I have come to a conclusion about myself: I am a masochist. I had an urge recently to investigate the mysteries of Irish Crochet. I don’t know if this was some desire to get in touch with the manifold woes of my ancestors or just because I am easily distracted. Anyway, one look at the vintage patterns on the web made me realise that I had no hope of being to just dip into the art. At the very least, I was going to have to have a crack at crocheting in thread with a tiny hook first rather than in wool with a whacking great one.
I had some number 10 crochet cotton knocking about from an ill-advised foray into tatting. (I have always fancied being either a Roman or a Victorian. Reading masses of Victorian novels while I was studying had convinced me that tatting was a craft I should try and cultivate to get into the 19th Century mind-set. I was, however, completely rubbish at it. If you want to see how it should be done, check out Occasional Crafter’s blog which never fails to engender jealousy and admiration in me. I suppose I should just be grateful that the Roman fantasies didn’t get the upper-hand or I could have been blogging about being sacked for wearing a toga to work.)
I also had the tiny hooks as I had bought every size I could find when I was a rookie crocheter but never used them. I got started by trying out an uncomplicated motif from The Harmony Guides: Crochet Stitch Motifs using the thread and a 2mm hook. I plumped for the Waterwheel motif which consisted solely of trebles and chains and it came out surprisingly well.
Emboldened by my success, I raided Ravelry for patterns. There were a lot of doilies and, although very pretty , they didn’t strike me as particularly useful objects to start churning out. Then I found this wonderful tablecloth pattern. (NB: if you fancy a go at this yourself, there should be an errata for row 5. It says * ch 3, sc over end of next loop, 1 sc in each of the next 3 sc, sc over beginning of next loop, ch 3, 3 dc in center dc of next 3 dc group, ch 4, dc in center st of next loop, ch 1, 3 dc in center dc of next 3 dc group, repeat from * whereas it should be “ch 4, dc in centre st of the next loop, ch 4“.)
My first motif took me a week which was a bit disheartening. This was partly due to the misprint but mostly because the thread and hook still felt so fiddly to work with. I am picking up speed now I have made 5 squares, however, and can average one motif in about 3 hours. It feels like starting to learn to crochet all over again as I have to look at what I am doing rather than glancing down every now and again but the results seem to be worth it. I can’t believe my ham-fists have produced something so delicate.
4 motifs joined together produces a square 5″ by 5″ so I am unlikely to reach tablecloth size any time soon. Maybe a nice tray-cloth instead. That feels very Victorian. And the Irish Crochet? At this rate I’ll be ready to make a start sometime around 2013. Check back then for an update.