HNW - Irish crochet newbie

Lynn Downward ldownward at
Tue Jan 2 15:12:44 PST 2001


I can answer this one!!

I encourage you to try something.  Start small.

I made Irish crochet clothing for myself years ago and have played with
small bits over the past few years (hair ribbon bows, Christmas ornaments).
There are some beautiful patterns out there for most anything you could
want.  There are some basic Dover reprints (all at home, I'm sorry) that
will give you a million versions of the basic rose, leaf stem medallion
patterns and show you how to connect them to make what you want.  I used an
Irish lace granny square-type pattern for the over-tunic for my 1976
wedding dress, very traditional AND very unconventional.  Evidentally (from
the Dover reprints I have) one would make the medallions/roses/whatever,
and baste them down onto paper or fabric and then crochet from one design
to another in specific or non-specific patterns so there was a fabric that
was capable of being made into the jacket or bodice or whatever was
desired.  One of my books shows a bodice and walking skirt from about 1900
all in Irish lace.  Mind boggling!

I found that as long as I kept to the gauge required things went well.  No,
it doesn't need to be worked tight.  It's very time consuming and very easy
to work from a pattern until you "get it", then go on your own merry way.

I loved the time I spent making Irish crochet.  It's soothing and beautiful
and so few people off this type of list ever try to make it people feel you
must be part goddess to be able to accomplish it.  The 3-dimensionality of
it is really quite exciting as it works out in your hands.

Enjoy it!

>I've always had this fantasy about making an Irish crochet garment like the
>antique ones I can't afford, which are fragile and irreplaceable, and which
>don't fit me anyway.  A few days ago, at a thrift store, I found a cone of
>size 60 three-ply cotton thread, which said it had 19,200 yards (17556
>metres) of thread on it.  Saturday I bought a size 13 (0.70) crochet hook.
>Last night I determined that I could really start from a chain at that
>gauge, and that I'm going to need a magnifier to see what I'm doing.  (I
>guess I've got no excuses now.)
>First question:
>I guess what I want here is some encouragement.  I've never done crochet as
>small as Irish crochet before.  Does the gauge have to be really tight, or
>does it just have to be even for whatever gauge it is?  Is it really
>difficult, or merely time consuming?  (Time I've got, and plenty of thread.)
>Second question:
>Must I do only traditional patterns, or is there a historical precedent for
>innovation?  I want my garment to look more Art Nouveau or American Arts
>and Crafts (Stickley, etc.) than the garments I have seen.  Did 'they' do
>Irish crochet in those styles?  Has anyone seen historical examples of
>Irish crochet which uses non-traditional or innovative patterns?
>For purposes of my making a garment I can wear, 'they' can be anywhere from
>1860 to 1920.  If the Hippies did non-traditional Irish crochet, they did
>it out of yarn, in a gauge big enough to see.
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