This year three of our extended family members are making altar lace, and brought it with them to reunion. Sitting around in a circle, telling stories while our fingers fly is joy. It reminds me of the old Irish lace circles in the later part of the 1800s, when the potato crops failed year after year with blight and the people were starving. Those were the days when lace saved Ireland.
Ireland lost more than half their population to starvation or emigration in the 1840s and 50s. Those who were left, learned to make lace to survive. Men watched the children while women sat in circles and made Irish crochet lace taught to them by inspired nuns. The proceeds from those lacy sprigs and roses fed their families and saved a nation.
I love the stories of our heritage. It adds beauty to the lace.