Sunday, 15 June 2014


One of the things that has always fascinated me about textiles is how new things pop up all the time, techniques I wasn't very familiar with, or textiles that I knew little about. Then starts the exploration and research as I try to find out as much as I can about this new subject!

Crochet seems to be the latest of these  - I never learned how to crochet as a child, but rather I was taught to knit and sew. My cousin, however, could create beautiful doilies and runners at the drop of a  hat. Granny McBurney passed that skill to her daughter, my aunt. Obviously my dad didn't need to be taught such skills!

So, whilst I knew a bit about crochet, I had never really delved into the history in any detail until about a year ago when I found the most wonderful pieces of crochet work, mainly as edging to Irish Linen tray cloths and tablecloths. I became curious to know more about this beautiful and skilful craft.

Of course once I started to know more, I began to come across more and more crochet work as I searched out new linens for the collection. Everywhere I turned I seemed to find hairpin work, relief crochet and filet lace crochet.

All sorts of styles and finishes, some quite simple and others more intricate, but all showing how much the cloth or runner was enhanced by the addition of a border or insert.

Whitework embroidery on a tray cloth was not sufficient; this lovely cloth called for a detailed relief work edging. Sadly the body of this particular piece has a lot of damage, but I am determined to use the edging somehow, perhaps overlaid on a contrasting coloured cushion.

The circular cloth above is quite stunning but in today's homes we don't tend to have small tea tables, so I think this would make a wonderful centrepiece on a dining table, layered over a vibrantly coloured tablecloth. It really allows the beautiful crochet border to shine.

Of course crochet was used in many different ways, and recently I found this gorgeous little reticule or opera purse/bag decorated with Irish Crochet lace embroidery. The frilled flower heads are a traditional element to this style of crochet. It gives a lovely 3 dimensional quality to the piece.
Even the plainest of Irish Crochet was considered intricate by comparison with other types, because each of the elements of a design would be made separately and then crocheted together.It was a technique used often for ladies' gloves which would be made of crocheted loops with Irish crochet flowers sewn on the top, just as has been done in this pretty Victorian bag.

I wonder what it will be next!

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