Irish Lace Patterns
Irish lace is known as one of the most practical and eye-catching forms of lace but also as a technique that offers a chance to be artistic and creative.
Irish lace became particularly popular in the 19th century in Ireland. When the Potato Famine occurred, people lost their major source of income. Men, women and even children started crocheting in order to earn money and feed families. They produced lace, which was similar to needlepoint or tambour lace but they did it all in crochet. Poor crafters sold their items to the nobility. Hence, Irish lace shawls, dresses, vests, skirts, palatines, purses and table-clothes basically saved an entire nation from starvation.
Crocheters employed different weights of yarn, and motifs were created independently, set on paper and joined with mesh. The most elaborate Irish lace motif patterns were usually kept in secret, and the completed lace was extremely expensive. These days, Irish lace has changed a lot, but the mesh and floral motifs are still fundamental elements of this craft. Great news: it’s not a secret anymore! You can find myriads of Irish lace patterns free of charge.
Elements of Irish Lace
Usually, Irish lace has two important components:
- individual, tiny pieces recognized as motifs;
- a mesh, which connects all the motifs together.
The most important characteristic of Irish lace is the detailed motifs, frequently in the shape of shamrocks, roses and other flowers, pineapples, seashells, leaves, hearts, vines, starfish, and butterflies. This is a real garden depicted in lace, created freeform in different shapes, which are connected with the help of a mesh foundation.
The edges of the lace are frequently arranged around a thick cord, thus, accomplishing the raised edge. Historically, crafters used linen, although cotton has substituted linen these days. Irish lace motif patterns are frequently crafted in size twenty or forty yarn, with size ten thread for a cord, and size sixty, eighty, or hundred yarn for mesh foundation. A few Irish lace motifs are crocheted at least once and set on solid fabric or paper in the form of the finished item. Next, the mesh is placed among the motifs, joining every single motive, till they are fixed. The paper is then taken away, and the finished item has to be washed.
The best thing about Irish lace: every crocheter can make it as simple or as intricate as she wishes.