The problem with lace

15Nov09

The fact is, I’m not really a ‘doily’ or ‘lacy’ kind of person. Most of the surfaces in this house are full of books or computer kit, so there’s not really the room to start draping lace artfully across tables or seductively over armchairs.

But, I quite like making lace in various forms. Not your bog standard on-a-lacemaking-cushion lace, with card patterns, pins and ten thousand bobbins, but tatted lace, or as of yesterday, Irish Crocheted Lace. (While I like the look of more standard lace, I’m a huge fan of ‘portable craft’, and bobbin lace never looks that portable.)

I took up tatted lace for a few different reasons

  • I don’t know anyone else who does it and I like to be obtuse
  • I’d recently taken up crochet and was worried I’d get crochet RSI / cramp so thought an alternative ‘thing’ would be sensible – different hand positions etc
  • It’s difficult enough to keep me interested, and easy enough to feel I’m making progress
  • Lots of patterns are repetitive enough to remember off by heart as you go, so you don’t have to keep referring back to the pattern (good when in transit)
  • It’s small – so you can do it on the train (longer story for another time, but I do all my tatting on the train, in the 15 mins I get between getting on and off again).

Here’s an example of my first proper train-made, tatted motif:

Recently, I was given a ball of DMC perle cotton, size 8. Someone I know had some left over and thought it might be good for tatting. Actually, it’s a bit thick, but I bought a 1.25mm crochet hook, and lo and behold, it’s actually pretty good to crochet with – if a wee bit fluffy.

I’m still in the process of experimenting with the threads I like to crochet with – hence the previous post on monkey making. But now seemed like a good time to try Irish Crochet, or as it’s often called, Irish Crocheted Lace.

As it goes, I quite like crocheting at this size – it’s not as hard as you think. The size of the hook corresponds with the size of the thread, so in some ways  it doesn’t feel more fiddly, as it’s all in proportion.

Irish Crochet

I quite like the look of it. It’s often described as ‘three dimensional’ because the flowers are raised from the background. This is actually from a free pin cushion pattern, and anyone who is really bothered will spot that I’ve gone a bit wrong. I was watching ’24’ at the same time and dreaming of being a secret agent, which distracted me a bit. It’s not a disaster though, but I might make a round pin cushion, rather  than a square one. (I’ve also noticed a lot of other people have made the same mistake – the pattern isn’t *that* clear at times. You’d only spot the mistake if you read the pattern).

So pretty soon I’ll have a lace pincushion.. You know,to go with my tatted lace motifs I’ve been making on the train. And now I quite fancy having a go at some more Irish crochet, so who knows, I could make, a… doily? Or a slightly worrying see-through dress… (There’s a lot of it about. Very popular in Russia, for some reason. Beautiful work – seriously, and a flowery see through dress at the end of it all).

So therein lies the problem with lace. Tatted, crocheted, and lets face it, bobbin lace would have the same problem. More fun to make than a knitted jumper (for me) but you end up with a bunch of stuff you have no idea what to do with at the end of it.

I know I could give it away – I do, but pretty soon I’m going to be that relative you hate getting gifts from at Christmas or birthdays.

Having said all this, there are actually worse things to worry about in the world than what the hell you do with the evil offspring resulting from the marriage of a wet weekend and a crafty hobby.

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