Thursday, February 1, 2007

Threads for Irish Crochet

One of the many problems thread designers face when they begin a project is the thread size. Most magazines prefer nothing finer than a #20 be used. I was lucky that a couple of my designs were accepted for publication eventhough I used a #40.

The problem with #20 thread and Irish crochet is that the work becomes too unmalleable. Joins are less neat and certainly more noticeable. Also, a motif is not as versatile in larger thread. The beauty of Irish crochet is that it has alot of delicate detail. This is lost when large threads are used. In short, what works with a #40 or #60 and finer will not work with a #20, let alone #10 (Ew!! Shudder at the thought of using #10).

Various Thread Sizes

Irish crochet was originally worked in very fine threads. The image above shows the different sizes of Coats thread. A #10 is mostly used for padding cord (though not a must). I like to crochet with #40 though the finer threads are not too difficult to work with. I have a #80 around the house, but I haven't located it yet. You may not notice to much of a difference in the photo, but you definitely notice the difference when you work with them. The last strand is not Coats, but rather a bobbin lace thread that is #120; however I'm not sure if it would have been used for Irish crochet since there are differences in size depending on the manufacturer.

Vintage Motif

This is a vintage motif worked in a very fine thread. Click on the link to see a close-up image. It is only 2" tall but just look at the detail. The background has Open Clones Knots.Each one is about 2 mm long!!! Click here to watch how I make them.

This image is the same vintage motif and another motif I made of the same pattern. I used a #60 thread and crocheted this motif by eye as I don't have instructions for it. If I had to guess, I'd say the vintage motif is crocheted in a #180 thread (though I won't swear it).

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