s.

The 25 1970’s Crochet Designers

I’ve put together a list of crochet designers that are mentioned in the two main books I’m using to kick off my research (Creative Crochet and Hard Crochet). I’ll start there with my explorations. There are actually 26 designers on the list which gives me a bonus option in case there’s a designer I just can’t find any information on. Here they are:

  1. Ann Stearnbach
  2. Arlene Stimmel
  3. Barbara Murrio
  4. Cindy Picchi
  5. Debbie Einbender
  6. Del Feldman
  7. Diana Schmidt
  8. Diane Kender
  9. Dina Schwartz
  10. Frank Lincoln Viner
  11. Helen Bitar
  12. Jackie Henderson
  13. Janet Karpuck
  14. Janet Lipkin Decker
  15. Joan Wortis
  16. Lannie Martowe
  17. Mark Dittrick
  18. Nicki Hitz Edson
  19. Norma Minkowitz
  20. Pat Mueller
  21. Paulette Stammer
  22. Peri Trout
  23. Ruth Nivola
  24. Sharron Hedges
  25. Susan Morrow
  26. Suzannah Lewis


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Oooh, don’t forget James Walters and Sylvia Cosh!

  2. I second James Walters and Sylvia Cosh. (She passed away but he is still alive.) I am so looking forward to hearing about Jackie Henderson. If you are taking requests :), what about Anne Halliday and Judith Copeland?

  3. Love this idea! Granny squares. I saw the most gorgeous coverlet in the 70’s…it was granny squares done in jewel colors with black…it looks just like stained glass!

    • @bexaraven Sounds beautiful! Your description reminds me a little of this stained glass crochet afghan from Etsy: http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/2011/12/etsy-crochet-stained-glass-afghan/

  4. Interesting project. I think of those same color combinations when I think of the seventies as well as granny squares. I used to have a large granny square purse as a little girl. My mom used to make matching outfits for my sisters and I and Yes, they were granny squares. I just upload a pic sometime.

  5. Pingback: Edgy 1970′s Crochet Designers: Ann Stearnbach — Crochet Concupiscence

  6. look forward to seeing your research!

  7. Pingback: Thursday craft goals update – first year finale | Underground Crafter

  8. Pingback: 1970s Crochet Designers: James Walters and Sylvia Cosh — Crochet Concupiscence

  9. Dina Schwartz is now Dina Knapp, she lives in Miami Beach and still creates! http://www.dinaknapp.com/

  10. A lot of these Artists are listed in: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Wear-Julie-Schafler-Dale/dp/0896596648
    Contact me and I can connect you to some! How wonderful. Great project!

  11. Hello,

    I was just were emailed this post March 27 2014.. and # 9 Dina Schwartz is Dina Knapp she has a website: http://dinaknapp.com and an ETSY shop, https://www.etsy.com/shop/dinaknappartwear?ref=pr_shop_more Dina is friends with at least 3 others on your list..good luck Manita friend of Dina

  12. @Astra Thanks! I did end up finding out this information which I incorporated into an article: http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/2012/07/edgy-1970s-crochet-art-dina-schwartz-knapp/ I’m glad that you reached out, though, as I’m always happy to see that this information is still circling around and can lead me to new updates about all of these artists!!

  13. Pingback: Edgy 1970s Crochet Designers: Del Feldman |

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