Irish crochet, for me, is really the most beautiful crochet technique there is. Clothes and accessories fulfilled in this technique can look truly spectacular.
I’ve been working on a dress using Irish crochet technique for a while now, and although I haven’t finished it yet, I certainly have learned a few things that I’d like to pass on to those who are thinking of starting a larger project using Irish corchet technique and have never done it before.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned.
1. Excellent quality crochet yarn is everything.
I bought the design/instructions of this dress in Irish crochet style HERE and, of course, the first thing I needed to do was to buy the yarn.
This particular Irish crochet dress is a colorful one so I needed to make sure I got the right colors and shades in order for the finished item to look really good (some of the yarn came from Casa Cenina: Threads & Yarns
The yarn I had to buy according to the author’s recommendations turned out to be quite expensive…
…I don’t even dare to quote how much it ended up costing me…
…but now I see that the cost will be justified. Why?
The bottom line is that no matter how brilliant your technique is, if your yarn is some cheap synthetic product, your final item will not look as beautiful as it would when made from a higher quality material.
In this case, I hope to wear the dress to some special occasions, therefore, I had to get the highest quality yarn possible.
I think this also applies to other knitting, sewing or crochet projects – if your primary material is excellent quality, the finished product will look so much better than the one made from cheaper material.
2. Practice on cheaper yarn and simpler Irish Crochet elements first.
If you’ve never tried crocheting in Irish crochet style before, it’s best to get some cheaper yarn in a local shop and learn to crochet those separate elements (roses, leaves, cords, etc.) before you start working on your main project.
Here’s a great video where you can learn to crochet some basic Irish Crochet lace elements.
You could, for example, crochet a smaller item such as a cushion cover, or a small dress for a little girl, which will give you an opportunity to develop the skills in creating the small fiddly items, as well as the understanding of how the process works.
3. When starting to work on your main Irish Crochet project, start with background elements first.
When I started this dress in Irish crochet technique, I made the mistake of starting with the most colorful and conspicuous elements first (because there were fewer of them ) which turned out to be a bit of a disaster…
I had to stop and start again, this time creating simpler background elements first.
This is a good idea because, if you make some mistakes, or your background leaves and flowers don’t turn out to be as perfect as you pictured them, it’ll still work well on a finished dress simply because they are not the ones your attention will be drawn to.
4. Take care of your eyes.
Irish crochet technique is often fulfilled using fine yarn and small size crochet hook, which means your eyes will get tired quite quickly since you’ll be constantly looking at minute details.
So make sure you take breaks when working on your project and if at all possible, work in daylight.
If not, switch on all the lights in the room to avoid extra strain on your eyes.
Your fingers will also get tired, especially at first, when you are still learning. So take breaks, do some exercises for your fingers…
…no need to become crippled by the time you finish your spectacular project!
5. Be patient, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
If you are one of those lucky people, who can afford to do nothing else but crochet all day, then you might finish the project quickly enough. As far as I understand, it takes a couple of months to complete a dress in Irish Crochet technique for a person who does this for a living.
… but if you are like me and apart from your crochet you have a life with family, work and other commitments, then chances are, you will be lucky if you can devote 2 hours a day to your Irish Crochet project.
For the purposes of entertainment, I timed myself when making different elements for this dress.
For example, it takes me 50 minutes to crochet a background rose for this project (the green ones above). I had to crochet 70 of them.
Another example, the large rose above from start to finish takes me 3 hours. I needed 6 of those…
…you can do the maths yourself…
…the time adds up.
Therefore a simple advice is: don’t be over-ambitious.
The last thing you want to do, is buy some expensive yarn, start the project and abandon it half-way through just because that party you were going to wear your new dress to is over a long-time ago and you are still sitting here with a hook in your hand…
TIP. I keep my project close to me as much as possible, so as I could crochet a line or two every time I have a free minute. I even take it on picnics for those downtimes when everyone is happily asleep on the grass after a hearty meal and I can get on with my crochet. It’s my way of making sure I keep going forward with this project.
It’s a somewhat messy process in my life 🙂
I hope these simple lessons above will help those who want to take up a larger Irish crochet project.
The most important thing is to keep your eyes on the finish line – you will reach it if you keep going!
Take up Irish crochet, enjoy your life!
Look at this funny crochet gift mug! Looks like a suitable gift for a crocheter on any occasion 🙂 Check it out HERE
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