Irish Crochet Explosion

Photo copyright Annie’s Publishing Inc.

Over a year ago Jackie Daugherty, the editor at Crochet World, sent me a beautiful piece of antique crochet.  It looks like it was a collar for a child’s garment and was crocheted with thread the size of sewing thread (!).

The artistry is truly incredible – many of the motifs are smaller than a nickel and are all joined together perfectly.  Here you see the piece with a dime next to it for some perspective.

Jackie asked me to create a design using this collar as my inspiration. Wow! What a task it was but I enjoyed the challenge.  Since I knew I wanted to make it with larger thread, I thought a shawl would showcase the intricacies of the motifs best. Below you can see the differences in size of the various threads and yarn.

First, I picked out the motifs that I liked most out the original collar and then created my own version using some Size 3 cotton thread from my stash.  My favorite motifs were the bullion stitch flower-like circles – I love how they pop-out and create their own unique texture.  (This was my first time using the Bullion Stitch in a published design  – it can be a tricky stitch to figure out and literally wrap your hook and brain around! So, I researched how to make it best and made a little video here to show you what I learned to help me make them neat and even every time.)

To offset this design element, I then chose the simpler and flat circles remembering that when creating a work of art it is important to have some places where your eye can “rest” when looking at the piece as a whole.  Lastly, I noticed that the entire original collar had an overall feel of “flower” to it so I wanted to make sure I included at least one obviously flower motif that was different from the first 2 motifs.

Then Jackie and I had to choose a yarn for this project – this was no easy task and a big THANK YOU to Jackie for being patient with this.  Just when we thought we had a good yarn we would find out that they were out of the colors we liked.  In the end we chose Plymouth Yarn’s “Anne” yarn that is a Size 3 cotton crochet thread and comes in a wide variety of colors in many shades.  I loved these purples and how they give the shawl an ‘ombre’ look.

I spent the first few weeks with the yarn just crocheting a bunch of motifs but leaving the last round unworked. This is a neat trick to help you move through your projects faster.  I like to crochet while I am waiting during my daughters’ classes but I need a project that I can do quickly and easily in a small amount of space.  So, I would make a bunch of motifs and wind off a small ball of yarn as I came to the last round to save the joining for later when I could lay it out on a table (and be in a quiet place to figure it all out!) (As you can see by the photo below, I decided to add one more type of motif for the last row to make a total of 4 different motifs in the shawl)

Figuring out how to join all the motifs was the most challenging part since I needed to write down every step of the joining and make sure it would make sense to those who will be reading the pattern later.  If you crochet this shawl, remember that it is okay if you don’t join the motifs exactly as I did – the important part is that they hang and lay evenly so don’t worry about every little joining stitch if you don’t get it exact.  Your project will still look beautiful!

I used my dress from to help me plan out the motifs and stitch them together.

(I do recommend weaving in your ends as you finish each motif – if you don’t, there will be many you need to weave in later!)

Since I completed this shawl last summer, I worked on it outside for many hours. Did you know that in the late 1800’s when many Irish people were learning to crochet and using it as a means for survival they often crocheted outdoors?

After my part of the design process was completed, Lindsey Stephens, tech editor extraordinaire, tackled the instructions.  She fixed all my inconsistencies and created clear diagrams (from my humble sketches) so that the pattern could be printed and make sense for all of you!  Lindsey also designs her own crochet projects and teaches classes on-line.  Thank you, Lindsey! You can see all she has to offer the world of crochet at her website:

Then it was time for Jackie and her team at Annie’s to ‘work their magic’ with photography and layout so the design and pattern could be printed in the April 2018 issue of Crochet World.

Photo copyright Annie’s Publishing Inc.

I am honored that this design is in the Designer Spotlight of this issue (where you can read more about my love of Ireland) and is part of celebrating 40 years of Crochet World magazine.

Here is the video of the Bullion Stitch for your convenience:

(Oh, I just received my magazine in the mail and there is actually a typo in how to do this stitch – there is an extra YO that should not be there. It should read:

Wrap yarn 10 times around hook, insert hook into st, YO, draw up a loop, YO, pull this first loop on hook through next 10 loops (that you just wrapped) on hook; YO, pull through loop on hook (locking stitch) – You’ll see it’s all there in the video so you can turn out pretty stitches for your motifs and shawl.  )



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