3 Tips for Thread Crochet

Today I am watching Irish Crochet & Clones Lace with Maire Treanor again. I love listening to Maire's Irish accent, and the history she tells of this incredible technique and its origins is both fascinating and inspiring.

  Thread Crochet lace
  Maìre Treanor's Burano Clones Lace Mask

She begins her workshop with a history of Irish crochet and Clones lace, and as she walks through the creation of multiple Irish crochet motifs, she peppers the instructions with Irish crochet tales. One of my favorites is the famine hook. These hooks were used traditionally to create Clones lace. The hook was carved from wood and a steel shaft was inserted into the handle. When the hook broke, a new hook and shaft were crafted and inserted into the old handle. Imagine never having to throw away that hook that fit perfectly in your hand.

Traditionally, Clones lace is worked in thread. Crocheting with thread can be a bit different for crocheters who are used to working with yarn. And Clones lace can use thread as small as size 60. Here are a three tips to help you on your foray into thread crochet:

  • Crocheting with thread is perfect for those of us who crochet tightly. Use a tighter tension when you are crocheting with thread than you would normally when crocheting with yarn. Especially when you are working the detailed motifs of Clones lace, the texture of the stitches is an important design element.
  • Use a steel hook with a larger wood or plastic handle. The diameter of a plain steel hook is tiny, even to those of us with small hands. Hours spent gripping this tiny handle can quickly lead to hand strain. There are a wonderful variety of steel crochet hooks now available with wood, plastic, or clay handles. You can also add your own clay or felt handles to steel hooks. Believe me, your hands will thank you.
  • Don't crochet with your work too close. Especially with the tiny thread stitches, the instinct is to hold a thread project close to you face and eyes. This will quickly cause eye and neck strain. Make sure you are in an area with good light, and crochet with your work about waist level.  Once you get the hang of the pattern, try crocheting while watching a good movie or visiting with friends.
Irish Crochet  

Learn to create your own Irish crochet masterpieces as well as the history of this incredible technique with Irish Crochet & Clones Lace with Maire Treanor. You can purchase this amazing DVD or download the workshop today. What will you create with Irish crochet?

Best wishes,

P.S. What are your tips for crocheting with thread?


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Yarn Info and Tips
Toni Rexroat

About Toni Rexroat

Toni Rexroat is the Online Editor of Crochet Me. Outfitted with several crochet hooks and surrounded by bins of yarn, she has been the assistant editor for Interweave Crochet magazine as well as PieceWork, Interweave Crochet’s sister magazine. She was born and raised in a little town in Wyoming where she was exposed to wool and other fibers at an early age, and began crocheting in her early teens. Enjoying a wide variety of fibery hobbies from crochet and knitting to sewing, she is determined to learn to spin so she can crochet with her own yarn.

9 thoughts on “3 Tips for Thread Crochet

  1. I am a real fan of thread crochet. It was intimidating at first, but after a few rough starts I fell in love with the beauty and the variety you find in the patterns.
    To make my small steel hooks bigger I wrap the handle with cotton yarn. After a bit of use it sort of mold to my hand and fits perfectly!
    I think everyone should at least give it a try – they just might be a fan like me!!

  2. As a self taught crocheter, my technique of holding my thread probably leaves a lot to be desired, because of this I tend to use climbing tape wrapped around my index finger to protect it against the rubbing of the small hook which in turn can lead to cuts that are just big enough to keep sticking the hook in – Ouch!
    The tape I use can be found in outdoor shops for those folk that like to go climbing, it is strong and durable and just enough to get through a crochet session before it needs replacing.

  3. I am a self-taught crocheter too. My doily just won the grand prize above all other entries for thread crochet at our state fair.
    I find that if I wrap the thread around my pinkie at least twice, it controls the tension so much better for tighter stitches. Be careful not to get it too tight or you’ll end up with a curled piece!

  4. Hi Toni!
    I’ve been crocheting almost exclusively with thread for almost 40 years… and THIS is my recent discovery- if I wrap my finger WITH something before I wrap the thread around it to control tension I don’t get ‘thread burn’! I designed a pretty little wrap to take the place of the boring bandaid because I have been crocheting so much lately I ended up with a blister in a most unhelpful place. You can see my little ‘finger saver’ on Craftsy!

  5. When I crochet with the tiny thread sizes I find it easier to slip a pair of hands-free “clip-on, flip-up” magnifying lenses onto my glasses. I keep two pair handy, one at 2.25 power and one at 4.5 power (don’t walk around with these on your glasses, you might fall down). They are made by Carson and are very inexpensive (under $10). Here’s a link to ebay where you can see the different strengths and prices. No, I am not an e-bay seller.


    To be honest about it, men also enjoy using these hands-free magnifiers, too!

  6. Just letting you know that this article was added to the Crochet Concupiscence link love roundup this week for the best crochet blog posts of the web. Nice job!

  7. I wrap my steel hooks with one inch wide sports tape until I have an egg shaped ball in the middle of the hook’s shaft. This makes it very comfortable to hold and use.

  8. Make sure you use the right size hook for your thread–too small, and I always catch just part of the thread, too big and the stitches won’t come out right.

  9. If you are accustomed to crocheting with yarn, I’d recommend working your way down to smaller and smaller thread instead of just switching over. The contrast might be too discouraging. As far as being able to hold onto the smaller hooks, I know someone who made a rubber band tube to slide over the center of the hook and it stayed put and was comfortable, no matter what kind of work she was doing. It also works for making the rubber band crafts.