The first time you see a piece of Irish crochet it's like
magic. A fantastical collection of flowers, leaves, grape clusters, and lace
joined with a complicated lattice of chain stitches—how do they create these
Enter Máire Treanor. Máire began crocheting Clones lace, a
form of Irish crochet, in 1987. Since then she has gathered information on the
history of this amazing thread crochet technique. In her newest DVD, Irish Crochet & Clones Lace with Máire
Treanor, she shares the history of both Irish crochet and Clones lace. She
will also teach you how to create the Clones lace's basic knot, which joins the
motifs, and a variety of traditional Clones lace motifs.
The Story of Clones
Cassandra Hand introduced Irish crochet to the Clones area
in 1847, after she arrived in Clones from Surrey, England, with her husband,
the Reverend Thomas Hand. Horrified by the sight of people by the road, dying
of starvation or disease, they decided to do what they could to alleviate this
terrible poverty. Cassandra invited one of the Kildare crochet teachers to
Clones to set up a crochet lacemaking school. The women of the Clones
hinterland were excited by the use of the hook to re-create stylized flowers.
||Wild Irish Rose
They could crochet a seven-inch piece in twenty hours, whereas
the same-size piece would take at least three hundred hours to sew in
needlepoint lace. They worked in groups, making it possible to crochet a large
garment in a relatively short time. By 1850, there were more than 1,500
crocheters within a thirty-mile radius. The crocheters developed their own
distinctive Clones lace-distinctive, in part, for the use of packing cord in
the motifs, the Clones knot in the joining stitches, and motif designs unique
to the Clones crocheters. . . .
Each family had their own special motif, or "bit," by which
they became known. The Lily Quigleys made the lily motif, whereas the Rosie
MacMahons crocheted the wild rose. The small rose (heart) was made by the
children in the family, and the mother added the wider petals to the flower.
She might walk with her neighbors fifteen miles, over hills
and down lanes, to the fair in Clones each Friday, exchanging the motifs she
had made for items such as sugar, tea, material, or a hat for a child who
crocheted some of the motifs. The buyer then gave a variety of motifs to
another woman who joined them into a garment or collar.
Treanor (Interweave Crochet Fall
I am excited to learn the traditional Clones
lace technique of building motifs around packing cord to create 3D lace and how
to use a pattern template to create my own projects. Irish crochet still seems
magical, but it a magic that I can create as well.
Crochet and Clones Lace with Máire Treanor today and learn how
to create your own Clones lace creations.
P.S. Have you ever crocheted Irish Lace; what tips and tricks did you learn? I'd love to hear about them below.