The term “Camel™ Crochet” is the name given a technique in crochet. The term is used by author/designer Naka Pillman for a series of books which seem to be out-of-print. At the time of this writing, you can see the covers of the books at Pretty Impressive Stuff. They include the following titles: “Camel Crochet Basic Instruction Book”, Camel Crochet 2, Designs and Patterns”, “Camel Crochet for Babies”, “Camel Afghans #1”, and “Camel Afghans #2”.There may be more out there. But, these are all I could find. These books were available at a website called Lone Star Yarns, but that website is now out of business.
Since the initial writing of this article, it has come to my attention that the books are now available for download on Amazon HERE.
Naka Pillman, according to this website (written in April of 2009), is 90 years’ old and lives in South Africa. She has also written fictional books, apparently, “The African Cameo” being reviewed on the site.
I have been told that all copyrights to her books are owned by Valerie Thornton, but I don’t have anything official saying that. It is only word of mouth. I was able to find reference to Valerie Thornton as an editor of Naka’s books. And, Valerie taught a class on the subject at the 1996 Chain Link conference.
If you have been confused by the term, camel, the technique is not really a stitch, per se. It is the act of making the stitch in a different loop than you would when you normally crochet. For instance, when you make a single crochet, you would normally insert your hook under the top two loops, under the front loop or under the back loop. But, in what has been called a “short double crochet” in Europe, you insert your hook under the horizontal bar which is located below the top loops in the back of the stitch. This causes the top two loops to bend over, thereby producing what looks a bit like the stockinette stitch in knitting. It is my understanding that the designs in Naka’s books are made from stitch patterns she created in this method of crochet.
Since camel crochet isn’t a stitch but rather a technique, the actual technique can be done with any crochet stitch by working into the back-back loop of the stitch, causing the top two loops to be pushed to the front of the work.
I have used this technique in several designs, mostly for different magazines, but I have one available on my website HERE.
The term “Camel™ Crochet” is (or was) a trademarked term and can only be used by the author/publisher in the books. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to find patterns using the technique since there is no universal name for it. However, I have several designs published using the term “short single crochet” and I’ve used that term in my patterns for about 20 years. In the last five years, another term has surfaced on the internet: third loop. Third Loop Single Crochet and Short Single Crochet are interchangeable at this time. Either term will work as long as you define the stitch in your stitch definitions.
As I understand, there is some controversy about Camel™ Crochet and the ownership of the books and trademark.
My investigation has revealed that several books were published, starting in 1990, all credited to Naka Pillman. They were published by N.S.D. Products. As is customary for a publisher/editor, Gordon Goss registered the trademark in 1990. It was cancelled in 1998 and I find no further re-registation (although it could be registered and I couldn’t find it). Anything further would be pure speculation on my part. I know nothing about the “goings on” between the editor/pubisher and the author. That is not my concern in writing this page. This page is solely for informational purposes.