Lace-making has always been an important part of the Irish needlework tradition. When times were hard women always had to find ways of supporting their family. This was particularly true during and after the great potato famine of the 1840s. In those days most women could do needlework, so it was only a short step to lace-making. Irish Crochet and Tatting travelled particularly well as equipment needed was simple, a ball of cotton and a shuttle for Tatting and simple crochet hook and cotton for Irish Crochet lace.
Irish crochet is a type of lace, which has its origin in the famine years of the 19th century in Ireland. Charity groups sought to revive the economy by teaching crochet lace technique at no charge to anyone willing to learn. This type of lace is characterized by separately crocheted motifs which were later assembled into a mesh background. Other types of Irish crochet include Rosslea and Clones lace.
Irish Crochet Lace is made with a very fine crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. You start by outlining your pattern on a piece of cloth. You then crochet each motif separately. The motifs are then stitched onto the cloth in the shape of the pattern. You then take up the cloth in your hand and join up the motifs using chains and picots. When all the motifs have been joined together forming one piece of lace the whole piece is removed from the background thus revealing your completed Irish Crochet Lace