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Friday, March 11, 2011

March is National Crochet Month

I have these cute Shamrocks growing against my apartment in the back and every time the guys from Astro Extermination Service spray against the buildings outside, it kills these delicate pretty greens. Next time, I'm going to save some in a pot for myself before they kill them all - again!

In March we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but March is also National Crochet month according to the Crochet Guild of America.

Allow me to share an interesting article from the "Talking Crochet" newsletter concerning the history of a very old crochet technique:

There is a little bit of Irish in each and every one of us crocheters! "How so?" ... you may say if your origins are quite different. Irish crochet or cottage lace is famous for its intricate designs that were developed from simple patterns. Our Irish foremothers, whose skills were honed over lifetimes, learned from their ancestors without patterns. Great patience was required in order for them to crochet the finest of threads, up to and including size 100!

In tribute, crocheters are proud of those Irish skills as they strive to achieve that degree of expertise, inspired by their ancestors' sacrifice and by the instructions they left behind for us. From 1845 to 1851, the potato famine devastated Ireland. The Ursuline nuns were familiar with Venetian lace from France, and they knew the Irish women, who had produced rough cloth for their families for generations, had crochet skills. The nuns realized that these skills presented an opportunity to create cottage industries and save the population from famine.

Fine crochet, called Irish crochet, replaced potatoes as the source of income that prevented starvation. Unique designs were developed by families, and the motifs were kept top secret. Some ancestral motif instructions were lost when family members died or fled to other countries.

The crochet schools of the 1850s and 1860s began to disappear as fashions changed. With demand for lace declining, the cottage industries died out as well. In the 1880s, a brief revival of cottage lace produced samples that today are family heirlooms and museum pieces.

Examples of Irish Crochet, Cottage Lace or Irish Lace:

Happy crocheting!


sprinkles said...

My mom used to have a shamrock plant in a pot. I wonder if she still has it? I'll have to ask her. I do remember that it looked like it was dead one year and I told her she should throw it out. She told me it does that but then it gets all green and grows like crazy again.

That crotchet pattern with the birds is beautiful!

Deborah said...

Hi Doris, crocheting like that is an art. My husbands grandmother and mother use to crochet and the pieces were beautiful. I wonder if they give lessons on crocheting. I should check Michaels.
Have a safe weekend!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

I used to love to grow the oxalis plant which resembles shamrocks and has either a white or pink flower. I may just need to go shopping for a new one.

I used to have so much of that old Irish lace from my grandmother. I once made a few doilies of my own, but the eyesight isn't quite what it used to be - that thread is tough to work with:)

Happy crocheting.

Ginny said...

Oh, wow!! So this is Irish Crochet? What a fascinating story! I never knew crochet saved them after the potato famine! We have shamrocks growing up against the side of our house, my girlfriend gave them to me and we planted them there. I hope you find out when those exterminators are coming!

Karin said...

Love those shamrocks! I used to have green and burgundy oxalis indoor plants - a relative of the shamrock.

Irish lace is fantastically beautiful! Thanks for sharing all that interesting information with us! Happy Crochet month to you!!

Chatty Crone said...

I had no idea there were different kids of crochet styles - I love the pretty lace of Irish Crochet.

Thanks for the lesson - I always feel I learn something every day when I come to the blogs!


Ann said...

Such beautiful work. I can't imagine the time and work put into that. I had no idea there was a national crochet month. Learn something new every day

pinkpaillette said...

Liebe Doris
das ist ja toll, ein National Häkel Monat. Gibt es sowas in der Schweiz auch? Ich glaube nicht. Leider!
Herzliche Grüsse, colette

Janine said...

Hast du diese Irische Spitze gemacht?
Die ist ja traumhaft schön, und bestimmt unheimlich schwer zu machen.
Ich wünsch dir eine schöne Woche

glor said...

What beautiful crochet ... a true art.