HNW - Irish Crochet

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Wed Jan 3 11:37:42 PST 2001

All this encouragement and I'm still nervous.  Well, nothing for it but to
go practice leaves.  The good ones can go on the front, and the ugly ones
can go under the arms.

>I found it very important to match the needle size and 
>thread size, too.  Irish crochet can look anemic if done with thread that's 
>too small for the needle, or clunky and ungraceful if too large a thread is 

So I went to Lacis and got my crochet hook there, where I could have Katie
Kliot look at the sample as I was trying out their hooks on my thread.  She
gave me a couple of pointers too.  That's where I bought the Ondori-like
Irish crochet book.  And I looked at all the Irish crochet pieces they had
for sale.

>Like many other types of work predicated on assembling small units, Irish 
>crochet doesn't feel as time consuming as one might think.  There are lots 
>of stop and admire points and incremental milestones as the various small 
>motifs are finished.

I was counting on that factor.  I think I will spend all this year of
19th/20th century living history events carrying around a little bag of
thread and finished sprigs.

>The most advanced/highest skilled part of the work was the 
>formation of the picot ground in which the sprigs were set.

I may do something in yarn with roses and leaves and picot ground for
practice.  But least I've figured out how to do those annoying little picots.

>"Old Time Needlework" (one of the 
>old White Birches magazines.)  The original collar pattern was first 
>circulated shortly after 1900.  

Those are cool.  I also have some of their filet crochet reprints.  The
company is, alas, long gone.

>As to style variants - I've seen some very 1910-ish, and 1920-ish, and 
>1930s-ish adaptations of Irish styles.  Simplification, and more geometric 
>lines are mostly what sets them apart from the earlier stuff.  To my 
>untrained eye, the earlier work seems to be more evocative of other lace 
>styles, and more exuberant.

I think it was invented to copy other styles of lace, which it does very well.

I want to inject a little of the style of the period of the garment into
the style of the crochet itself.  But mostly I'm trying to avoid the 'floor
sweepings' look which much Irish crochet has.  I want my motifs to be
stylistically related to each other, rather than randomly scattered around
and only relating to each other by the mesh of the ground.  One of my Dover
books has pieces which do this.  Darn - it looks like a trip to the storage
locker for me.


Cool!  My sweetie has a T-1 line, so I'm saving the links everyone has sent
for viewing this weekend.  Meanwhile, it's probably time to dig my own
collection out of storage, when I go there for my books and my magnifying lamp.

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