I finished this necklace today for our Design Crochet Along. I’ve been wanting to make an Irish Crochet piece using the Priscilla Irish Crochet Book from the Antique Pattern Library and finally managed this one.
It didn’t take very long to finish, I only started last night. From the Priscilla book, Irish crochet seemed really difficult so I just had to make modern modifications to manage with what I have – which is a size 8 thread (not very fine thread usually called for in Irish crochet) and a size 1mm steel crochet hook.
While working on this, I found a few techniques to make the instructions on the APL Irish crochet book a bit easier to understand and make. I didn’t use a padding cord but instead used a long chain, and I didn’t baste the motifs to make the background netting but I tried to find ways to crochet the motifs in a single piece so there’s less sewing. Hopefully, I will be able to write the pattern for it shortly.
However, there will probably be the need for free-form techniques in the pattern, since exact pattern instruction for Irish crochet backgrounds is not advisable. As the Priscilla book on Irish crochet said, “… to follow directions for a given number of bars composed of a given number of stitches, would be fatal to the beauty of the lace, as no two workers would space alike.”
For the pattern to respect the creative freedom of the crochet worker, the Priscilla book recommends the use of a “general plan”, in particular for filling in the backgrounds surrounding motifs, which the worker should familiarize herself with and use adeptly under the immediate circumstances with the aim of producing the finest lace.
I work with cotton threads of very limited size – mostly size 8 threads and sometimes, size 10. In traditional Irish crochet, these are thick threads used for the padding cord and making large motifs. With the necklace above, I have made a number of ‘adjustments’ that I thought could work with the materials that I have, and additionally, have developed the design that fits the material and the methods.
Hopefully, these would be of interest to other workers as these are of interest to me. Nevertheless, I would recommend learning from the original material, which are available from the Antique Pattern Library, whenever possible.