Friday, October 30, 2009

Irish Rose crochet brooch

I made this using DMC pearl cotton embroidery thread & Gutermann rocailles 9/o beads (colour 9901).

The thread has a lovely sheen that makes it both a pleasure to work with an creates really pretty work. I like the effect of that the multi coloured thread makes.

Although the beads could have been worked in as I crochet, I forgot to thread them before I started !! So as a result I hand sewed them on afterwards.

To finish of the brooch I crochet a center "bead" to cover the spokes that form the center of a traditional Irish rose.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to make a Clones Knot

This ia a particular Irish crochet "stitch" that is fairly complicated to complete. Traditionally it is created across the chain as shown here

The pattern should say how many chains should be worked before attempting to make the clones knot. It is a difficult stitch to describe in words but I will try ...
The pattern will call for a number of chains to be created for the Clones knot to be created over.
After completing the chain hold it in front of you as if you were about to crochet into the chain
Wrap the yarn round the hook as if you were going to make a treble stitch - you now have 2 loops on the hook.
Sweep the hook under the chain to the other side - away from you

Catch the yarn again (3 loops)

Then sweep the hook under the chain again - towards you

Catch the yarn again (4 loops)

carry on exactly like this until you have the requried number of loops (or overs) on your hook & chain.

You see from the image above that the loops are alternatively wrapping from one side then the other.

When you have the required number of loops (or overs) then draw a loop through all of the loops you have made, then yarn over again and draw through the last loop & pull tight.

Finally make a stitch in the chain at the base of the knot to encircle and close the knot.

Creating a clones knot will take some practice, it can be a tricky prospect to create one of these.

Sometimes your hook might get stuck while you are trying to pull through all the loops, I find that if you put your thumb onto the loops to pinch them before drawing the hook through it helps to make the hook run smoothly - otherwise a little bit of wiggling sometimes does the trick.

I recommend making a small crochet patch first and then making a row of clones knots on that to practice, the patch gives you something to hold and allows you to get the hang of the stitch before attempting a motif that requires it.

If the text above still leaves you confused then try having a look at this video for the Clones knot. It shows the action required really nicely.

Irish Crochet Butterfly

I got a bit more adventurous and decided to try to create one of the Irish crochet butterflys

I made it using No 10 thread for the padding cord and No30 thread for the crochet working.  It made this butterfly come out at a reasonable size at 13x14 cm.

I find that working with the larger guage thread when tackling a project for the first time makes things a little easier, having said that this particular motif took some time and effort to make.

The pattern called for a "mesh" which I cannot find any useful references to on the internet - it would seem that they must be some sort of circular form to wind the padding cord onto for creating the padded rings etc. I'll keep on searching and see if I find any more information on this.

In making this motif I learned the valuable lesson of keeping the padding cord tight & pulling it up from time to time.  Particularly when I was creating the edging that goes around the whole butterfly the padding cord bunched from time to time and it needed to be pulled through to flatten it ... I had to rip back a couple of times when I had gone too far to pull through successfully.  Like I said - lesson learned!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Irish Crochet Necklace

I created this necklace using No70 crochet thread, it is reasonably fine thread and creates a quite delicate look.

This Irish rose has an additional layer of petals compared to the "Traditional" 6 petal design, I think it gives it a very soft look.

I have also covered the centre of the rose with a little "dome".  The centre can be left open showing the cartwheel of spokes making up the flower or covered like this.  I think that either look very pretty.

In this necklace tried out creating a vine leaf design, which is the leaf on the left side below and then added the Rose leaf on the right.

The cord is simply a row of crochet on the padding cord and fastened with a little iridescent flower button.

Reading Irish Crochet Patterns

Most of the Irish Crochet patterns I have come across were published in and around 1900.  The notation is slightly different to the way modern patterns are written and the phraseology is quite different.

You have to read ahead in these old patterns.  They are not linear like modern patterns, quite often there will be an instruction and as you read ahead you will find that it then refers to the stitches you need to make to preceed this instruction ... so save yourself rework and always read ahead to the next obvious row end.

Here is an example taken from a pattern in Priscilla Irish Crochet No 2
"Into last d work 3 t, into next d 3 t, into next d also 3 t, making 9 t in a row.  Chain 1, turn;  Work 1 d into each of the next 4 t, 3 d into the centre t and 1 d into the next 4 t (always working into the back strand unless otherwise stated); ch 1, turn;"

As you see, the instruction to always work into the back strand comes part way through the narative - where as in modern patterns this instruction would be up front.

You can also see that the pattern is written more as a story than in the more modern row by row way, so it takes a bit more study and reading before you get underway with creating.

The stitch names are also a little different, in some patterns you will see double crochet referred to as "d" and in others "d c", or in some instances as "Plain". 

The stitches generally follow the UK notation so you won't see single crochet mentioned. 

The translation of UK to US notation is;

Double Crochet = Single Cochet
Half Treble = Half Double
Treble = Double
Double treble = Treble
Trible treble = Double treble

Irish Crochet Padding Cord

Quite often Irish Crochet is created using 2 different thicknesses of thread, one for making the main body of the work & a second thicker thread for "padding".  Alternatively the Padding cord can be created by using multiple strands of the working thread.

In the old patterns this thicker thread is often simply denoted by "PC" which stands for "Padding Cord". 

The use of the padding cord gives the Irish crochet its distinctive 3D look.

It can be quite fiddly to work with a padding cord at first, and you have to be careful to keep it out of the way of your working thread - otherwise you can spend as much time undoing knots as working on your crochet !!

Remember that no matter how careful or delicate you are with creating your crochet the padding cord will show through in places, so where a thicker thread is required for the padding cord get one that matches the colour of your working thread.  Where it isn't possible to get a thicker thread of a matching colour its best to just make up your padding cord with multiple strands of your working thread.

Irish Crochet

Irish crochet is my latest adventure.  It is made with very fine thread, not much thicker than standard sewing cotton & creates such delicate, intricate work.  I have to admire the ladies who created Irish crochet back in the days before electric lighting, it can be quite a strain on the eyes even with the best of light.

This is one of my creations, its made with No 30 crochet thread - so not the finest by any means.  This is the classic Irish rose with rose leaves, its one of the most popular Irish crochet motifs. 

A typical & traditional use of  Irish crochet is to create garments and garment fragments such as colars or cuffs.  Looking through some of the old pattern books I confess that I wouldn't have the patients to create some of the work that they show ... but the detail & workmanship is amazing.

This image is from Priscilla Irish Crochet Book No1, originally published in 1912.  I cannot imagine the patients required to create something like this - that's why I stick to smaller pieces like jewellery & motifs.

I am always fearful that I would ruin a well made motif by trying to incorporate it into a larger item ... perhaps as I get more confident with creating Irish crochet I may become more adventurous.

Introducing Walnut Baby

Walnut baby is my outlet for my handmade crochet (and some knitted) items.

I love making things, creating something has a real satisfaction.  The downside of the satisfaction is that my house is rapidly filling up with my creations ....   So that I can justify carrying on with my creative passtime I have opened an on-line shop (, it allows me to clear some space & to make a little money to cover the costs of my yarn habit!!