Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Antique of the Week--Look into the Past!

From Jennifer at  "Dating to around 1910, this is an unfinished Irish crochet lace collar, still stitched to the blue fabric and paper with hand drawn pencil guidelines. The large motifs have been completed, and the joining lace tracery has just been begun.  The inner collar measurement is approximately 44cm, and the outer edge is 88cm. It is 10cm deep." 

Here is a full view of the collar.  As Jennifer noted above, the motifs are stitched to a fabric collar shape, and then basted to a paper backing.  Do you think that the fabric shape was a "pattern piece"?  One that they saved and re-used for other collars?  Note how she laid out the motifs in a symmetrical pattern, with the pomegranates thistles at both ends, then working inwards, the daisies, the swirling shamrock, the next swirling flower (what is that?) and centered with the elaborate, three dimensional Irish rose.  Two types of wheels would frame the face. 

Here is a great view of joining in progress!  Can you tell if she started on the outer cord, and worked her way towards the motif, or the opposite?  You can see that the motif is right-side-up.  We had questions about motif placement after watching the Russian style of Irish Crochet.  Do you join your work with the motifs face down or face up?  The Russians usually do it face down.  Maire Treanor does it face up, as she wants the Clones Knots to be on top of the work.  This person worked face up as well.

I wonder why this was never finished?
You can see the pencil tracing on the paper here on the outer edge of the collar, where the maker was going to put the edging.  See the little triple arcs along the upper left and lower left edges?

You also get a great view of the cord that was basted to the paper, outlining the collar and giving her something to anchor the joining ground to.  -posted by Kim


From Eileen:  "I have observed that most of the motifs are contained in Vol 1 of the Hardouin series-all except the small wheel and flower.
Le Chardon-Thistle-no.20 Les trois Spirales no 13 La Marguerite no 18 L’Helice no 1(The Propellor)
Forgot to check on the rose but was common to have 10 or more petals with more than 3 layers of petals.
It is interesting to note the use of cord to form the outline of the collar.  I know that the lace made at Oriveto (Italy) uses the outline method from the needlepoint laces and the maker crochets over it to form the motifs.
In the background of the photos the invoice has a French Address.
It seems to me the maker of this was drawing upon techniques she was familiar with.
The direction of the small area of ground worked in the double picoted loop begins on the short edge and is worked towards the centre.  Not a direction I would have chosen for me it would have been more pleasing to the eye to begin at the base line and proceed towards the neckline, (like the centre outwards of a circle-have said this one lots before.)

No hard and fast rules have been written for these things in the end they are personal choice."

Friday, April 20, 2012

IC Tips-Hook and Thread Size Guide

Chart from Maire Treanor’s book “Clones Lace”, currently available from her website:
Thread          Hook              Irish-UK     US
#10               1.50mm              10            12
#20               1.0 or 1.25mm    12            13
#40               0.75mm              13            13 
#60               0.60mm              14            14 
#80               0.50mm              15            15 
#100             0.50 or 0.40mm   16            16
This is for general guidance. Always be ready to change your hook size to suit your individual tension and the motif you are making. Irish crochet, unlike many other forms of crochet, looks its best when worked to a firm tension.
“All the stitches in Irish lace must be firm and even, loose or ragged crochet makes inferior lace, wanting in crispness”, Needlecraft No 21, published by Manchester School of Embroidery. This is from the Introduction which has some useful tips on Irish crochet and is available for free download
from pages, Irish Crochet Lovers Group on Ravelry

Translation-Hardouin, Volume 2, No. 27, La Feuille de Marguerite

US Terms

This motif is worked entirely on the PC in the back loops.

(making the leaves counter-clockwise from the bottom right leaf, this is all in one piece.  You are working a little hidden stem behind the leaf first, which is not visible in the final piece, then building the leaf from the center out.  You continue making part of the visible stem each time you finish a leaf.)

32 sc on the PC, turn, skip the first 2 stitches, make 15 stitches going down the next stitches, and 5 stitches in the 16th.  Make 12 stitches going back up the other side of the stitches you just worked into.  You will be working in the base 2 loops of those sc.  Your 12 stitches should be just opposite the decending stitches.

Make 2 stitches on the PC, turn and skip 2 stitches, sc down 14 stitches,
[these stitches make the tip (seal the tip)] –not sure what this means.  I take it to mean to slipstitch the turning stitch down onto your little stem.

5 stitches in the next stitch. Then continue to rotate around your area and go up the other side with 14 stitches, two stitches on the cord, turn

Go down 16 stitches, always skipping the first 2, making 5 stitches in the 17th, and go back up 13 stitches.
Turn with 2 stitches on the cord, skip 2, go down 15 stitches, 5 in the 16th, go back up 15 stitches.
Turn with 2 stitches on the cord, skip 2, go down 17 stitches, 5 st in 18th, go up 14 sts.
Turn with 2 stitches on the cord, skip 2, down 16, 5 in the 17th, up 18,
Turn with 2 stitches on the cord, skip 2,  and go to the bottom of the leaf until the 21st stitch.

Make another stitch in the 21st, and hook at the same time the first of the remaining stitches on the tip of the cord under the leaf.

This leaf is the first on the bottom right, the other four leaves are made in the same way.

Stem:  La Tige
After the leaf make 65 stitches on the cord, make the second leaf, go 6 stitches down on the stem.
40 stitches on the cord, make the top leaf, go down 8 stitches on the stem.
38 stitches on the cord, make the fourth leaf, 6 stitches on the stem of the leaf, then 20 more stitches along the main stem.
38 stitches on the cord,  5th leaf, go down 6 stitches for the leaf’s stem.
For the bottom of the stem:  30 stitches on the cord, turn and go back up those stitches, stopping when you meet the base of the first leaf stem

It is not necessary to always make the entire branch, you can make just 2 or 3 leaves as you wish.
Translation by Kim

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Irish Textile Book List

Orla (stitchlily on Rav) has a blog and has posted a very comprehensive book list that you might find intriguing!  She writes:  

"Here is a collection of books or articles specifically on Irish Textiles I have come across so far. It includes historical and technical books, journal articles, and anything else I could find!"   

She also notes that she (and many other Ravelers) have the Japanese Book, Irish Crochet Lace and they find it quite useful.  Pomadour24 is a seller on eBay and Etsy, and she is a great resource for Japanese crochet books.


One of our newer members of the Ravelry Irish Crochet Lovers Group had some tension issues on her first motifs.  She is sharing her experience in order to help other beginners.  Thanks Christina!

Christina:  I’m very new when it comes to Irish lace so I wanted to make sure my tension is right. Thanks for the help

Kim (frankiedavis)'s reply:  I’m thinking you want to be tighter, with a smaller hook, and maybe a not very stretchy thread. usually when I am joining a sc into a previous round, I go through both loops of the stitch. I use the back loop only for rows or places where I want a defining line. But for joining with one stitch, you want a little more strength, and using 2 loops will also prevent that one loop from stretching out. Hope this helps!

Christina:  so I made the suggested changes so does this look right? Or do I need to go down another needle size?

Lori (loriart):  It looks really nice to me! You are using hooks not needles? Then you can block them, get them wet, pat them in a towel and lay out flat to dry. You can pin them to a perfect shape then too.

Christina:  My first attempt at a shamrock it isn’t beautiful but not awful for my first attempt

Kim:  If you make a ring (buttony) and sew it in the center, it would be perfect!

If you need help, just ask on Rav!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Antique of the Week--Large Edwardian Collar

This beautiful collar is from Ebay seller adtjmd.  The seller has kindly shared these pictures with us!  The collar is an "antique hand made Edwardian Irish crochet lace collar in a rich cream...  Features an ornate dimensional floral motif showcasing a variety of multi-petaled flowers, some of which are 5-tiered, and finished off with a scalloped edge all around with dimensional florets scattered along the edge of the entire front panel...  Spans ~19in wideX20in long, with the front measuring ~16in vertically, neckline measuring ~14in, and finished all around."  Double click on pictures to enlarge.
Detail of front flower

Lower front of collar.  Note the added detail of the vine making a figure-eight as it winds down to the large rose.

Neck front

Side view.  I love the roses climbing up the side of the neck!

 Back--it's as elaborate as the front!

 Detail of back

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Modern Lace-Mountain Gold

In our "Modern Lace" posts, we will feature current trends in Irish crochet, and new or inspired uses for traditional techniques.  Our first post is by Fatima L., who has designed the gorgeous necklace below.

“Mountain Gold” is one of five crochet jewelry patterns that I designed to explore the idea of the small crocheted motif and simple hand sewing. The motifs in “Mountain Gold” are sewn together to become an adornment for the neck.

I am quite fond of combining sewing with crocheting, something that I learned through reading antique publications on Irish Crochet. I find that sewn joins have useful rigidity and can be adjusted to desired flatness or curvature of the crocheted fabric. While there are specific sewing techniques for seaming such as whip stitch and mattress stitch, I often improvise, taking into account the direction and tension of sewing and the effect these have on the fabric.

The leaves in “Mountain Gold” are similarly inspired by Irish Crochet motifs, in particular, the leaves employed in Lula M. Harvey’s “Wild Rose Design.”

“Mountain Gold” may be found at

The Priscilla Irish Crochet Book, A Collection of New and Original Designs with Stitches and Lessons for Working by Lula M. Harvey, published in 1912.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Translation-Hardouin Volume 6, Lace with 3 Motifs, Carnation

IC Abbreviations
pc = padding cord (also known as packing cord)
p = picot ( here, 5ch 1dc in same stitch)
Make 15ch,
skip 1st ch, dc in rest (14dc).
Pick up pc, and work round the “baguette” (i. e. bottom section) with 14 dc on each side and 5dc into the lower point, 1dc into the upper point.

1st Central loop:  work 25dc on the pc alone. Pull on the cord to form the central loop (see picture) and join to flower with 1dc in the same stitch at the top end of the baguette, then 1 dc in next 2 stitches.
2nd loop: make 36dc on the pc alone, turn and join with 1st into the 2nd st after the central loop, curving it to look as in picture.
Turn, go back round loop, working in back loop of stitches and making picots:
(6dc, p) x 5, 6dc.
Make a 2nd row of dc all round the baguette, still using pc, and with 3dc at the point.
Flower petal 1:  make 25dc on pc alone, tighten cord and join with 1 stitch between the first and second picots.
Petals 2, 3, 4:  make 21dc on pc alone, tighten cord and join between picots.
Petal 5:  make 25dc on pc alone, tighten cord, and join between loop and flower base.
Continue round baguette, in back loop of stitch:  (4dc, p) x 3, 4dc.
Stem:  45dc on pc alone, return with dc in back loop of stitch, tighten pc slightly to give a curve to the stem.
Continue round other side of baguette:  (4dc, p) x 3, 4dc 
Work round the 5 petals:
st and last petals:  4dc, (p, 5dc) x 4, 4dc
Skip the last stitch of the petal as well as the joining st and the 1
st of the next petal, and tighten the pc a little after each petal.
Round the 3 other petals work 3dc, (p, 4dc) x 3, p, 3dc
After the 5th petal cut and finish ends.
--by Sally M.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Antique of the Week

Here is another piece shared by Myra W.  She purchased these cuffs the same time as the collar from last week.

This next photo shows how TINY the stitches are!  The pin is on one of the shamrock motifs.  Thank you Myra for the great pictures!

Remember, if you have any antiques you would like to share, send them to us at

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lace Comparison

I've noticed that many of our favorite Irish Crochet motifs are echoed in other types of lace.  Irish Crochet was offered up as a lower cost alternative to the luxurious, expensive lace made in other parts of Europe.  Once you start looking, you see repeated motifs everywhere!  I found two pieces of lace that share design elements with one of my favorite Irish Crochet lace braids.

This braid is found in the DMC Irish Crochet Lace book, by Therese Dillmont.  It is Plate II, using figures 20, 50 and 75 to make it.  If you go to the Antique Pattern Library look down under "D" for the pdfs.  This braid is in pdf no. 2.  The figures are in pdf no. 1.

The example on the left looks like a tatting piece is crochet, and the one on the right looks to be machine made lace.  All three designs share the repeated ring-in-a-circle motif, laid out in a linear fashion.
Thanks to eBay sellers chpv and snakey03rr for permission to use their images!