Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Step Into Ireland's History with Crochet

A tribute to the human spirit.
Beauty born of necessity.
Conceived from lowly beginnings,
With a dream of higher aspirations,
It grew out of patience, perseverance, and ingenuity,
To stand in majesty,
To feed a nation.
(from the Irish Crochet Lace Exhibit Catalog at the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, 2005)

No, this fun little scarfy necklace thing isn't actual Irish crochet!  I just don't have the skill for that.  But here are a few pics of traditional Irish crochet and a video demonstation I highly recomment you look at.. It's only a few minutes long.  During the potato famine of the mid 1800's in Ireland, the country was in desperate need of a commodity to help left them out of the devastating economic decline.   A new form of crochet that resembled Venetian needlepoint was developed speeding up production of a piece that would normally take at least 200 hours to only 20 hours.  The unique aspect of Irish crochet is separate crocheted floral motifs that are then joined through a network of crocheted mesh.  This allowed for mass production as it was well suited to a division of labor where women could work on aspects that suited their ability.

Irish crochet became a cottage industry where women were provided materials that they could work with in their own homes.  Families became known for particular motifs and would even hide them from view to visitors to their homes to keep their patterns secret! 
From a wellspring of ingenuity, perseverance and community cooperation the lace industry flourished for a time. It served as a vital cottage industry throughout the famine. It not only fed the people, but preserved their dignity...and the world took notice. In the post-famine years its popularity waxed and waned with the flow of the economic tides. Soon, the surge of two world wars put a harsh decline on the demand for luxuries, but by then, the lace had worked its magic and revived a nation. Today, we see in its bold patterns the life of the people, and the hope of a country. (Martha Sherick Shen, 2005)

Enjoy these pics and the video and prepare to be amazed!


  1. beautiful crochet and lace work! Thanks for sharing.

  2. You're so pretty in green! The history of Irish lace has always intrigued me and I was so happy to read more bout it on your blog! I can't knit or crochet worth a darn, but I can appreciate it!!!


  3. You have been awarded the stylish blogger award! Let me know if you accept by commenting on my blog.:)


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