Saturday, September 22, 2012

Making it Easier

I've changed some of the settings for the Comments to make it easier for you! I had inadvertently left some pretty hefty security restrictions turned on. Hopefully now you can comment with ease.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ravelry August CAL--Blackberries

Last month in the Irish Crochet Lovers group on Ravelry, the CAL (crochet-a-long) was the Blackberry Design pattern from Priscilla Irish Crochet book 1.  You can find it HERE on the Antique Pattern Library.  At first glance, I thought this was an intimidating little sprig.  So many stems to get twisted, so many Clones Knots to unravel on me, and how on earth are those berries even constructed??

This CAL inspired many of us to join in, and I would like to share some of our results.  The journey of the Blackberry Design gives us a perfect example of how a crocheter might interpret patterns and spring off into her creative permutations.  It's so interesting to me where we take these challenges.  Some crocheters stayed true to the pattern, while many others tweaked and adjusted.  All the results are fabulous!

Eileen, bless her, came up with another amazing tutorial on the stemmed berry construction, on the full berry, and also shared tips on making Clones Knots.  I don't know where we would be without Eileen and her generous spirit.

Eileen's images inspired ashropshirelass to give Irish Crochet a try, and she completed her blackberry group in no time.  Can you believe this is her FIRST attempt at Irish Crochet???  I know, I can't get over it, either.  Notice how she used Clones Knots for the thorns on the stem, rather than picots.  Wonderful!
in progress
ashropshirelass' first attempt at Irish Crochet--amazing!

Eileen's tutorials certainly helped me with my blackberry attempt.  I went for a minimal berry composition, using 80 thread.  I was very concerned that I do the motif "correctly" and am thankful for the reminders that we can work the thread as we see fit!  I finished the berry while on a road trip, and was so excited by all the knots, that I just kept practicing them on a chain, experimenting with the number of "overs" and the tension, and positioning of the hook.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.
My daughter says the berries look like broccoli!

When I was done with the elements of the group above, I thought I would continue with the rest of the pattern.  Then I was inspired by Fatima's gorgeous interpretation of the blackberries.  She turned hers into jewelry!
Fatima's blackberry necklace
Fatima's project in progress

Sally stirred things up on the forum when she posted pictures of real blackberry plants, and we all agreed that the original pattern had the berries out of scale, compared to what we are used to seeing in nature.  Turns out UK and US blackberries look pretty similar, in case you were wondering!  I think Sally has created berries, leaves and flowers with more realistic proportions.  She not only made more petit berries, she modified the leaves to make the holes align with the center stem of the leaf, rather than going across.  And adding the picots to the leaf edge was brilliant.  The evolution of the design from the antique pattern to each of our final interpretations enthralled me.
Sally's in-progress work

Lori also minimized the berries in her piece, ending up with a more proportionate group.  I love how she made this her own, keeping to the pattern for parts of the motif and changing the rest to suit her vision.  I am such a rule-follower that I need reminding that it's OK to veer off the page and explore.  I'd like to share a quote posted by Eileen, from an Irish Crochet book found online by Susan:
” The aim of the worker should be to produce the most artistic work she is capable of if by altering a curve or adding a leaf to any spray she can create a design more pleasing to herself she should not hesitate to follow her own inclination”  --T.E. Beuthner
Lori's blackberries

Melba interpreted the pattern into her own design, keeping the berries more in scale with the flowers.  Melba is a free-form crocheter too, and she always comes up with wonderful versions of the antique patterns.  I envy those free-form crochet skills!
Melba's blackberry sprig--I love how she finished off the stem with a little loop

I really enjoyed following everyone's progress.  Some of us stuck to the pattern while for others, the design evolved into something more personal.  It was so great to see what sparked a crocheter's imagination.  We all had moments of frustration (learning time!) and bursts of inspiration too.  I think this CAL exemplifies why I appreciate Ravelry and my fellow Irish Crochet Lovers so much.  Without our discussion and photos, comments and questions, and inspiration and frustration, I would not be able to move forward as I have.  Everyone provides such a unique view of the creative aspect of our craft, that I can't help but learn something each time I read through the forum.  I know there are many more folks out there who worked the CAL or followed the thread (no pun intended), learning along with all of us!  So THANK YOU, to the Irish Crochet Lovers who are so willing to share their knowledge.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Antique of the Week--English Garden Collar

Hi everyone!  This week, Jennifer from Starched and Crumpled is sharing a collar with a sweet variety of floral motifs and filled with a tiny picot ground.  The motifs include Iris, Fuchsia, Lily of the Valley, and Irish Rose, and the collar has a traditional scallop edge.

An overal view of the collar.
Collar as it would have been worn
Central Iris motif with Clones Knot accent, and a good view of the filling ground
Bouquet of Irish Rose
Lily of the Valley over the shoulder

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seashell Challenge--Results

I had a lot of fun with the seashell challenge!  I was at the beach not too long after the initial post, and I found a sanddollar, so I decided that would be my inspiration.  I used No. 10 thread with 4 strand PC, and a US 10 hook.  Did anyone else play this month?  Send me your photos!~~Kim

Actual size of motif is about 2 inches across

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Antique of the Week--Clones Collar with Symmetrical Design

This week we have a gorgeous collar from eBay-er adtjmd.  The collar is cream, made of fine thread, and is twelve inches from the neckline to the central point.  The ground is entirely a Clones Knot ground, and the collar is edged with a lovely scallop border.  I am impressed by many aspects of this piece, including the perfect little Clones Knots and the symmetry of the design.  I enjoy Irish Crochet where there is an overall pattern, but reflected designs like the one on this collar are my favorite.

The edging and a couple of the motifs can be found in the Priscilla Irish Crochet books.  The border is Figure 60 in Book 1.  The solid circle with the five little "leaflets" is unusual to me, as is the central three-dimensional flower.

Lower center point.  The wheel motif is Figure 23 from Priscilla Irish Crochet Book 1.

I love the winged leaves used throughout.  These look to be modified portions of the grape leaves in the Priscilla books.  Those leaves are part solid and part mesh.  For the leaves in this collar, I would say begin with a long stem over PC (at least 50-60 sc US), then turn and work back maybe 20 stitches.  Turn at the stem, connecting to it with an sc (US) and work all the way back up the 20, turning to work back down towards the stem when you get to the top.  You can create the arch in the stem by adding a stitch or two each time you connect to the stem, before you go back up the frond.  Repeat this for 7 fronds and on the 7th, continue all the way down the stem.

This is a great close-up of the central flower and the construction of the ground.  The individual knots are so consistent in their tension!

And can we talk about those Knots????  Wow!  The ground is worked like a picot ground, but with (about) 6 chains, Clones Knot, 6 chains on each arch.  You attach each arch to the row below, in the middle of the arch, just near the Knot.  A single crochet stitch (UK=DC) connects near a Knot but not AROUND the knot, as Maire Treanor teaches.  Her method allows the Knots to stand up at attention and keeps them tight at each intersection of the grid of the ground.  These Knots float a little off to the side. The knots themselves look like miniature bullion-style Clones Knots.

Grape motif from Priscilla Irish Crochet Book 2.  I haven't seen these leaves before.  I love them!

This collar is quite inspiring, and I'm so happy that adtjmd shared it with us!  Remember, if you have an antique that you would like to share, send it in!

Reminder to those participating in the Seashell Challenge:  email a photo to me, I will be posting Challenge pictures this weekend.