I took some time off to enjoy some time with my mother and my Grammie Gloria over the past few weeks; what a good time we had! :)
Prior to that I started going through my many, many emails -- I am amazed at how many inquiries for information on crochet machines I have received! I had left a quick blurb on my facebook account promising to address this topic here just as soon as I could, so let's discuss this topic today.
The answer is Yes. And the answer is No.
The first thing we need to address is the definition of crochet. As crocheters, or rather as "human crocheters," we define crochet as the act of using a single tool with a notch at the end to pull one loop through another, creating one stitch at a time. It is a simple definition, and for human hands with some experience, it is (mostly) a simple action to do.
Many knitting machines that exist today "knit" with a multitude of 'sticks with a notch at the end' to create the fabric by interlocking many loops/stitches at a time. This is not crochet. This is knit. And, these machines can be purchased for the home (simplified & affordable) and for the factories (huge & complex, and expensive!).
If you Google or Bing "crochet machines" on the Internet, you will find links to companies selling what they claim are actual crochet machines. However, if you look at the images of the finished products the machines create it is not in fact crochet. There are machines on the market that can create very simplistic crochet stitches, such as the crochet chain, and, based upon a discussion in the Crochet Partners group on Yahoo, it would be used for finishing touches found on items like curtains. These simplistic machines used for this purpose cost in excess of $10,000 US -- each!
The truth is, as simple as crochet can be for the human hands, it is too complex for machines to replicate. All those crochet goods you see in the retail stores were indeed manufactured BY HUMAN HANDS. The reason it is so inexpensive (aka, cheap) is because those human hands (& their owners) reside in third world countries.