I’ve mentioned Mark Dittrick before because he’s the author of a vintage crochet book I adore, Hard Crochet. I thought it would be fun to explore a little bit more about this designer for my series on 1970s crochet artists.
Mark Dittrick was a leading crochet designer in the 1970s, bringing new types of crochet to the scene. His work was featured in the books of others and he authored /edited books as well. He met and married another crochet artist, Diane Kender. They went on to author non-crochet books together. I can’t be sure but I think that they’re both now working in environmental science today.
Dittrick In Creative Crochet
I first saw Dittrick’s work in his own book, Hard Crochet. However, I later saw that he was featured in Creative Crochet, a top crochet resource from the 1970s that was written six years before Dittrick’s own book. Dittrick only has one item featured in Creative Crochet, a hard crochet hat, which is something he ultimately became well known for. Creative Crochet says, “to make the tight stitches he says you have to put band-aids on your fingers and masking tape on your hook to avoid blisters”. That was the early days of hard crochet, an early version of what came to be known as tapestry crochet. We have better tools today so band-aids and masking tape are no longer necessary!
In 1978 Mark Dittrick authored Hard Crochet, a book all about a new type of crochet, which turned out to be what we know today as tapestry crochet. It’s a terrific early resource that shows how things were changing a lot in crochet around this time thanks to new yarns, new techniques and new technology. Read all about Hard Crochet here.
We see lots of Dittrick’s unique work in Hard Crochet including his signature crochet cowboy hats, a crochet tie, and a cute crochet heart that suggests a softer side to this Hard Crocheter! Fun fact: My copy of Hard Crochet says taht the book was selected by several book clubs and craft clubs.
Design Knitting and Crochet
Also in 1978 Dittrick was named as the editor of two books published by Hawthorne Books: Design Crochet and Design Knitting. I haven’t seen these books myself but it looks like they show off the work off a bunch of different designers from that era. Seems worth checking out as I continue to explore the work from the 1970s!
Collaborations with Susan Morrow
Mark Dittrick actually wrote Hard Crochet after co-authoring another crochet book, Contemporary Crochet. He wrote this book with Susan Morrow (who I’ll be profiling here on the blog next week!) Contemporary Crochet was actually written in 1972, the same year as Edson and Stimmel’s book, Creative Crochet. The book actually has one of Dittrick’s early hats right on the cover. I haven’t seen a copy of this vintage crochet book myself but Dittrick references it in Hard Crochet, mentioning that there were a few examples of the tighter “hard crochet” amidst a bunch of patterns for the crochet vests and scarves that were popular at that time.
An online search reveals that this Susan Morrow and Mark Dittrick also co-authored a book in 1973 called Patchwork: Plain and Fancy. I haven’t been able to find out any additional information about this other book, though.
Mark Dittrick and Diane Kender
Mark Dittrick also co-authored a couple of books with Diane Kender. Diane had work featured in Hard Crochet. I’m not sure how the two met but I can tell from her later name change that the two eventually married. In 1982 they co-authored a book under their married name called Decorative Hardware. In 1984 they co-authored another book called No Uncertain Terms that appears to be about writing. Two years later they authored a book called Misnomers which I believe may also have been on writing.
Mark Dittrick, Scientist?
I haven’t been able to find any information on work done by Mark Dittrick since those books were authored in the 1980s. What I did find was several mentions of someone with his name who works with the Sierra Club. I am pretty sure that this is the same guy. If so, he’s a cetacean specialist. Two things make me believe this is the same Mark Dittrick. First, it appears that Diane Kender Dittrick is now an environmental science faculty team member at Barnard and wouldn’t be a huge leap to think that if they both started in crochet, then both went on to author books together that if one got into science then so would the other. Second, the photo of him from this year’s Sierra Club article could certainly be an updated photo based on what he looked like in his author photo from Hard Crochet. Check it out:
UPDATE: Marie of Underground Crafter helped me out by doing some additional research. She was able to get in touch with Diane Kender. It turns out that Kender was married to Dittrick but they are now divorced. Dittrick is indeed now involved in environmental issues and that is him in the photos above. Thanks for the help Marie!