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.
Mark Dittrick was a leading crochet designer in the 1970s, bringing new types of crochet to the scene. There have been a lot of advances and changes in crochet since the 1970s, and now tapestry crochet, or “hard crochet,” as he called it, is a more common technique. At the time, though, Dittrick’s techniques for creating stiff crocheted fabric opened up a whole new world of crocheted items.
Below you can see a couple of items that can be made using the patterns and techniques in Hard Crochet.
Dittrick’s work was featured in the books of others and he authored and edited books as well. He met and married another crochet artist, Diane Kender. Together, they went on to author non-crochet books and then moved into the world of environmental science. How’s that for an exciting and well-rounded life?
Below, you can see some of the books that Dittrick authored or edited. While crochet patterns are easy to access online today, these books can still be such a great resource for learning about the craft, especially if you love vintage fashion!
1970s Crochet Designer Mark Dittrick
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.
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!
Also in 1978, Dittrick was named as the editor of two books published by Hawthorne Books: Design Crochet and Design Knitting. These books feature patterns and designs by designers who were fashionable in their era- definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of vintage 1970s fashion!
Mark Dittrick actually wrote Hard Crochet after co-authoring another crochet book, Contemporary Crochet, with Susan Morrow. 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, which gives you an excellent example of his style! Dittrick references this book 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 Susan Morrow and Mark Dittrick also co-authored a book in 1973 called Patchwork: Plain and Fancy.
Mark Dittrick also co-authored a couple of books with Diane Kender. Diane had work featured in Hard Crochet. The two later married, and in 1982 they co-authored the book Decorative Hardware, which takes a departure from crochet but stays in the crafting world. They also later co-authored two books about writing.
10 thoughts on “1970s Crochet Designer Mark Dittrick: All About His Work”
Interesting! I’m a Barnard alum – would you like me to do some snooping? I have Design Crochet and it is a pretty interesting book, too. I think you would like it.
@undergroundcrafter Your ears must have been ringing. I was actually going to email you about this one!! I would love to know what else you can find out, if anything. :) I’ve added Design Crochet and a few other new old books to my Amazon cart but I have to wait another for a new paycheck before I check out!
@CrochetBlogger I’ll let you know what I find out! And I know all about waiting for payday before buying cool stuff :).
He buscando por mucho tiempo el patron o molde del sombrero de vaquero en ganchillo duro y no lo consigo ! Seria tan amable ud de decirme como puedo obtenerlo ? Desde ya muchas gracias y que tenga una bonita jornada ! !
Such an interesting post. I found it fascinating. Thank you for taking time to write it. Well worth the read :)
I am so enjoying your archives-this one is super and I hope to find more info about this couple. Thank you for publishing as often as you do-You ARe Amazing.
a very interesting and detailed post about Mark Dittrick and his work. But I have a question: now that I own a copy of “Hard Crochet”, I´m looking for the right yarn. Do you have an idea, which type of yarn will beable to be super-blocked? Would be great to get some help. Thanks!
That’s a great question! I’m not sure of the answer but I’ll post it to social media and see if I get a response!
Posted for responses at: https://www.facebook.com/CrochetConcupiscence/posts/980199788668325
Hi Kathryn, I sould have gotten in touch way before now. I hope you re still doing this. I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Who would have thunk that a somewhat crazy–and definitely strange–book that’s probably older than you are would still be getting noticed and talked and written about. Do get in touch.