Craft is an interesting word. Nowadays it’s used almost exclusively to mean making things with yarn or bits and bobs, as in, “Do you do crafting?” At least that’s the case here in the United States. Before, it denoted a skill in a trade, like stagecraft (either the skill of acting or building theater sets), or woodcraft (either strong survival skills, or wood working skills), or even witchcraft (skills of the arcane arts).
As with most words, craft has a long and varied history. Originally it meant strength, skill, or virtue… and has over time changed into the word we know today. According to Online Etymology:
craft (n.) :Old English cræft (West Saxon, Northumbrian), –creft (Kentish), originally “power, physical strength, might,” from Proto-Germanic *krab-/*kraf– (source also of Old Frisian kreft, Old High German chraft, German Kraft “strength, skill;” Old Norse kraptr “strength, virtue”). Sense expanded in Old English to include “skill, dexterity; art, science, talent” (via a notion of “mental power”), which led by late Old English to the meaning “trade, handicraft, calling,” also “something built or made.” The word still was used for “might, power” in Middle English.
I always find the evolution of a word fascinating. Look at how we’ve changed from crafting homes to crafting shawls and memory books. Is it a change in the wrong direction? Absolutely not. Change is change. It doesn’t matter if I prefer the old ways or not. It’s just change. It’s not wrong. It’s just different. That’s how I feel, that’s how I’ve always felt when it comes to language change. Even words that are slang. They’ll happen, and most of them will fade away. No one says Groovy anymore. You know? But I knew a lot of people who got butthurt about the word when it was popular.
But as I always say, and will continue to say, “Language changes.” The change doesn’t always stick, but it will change. Soon the old meanings will be forgotten and the new accepted. No one uses craft to mean strength, because that meaning is gone and forgotten except by those to research the history of words. I’m sure as the meaning changed, people of the time were beating their chests, gnashing their teeth, and pulling out their hair over the “new” meanings and how the language was being misused. Look at anyone who hears someone say anything wrong on the internet… it happens. But look us now. Craft is a fine word, and we like how comfortable we are with it. And on that note, I’m going to go crochet a bit, for that is my craft at the moment.
To be very clear, I’m talking about language here, and nothing else.