Saturday, August 3, 2013

Translation--Petite Dentelle Courante

Thank you to Spideog (her Ravelry name) for giving us this translation for the lovely trimming, Petite Dentelle Courante.  The pattern is from Album de Guipure d'Irlande (Deuxieme Volume), Mme G. Hardouin.  The original is available at the following link, (page 41 of the pdf):

Photo from Hardouin, Vol.2

All picots are made on 5ch, with slip stitch into base of 1st stitch.

Start off with a base of 16 chain. Turn.

The pattern is worked over a 5 row repeat.

Row 1: 2 chain, picot, 6 chain, picot, 2 chain, slip stitch to 6th stitch before the 1st picot (that is, the 13th chain of the base row). 2 chain, picot, 2 chain, picot, 2 chain and slip stitch to the 7th chain of the base row. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain and slip stitch to the 1st chain of the base row. Turn.

Row 2: 2 chain, picot, 6 chain, picot, 2 chain, slip stitch to middle of first loop of previous row, before the picot. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain, slip stitch to middle of 2nd loop of previous row, between the 2 picots. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain, slip stitch to 3rd loop of previous row, between the 2 picots. Turn.

Row 3: 2 chain, picot, 6 chain, picot, slip stitch to middle of 1st loop of previous row, before the picot. Next make the fan as follows: 7 chain, slip stitch to middle of 2nd loop, before picot. Turn. 1 chain, 10 treble over the 7 chain. Turn. 3 chain, 1 treble into 1st stitch of previous row, 1 chain, 1 treble into 3rd stitch, 1 chain, 1 treble into 5th stitch, 1 chain, 1 treble into 7th stitch, 1 chain, 1 treble into 9th stitch, 1 chain, 1 treble into 10th stitch (the last stitch). Continue row by 2 chain, picot, 2 chain and 1 treble into middle of 3rd loop in row 2. Turn.

Row 4: 2 chain, picot, 6 chain, picot, 2 chain, slip stitch into 1st loop of the fan. 2 chain, picot, 2 chain, picot, 2 chain, slip stitch to the 5th loop of the fan. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain, slip stitch to the last loop of the previous row, between the two picots. Turn.

Row 5: 2 chain, picot, 6 chain, picot, 2 chain, slip stitch to middle of first loop of previous row, before the picot. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain, slip stitch to middle of 2nd loop of previous row, between the 2 picots. 2 chain, picot, 5 chain, slip stitch to 3rd loop of previous row, between the 2 picots. Turn.

Continue to repeat rows 1-5, until work measures desired length. 
(For 2nd and subsequent repeats of row 1, slip stich into the middle of the loops of the previous row, instead of the base row of chains.)

When the desired length of lace is made, work a footing row along one side of the lace made up of single trebles, separated by 3 chains. Turn. 2 chain. Into each arc of 3 chains of the previous row, work 4 double crochet, skipping over the treble columns.

On the second side of the lace, work a footing row, again of single trebles separated by 3 chains. (Aim to have a multiple of 3 arcs). Turn. 
* Into the first arc, work 4 double crochet. 
Into the 2nd arc, work 2 double crochet, picot, 2 double crochet. 
Into the 3rd arc, work 3 double crochet. Turn. 
8 chain and slip stitch into 3rd double crochet worked into the first arc (the furthest away). Turn. 
Over the 8 chain loop work 3 double crochet, picot, 3 double crochet, picot, 3 double crochet, picot, 3 double crochet, picot, 3 double crochet. 
Then continue the row by 1 double crochet into the space left at the end of the 3rd arc of the footing row.**

Continue from * to ** .

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lacis Diaries--Part One

Hello!  It's workshop time!  I am attending Maire Treanor's Irish Crochet Master Class at Lacis in Berkeley, CA, USA.  She is hosting a four-day class, and has come fresh from her first workshop in Seattle.  This is my third visit to Maire's Lacis workshop.  The first two visits were one-day events for me, but this year I am attending all four days!  In class we are about 12 students.  Half are new to the workshop and the other half are repeat offenders, like me.  It's nice to sit with some familiar faces!  The new students are all so nice and I am having a great time chatting with them.

Class time!
Maire and some of the other students brought antique pieces to share and learn from.  I've already found a new-to-me motif that I'd like to replicate.  I'll share that one later.  Maire was showing her collection, and I was VERY excited when she brought out the cover doily from Eithne D'Arcy's book!  She knew Eithne, and was able to learn from her before Eithne passed.  The doily was so beautiful in real life.  The pictures don't do it justice.  

The Cover Doily

Detail of Cover Doily.  It is silk ecru.

Butterfly Opera Bag
A second surprise was when Rosemary pulled out this lovely
Opera Bag.  She found it in an antique store, and lo and behold,
she also found it in the Pricilla book!  Seems like an industrious
lady from the early 20th century followed her pattern just right.

I am having such a wonderful time at the workshop!  I'll share the
progress on my projects soon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tip- Rein in That Unruly PC!

Maire Treanor recommends using no more than a couple feet of PC at a time, because longer lengths can get in the way of your work.  I agree, but sometimes I find that even 2 feet of PC can be unruly!  Sally has given us a wonderful tip to quickly contain your pesky PC.  Thank you to Sally!  You are a genius!  She uses a small hair clip to keep her PC in order.
Use a hair clip to contain your PC.

If you don't have a clip, you can tie a little skein.  I think some people call it a butterfly.  Not as easy as Sally's method but it works too.

Wind yarn around fingers.

Here is your wound PC, a baby skein.
Place working thread behind skein, leaving a loop.

Using working thread, pull up a loop over front of skein and through loop just made.

Pull this thread UP to tighten.  Not the working end.

Tah-dah!  Pull the working thread to un-do.  It's basically a slip-knot over the skein.

Do you have a tip or trick to make your IC work go more smoothly?  Let us know!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Antique of the Week--Gorgeous Gown

I love Pinterest!  I found this gorgeous gown there, and traced back to the original website: .  I'll definitely be back on that site for an extended visit!  The gown is dated at 1910, and, according to the site, has been sold.  I'm guessing it's made of cotton.  It is nice how they showed it with white underneath, and also with black, so we can really see the pattern.  The more I look at this gown, the more I am amazed!  There are so many great design details in this one dress.

Front and back views

This bodice is what first drew me to the dress.  I love symmetry, which is not always a feature of Irish Crochet.  I also was really intrigued by the use of the square motifs down the front of the bodice.  These are usually seen sewn together in a row and used as a long piece of lace along a hem or perhaps put together for a collar or cuffs.  I've not seen them integrated into a garment in this way.  I love it!  The long leaf stems that extend down both sides of the bodice would be quite slimming, and are a lovely detail, speaking to my need for balance.

Bodice detail

The neckline on the dress has small flowers with dangling beads hanging from the center of each flower.  Beautiful!  And no need for a necklace.

Neckline detail

The skirt of the gown is equally as beautiful as the bodice.  It features an overall lace pattern, divided by the long leaf stems that come down from the shoulders.  There are some large flowers at the center of the skirt, below where the square motifs end.

Bottom of skirt

Hem detail

More skirt detail.  There are three-dimensional motifs throughout the dress.
Detail on skirt
I keep seeing more and more elements of IC that I would like to use in future projects.  How about a modern-day sweater with the beaded flower neckline?  Or a t-shirt style top in IC with the square motifs set down the center?   Needless to say, I love this gown!
direct link to more photos of this gown

Monday, April 29, 2013

Modern Love--Kim's Shamrock Piece

Shamrocks from Priscilla and D'Arcy books
This little piece of Irish Crochet seemed like it would never be finished!  It started out as just the shamrock motifs.  I was planning to make a top or blouse but used No. 10 thread for the shamrocks, and thought they were a little big for what I had in mind.  The border that you see there (from a Priscilla book) was going to be a waist decoration.  It just wasn't working out so when the IC Lovers group on Ravelry had a backgrounds CAL (crochet-a-long) in October 2012, I was happy to use the shamrocks for that.  I had to make more, but once I got the layout designed, the filling in went pretty quickly.  I made the center first, with the close mesh, and then did the Clones Knots working from the center out to the edges.  I can see where I changed direction but overall I'm happy with finishing this!  I think I will make it into a pillow.

Clones Knots as taught by Maire Treanor

Flowers in the center border are from Duplet

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The following excerpt is from "The Ladies' Complete Guide to Crochet, Fancy Knitting and Needlework" by Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, and was published in 1854, in the US.  It's an interesting view of crochet in an historical context. ~~Kim

"Crochet Work proper is, in its present improved form, almost a modern invention.  It has only been introduced to any extent into this country within the last twenty years, but now it is very general, and our old-fashioned knitting work is completely thrown into the back ground by the Crochet needle.  The embroidered sheath and chased silver needle-case have disappeared even from the cherry-wood workstands of New England, and a thousand beautiful designs for chairs, cushions, toilets and wearing apparel, supply the place of the old-fashioned stocking basket with its well mended contents.  In England and Ireland, where the ladies are always industrious, Crochet work has arisen to the dignity of an art.  It is introduced into the national schools, and hundreds of poor are supported by the rich laces and pretty collars produced there.

It is quite wonderful to what perfection this art has reached in some districts of Ireland.  Every day develops new improvements and contributes some novel pattern to the world, which promises to render this class of lace making more popular than even the English point, has been, especially on this side of the Atlantic.  At the Crystal Palace this year, some specimens of Crochet collars, sleeves, and even entire dresses, were exhibited that had all the rich effect of old point lace.  Flowers, even raised in petals from the ground work, have been invented, and the most intricate patterns are given with a boldness of effect only to be found in the ancient lace we have mentioned.

Thus it is pleasant to see that what was late only a dainty accomplishment with which the gentlewoman idled away her time, promises to become a means of support to the working classes."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thread Heaven at Lacis

I made a little trip up to Berkeley (California) last week and stopped in at Lacis for some shopping and inspiriation.   I browsed through many hooks, just getting one old standby--the Boye steel number 12.  I seem to use and lose this one more than most!  Of course, there were many types of white and ecru threads, including egyptian cotton and one hundred percent linen.  I just thought I'd share the colorful shelves of Lizbeth threads with you.  So many colors!  This is a view of about half the aisle, and there is another aisle on the other side with DMC and other types of thread.  I bought some Lizbeth in burnt orange, in number 10 and number 40.  I really exercised some self control here!!!

Colorful, wonderful thread at Lacis, in Berkely

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Modern Love--Mirto's Skirt

Mirto's skirt, modeled by her daughter
Last month I walked into Stitches West (a fiber convention with classes and shopping here in the US), and right away I saw a woman wearing an amazing, colorful, crocheted skirt.  It was made in the Russian style of Irish Crochet and I stopped and complimented her on her skirt.  After I walked away, I thought, "hmmm, she looked familiar" so I went back and asked if we knew each other.  We did!  It was Mirto.  We had met in 2011 at Maire Treanor's Irish Crochet Workshop at Lacis!  It turned out we were both taking Myra Wood's awesome class on creative crochet shawls.  We spent the day together and promised to meet again.  She is very kind to share her process and photos with us here on the blog!

As a template, Mirto used a skirt that was flattering to her figure.  She started with the waist band sizing.  She wanted it to hang just below the waist.  She used a repetitive rhythmic design that she improvised as she went along.  She pinned her motifs right side up, and used Garden 5 Nazli Gelin yarn, Crystal Palace Panda Silk, and Araucania Lonco in reds.

She wanted to keep the motifs in a repetitive pattern until she got below the hips.  Her design at the waist of repeating small motifs is a very flattering design and creates interest without distracting from the pattern below at the hemline.

Mirto created nine gores (sections of the skirt).  In each section she placed a leaf pattern with a long stem leading to the hem.  She wiggled the stems, which she created with the Romanian cord method, so they had pleasing contours.  She placed her motifs in between the stems.  Mirto says it took her 4 hours to connect all the motifs of the first gore.  The subsequent gores ended up taking about 2 hours each to join.

Creating the sections and placing the lower motifs.

The skirt in progress, placed over the slip with which it is to be worn.

After she finished the body of the skirt, she added a bit more to the waist line, tapering it in a little, and adding a thin elastic cord.  I love how the hemline is irregular, following the contours of the motifs.

The finished skirt.  Amazing!

Modeled again by her lovely daughter!

Mirto writes, "It probably took me about a month to do. I set myself up for a deadline to show it at the 2012 Reno CGOA/TKOA fashion show-and nearly didn't make it!!"

Mirto, thank you again for sharing your beautiful skirt with us!  Do any of you have any projects you would like to share?  Please email me if you do!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Better late than never to wish you all a happy day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Retro-Vintage Irish Crochet Wedding Dress

 So many of us have items of crochet or other antique linens passed down from our grandmothers, but do you have anything like this? 
Naimh on her wedding day.

Niamh Colfer is a Crochet Crafter and Designer based on the Hook Peninsula in south east Ireland. Her grandmother, Eileen O’Leary, taught her to crochet form the age of seven.You can find more information on her business “Hook Crochet” at:  Thank you, Naimh, for sharing your story with us! ~~Kim

Naimh writes:

On September 21st 2012, I got married :) and I wore my grandmother’s wedding dress, which she wore for her wedding in September of 1959. It is a ballet length long sleeved dress of white Irish crochet. The circular skirt is trimmed with sprays of Irish crocheted roses and leaves falling from the waist to hemline. The bodice is trimmed with sprays of Irish crochet and the waist is encircled by roses. The unique touch about this lies in the fact that the entire outfit (and two bridesmaids dresses) were crocheted and made up by my great grandmother who completed this labour of love in just four months. The "Model Housekeeping" magazine at the time described it as "One of the prettiest weddings this summer".

To complement the dress, I crocheted an exquisite headpiece, a purse, compact mirror cover, shoe accessories and ring cushion, as well as the bridesmaids’ headpieces, the groomsmen buttonhole flowers and of course, the groom’s buttonhole flower. The table centres were bottles painted gold and covered with crochet lace motifs which I made and collected over the past couple of years.

Sadly, my Grandmother passed away in October 2011. For her funeral, as a tribute, I crocheted a lace flower for everyone in the family to wear on their lapel.

Dress detail.

Eileen O'Leary in her dress
Naimh's ring bearer pillow
Naimh's IC accented shoes

Monday, February 25, 2013

A True Collaboration--Part 2

In our last post we had many photos of our little motifs that we had made for the Simone Handbag Museum project, along with Sallyl's account of how the project all started.  Today, I have a couple more photos of close-ups of some of the motifs that Pat made, and also, her first-hand account of the joining of the motifs for the mannequin!  Thank you, Pat, for sharing your amazing experience with us.  ~Kim

Pat's lizard

From Pat:  My trips up to Putney to Rosie’s workstudio started on March 20th 2012 when I went to discuss with her the joining up of the motifs which had nearly all arrived by then. We did, at that first meeting, do a preliminary assembly on the mannequin but it was a week later that I went up and collected the sleeve with the motifs already tacked onto calico which had been shaped to the arm. I took this piece home and worked on it there using a mesh stitch in #100 thread. Motifs on the sleeve included a dragonfly, a butterfly and my favourite flower, the fuschia. I worked around and under these so that the dragonfly’s tail and upper wings were free as I did with the butterfly’s head and antennae. The cup part of the fuschia flower and the upper leaves were also left free.

Each morning I took photographs of the work so far and sent them on to Rosie to see if it was coming out as she wanted it – Like a Walk in a Meadow, as she put it. When finished I took the sleeve to her and was very pleased to see how well it looked on the mannequin’s arm. Once fitted, I crocheted the little roses by the fingers.

I went home with the bodice, again with the motifs already tacked onto the calico for me by one of Rosie’s helpers, so I could start the filling in immediately. For motifs such as the lily of the valley I worked around each bell and stem leaving them free (when Rosie packed them up for the journey to Seoul she put stuffing into each little bell).

I am pleased to say that, apart from a couple of times, I did not have to undo much of the work. If I was not happy with a part I would leave it, go onto another section of the piece and then, going back, it seemed to work straight away. Once again I sent photographs each morning to show Rosie how things were progressing.

When finished I took the bodice back to London and, when pinned onto the mannequin, it did look lovely, each motif standing out to make, in my mind, a fairy garden in a magical web. The only part I was not happy with was my dear little lizard, but Rosie wove her magic (even this took time) and she got his legs into the correct position. I was pleased to meet Judith one day at Rosie’s and to hear how pleased she was with all the Ravelry team’s work.

Rosie also asked if I could make a narrow braid to go onto the beautiful hand embroidered organza and the lapels of the 1920s jacket – see illustration on page 214 of Judith’s book. I did so and the braid was done in #100 thread and I did one complete row of double crochet (US single) and then another with picots every fifth stitch. The organza was so fine that to hem it would have looked wrong but the braid just finished it off.

I felt quite lost when all the work was finished, as you can all imagine, but my thanks go to Rosie and everyone for the support given to me. It was a unique experience and I shall probably never get to Seoul to see the finished work!!

Pat's ferns

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A True Collaboration

"Our" mannequin, from the blog, secretlifeofmannequins also from the book,
"Handbag: The Making of a Museum" by Judith Clarke
One year ago, some of the members on the Irish Crochet Lovers forum read a post from Rosie Taylor-Davies.  She quietly requested help in making some Irish Crochet motifs for a project in which she was involved.  Little did we know that our humble motifs would become part of a beautiful museum piece.

Sally tells of how she originally connected Rosie to the group:

"What happened was that one morning in February last year, I had just returned from the supermarket and was putting away the shopping when the phone went. It was a very unusual phone call from someone I had never met or heard of - Rosie Taylor Davies. She carefully explained her background as a former head of the Royal School of Needlework in London. (By the way, they produced the lace for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress!).

Rosie went on to say that she was phoning me because of a recommendation from a member of the Knitting & Crochet Guild whom I had taught at an Irish Crochet workshop a few years before.

We talked for ages about Irish Crochet - and it became clear how interested in it Rosie is, though she hasn’t done any - she knows the Priscilla book through and through - it felt quite weird discussing several of the illustrations and each knowing exactly which one we were talking about.

I told her all about our group on Ravelry, and Maire and Clones and more. She explained about the Handbag Museum and the Irish Crochet she wanted done. She talked of exhibitions she had worked on, including one at our famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London. But it was all very difficult to take in, and to be sure that this was all for real and not some fantasy.

I said I would tell people in our IC Lovers Group about her project and see if anyone would like to take part. Before doing so I did lots of googling to check it all out, and did indeed find confirmation. Then Rosie joined Ravelry, and it all took off."

Sally's Motifs

Kim's Motifs
Indeed it did take off!  I saw Rosie's video from the VandA Museum, and was so impressed and thrilled at the idea of working with someone so talented, that I jumped in right away.  I thought it was so exciting, all of us from all over the world, making motifs and sending them to the UK,  to be prepared for their final destination in Seoul, Korea.

My little motifs are to the right, and can be found on the back of the mannequin and on the lower sleeve.  I couldn't find them in the photo above, or in Judith Clarke's book but at the museum's website listed at the end of the post there are more photos that show more detail of the making of the mannequin.

At Rosie's request, we all used Ecru DMC thread in size 80, and a .6mm hook.  The Priscilla 2 book and the Hardouin Vol. 6 book were our sources for patterns.  Rosie asked us to choose a few motifs we liked, and then narrowed down the final motifs to be made.  Pat joined the motifs in the final piece--amazing!

Below are some more of our contributions.  We had ladies from Ireland, England, France, the US (California, Florida and Washington ), and Russia.  I know I am missing some images and don't mean to leave anyone out. I'm happy to add photos to the post!  These images are not to scale.

Lori's Motifs

Simone's Motifs

Eileen's Motifs

Maire's Motifs

Roz's Motifs

Roz's Passion Flower Motif, found along neckline of the piece.

Some of Olga's Motifs

Olga's Motifs in scale of one another.  I remember being amazed at how quickly she made these!

Here is the museum's webpage about the making of the mannequins:  The first row of photos show our motifs being assembled and joined onto the mannequin.

If you would like to order the book about the museum, you can do so here:

I am so proud to have been a part of such a wonderful collaboration.  It's a modern version of how old Irish Lace used to be made.  Individuals making unique motifs to be sent to a central place and joined.  Thank goodness for the internet!