This means I don’t have to create the design of each dress element from scratch.
Unlike with other elements of this dress, the main Irish Crochet rose came with a color map in the instructions which I had to print off and simply use as a guide.
It was really helpful to have the color map on the Irish Crochet rose image itself, since this reduced the time spent planning the work.
The yarn for this project came from an online crafts shop Casa CeninaThreads and Yarn Section. I found Casa Cenina one of the few places where I could get the right colors and yarn thickness.
Before starting, I also had to find a sort of flat cushion ( I ended up using one of those chair cushions) and a lot of pins to secure the work in order to follow the picture map.
The whole experience is slightly uncomfortable since you have to crochet on a flat surface, keeping your hands very close to the work.
I found that the best place to work on this Irish Crochet rose is at my standing desk since the work is close enough for me to see what I am doing without having to strain and bend my neck too much.
It’s a slow process since there are lots little steps involved:
starting from the centre of the flower, I have to mark each petal
section with a string, secure it with pins, then fill in the space.
When working on this Irish Crochet rose you are looking at the ‘bad’ side
of the picture, which means you don’t know how the flower is coming
together until you’ve finished a little section, unpinned the work and
turned it around.
Since this is an element I am only going to do once, every time I
finish a couple of petals, I unpin the work from the cushion and turn it
around to see how it looks.
I think if I make a mistake, at least I’ll have to redo just one section, and not have to start over from scratch 🙂
When I started working on the centre of this Irish Crochet rose, I
was almost sure I’ll have to redo it, since I made a couple of mistakes.
However, with this being a sort of freeform crochet, I managed to hide those little imperfections and could continue the work without going back to the beginning, yay!
Here’s the stage I am leaving this Irish crochet lace rose today, since I won’t be able to touch it for the next two weeks…
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 CeninaHERE.
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!