I’ve been working on a dress using Irish crochet technique for a while now. Although I haven’t finished it yet, I certainly have learned some important Irish crochet lessons.
I’d like to pass on these lessons to crocheters who are thinking of starting a larger project using Irish crochet technique for the first time.
Irish crochet, for me, is really the most beautiful crochet technique there is. Clothes and accessories fulfilled in this technique can look truly spectacular.
5 Irish Crochet Lessons for First-Timers
- 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. I bought most of required yarn from Casa Cenina HERE.
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.
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 higher quality material.
I hope to wear my 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 good too.
2. PRACTICE WITH CHEAPER YARN AND SIMPLER IRISH CROCHET ELEMENTS FIRST.
If you’ve never tried Irish crochet before, it’s best to get some cheaper yarn 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.
This will give you an opportunity to develop the skills in creating small fiddly items, as well as the understanding of how the process works.
3. START WITH LESS PROMINENT BACKGROUND ELEMENTS FIRST.
When I started this dress in Irish crochet technique, I made the mistake of starting with the most colorful elements first.
I reckoned there were fewer of them so I will see the result faster.
This, unfortunately, 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 your background leaves and flowers don’t turn out to be as perfect as you pictured them, they will still work well on a finished dress simply because they are not the elements 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.
It seems it takes a few months to complete a dress in Irish Crochet technique for a professional.
… 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 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 but 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!
Create beauty one stitch at a time!
Next post in this series. Irish Crochet Project: Main Rose
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