American vs. European Crochet Terms

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In an online world where eBay, Amazon, and Pinterest have made finding unique crochet lace patterns so much easier, it’s important to realize, not all patterns speak the same language.

I first came up against this issue when I was making a beautiful rose motif in an old 1920 magazine reprint from the Lacis Museum of Lace.  It was a beautiful Irish lace piece.  I was in love!  But no matter how many times I started, for the life of me, my rose and the “Rose of Sharon” did not match!  That was when I learned a very important lesson.  American patterns are different from European patterns.  It’s not a hard difference to learn, but they are different.

What are the differences between American and European Crochet?

American Crochet Terms UK Crochet Terms
Single crochet Double crochet
Half double crochet Half treble crochet
Double crochet Treble crochet
Treble crochet Double treble crochet
Double treble crochet Triple treble crochet
Gauge Tension
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Many modern patterns will specify which type of pattern they are using. Books will have a stitch guide in the front or back as a reference detailing exactly what each of their standard stitches is meant to look like. However, as a rule of thumb if you’re using 1920 or earlier lace patterns or Irish lace patterns, take special note.

If you’re still in doubt with an ambiguous, gorgeous, must-have pattern, this is the biggest tip– European patterns do not use sc. If the pattern calls for single crochet, you know it’s an American style crochet pattern.

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“Use Your Best, and You’ll Always Have Your Best Left”

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When I married, my mother-in-law made me a sheet set with beautiful handmade lace edgings and inserts across the sheets and pillowcases. We’ve been married 21 years, and this year, I had to finally concede that the lace wasn’t going to last another year.

For those who might say, “What? You USED real handmade lace pillowcases?” Yes they are heirlooms, and Yes. I did.

My mother-in-law told me her philosophy was given to her by her grandmother– “Use your best, and always have your best left!”  She didn’t put all those hours into them to just sit in a box waiting for a moth or age spot to mar them. She wanted them used! or she’d take them back and use them herself.

And she would too.

So, yes. I did.

And now they’re too far gone to use any more.  The thread wore out fairly evenly with few repairs over the years.  Once they decided to go, they really went.  There were little holes all through it.  I’ve saved a section of the best for posterity— but it’s not much.  However!  These beautiful lace gifts gave us 21 marvelous years of love and memories, and it was worth it.  I learned a lot from Mary about how to keep lace nice, and she’s right.  Use it or lose it.  Cotton wants to be used, and washed or it turns horribly yellow and loses its beauty.

Mary is currently making altar cloths, and loving it, so it’s my turn.  I had my husband choose a new pattern, and we’ll see how this one holds up for the next 20-odd years or so.

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Mary’s Linen Shelf– As new as if she’d made them all yesterday.

Freeform Crochet Irish Rose

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Irish lace is a wonderful dance between dense thread and open space. I’ve been working on my Irish rose designs. I’m really pleased with how this rose, leaf, and flower set is coming. The center has traditional Irish crochet padding cord to make the dense centers more pronounced.

The clones knots in the netting are wonderful examples of this contrast and how pleasing it is to our eyes.  I’ve also been experimenting with putting roll stitches in patterns where you don’t normally see them.  I like their unusual look, and the roll stitch is another stitch, like the clones knot, that is a high density stitch perfect for unique antique-style laces.

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Sister’s Lace

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The Sister’s Lace project has been in the works for over two years.  In all, 20 sisters participated in making this lace.  We started with a group of ladies who had never crocheted before, and ended up with an altar cloth.  The pattern is simple, but beautiful.

We met once a week for two years.  Several of our ladies made it through, start to finish, and are now completely equipped with skills to make their own altar cloths.

See more on this project here: Crochet Class– Granny Squares to Altar Cloths 

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Crochet Lace Technique: Cluny Six Petal Join

The cluny six petal join is a good sturdy way to link sometimes fragile motifs together. In traditional joins, where picots that touch are joined with a single stitch, those joins are the weakest part of the lace fabric. With cluny joins, the lace is stronger, has fewer large holes for things to get caught on, and gives a nice Irish flavor to any lace pattern you’re working with.

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This cluny join was made with five triple crochets per petal.

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Joining my third motif to the lace left a bigger hole to fill, so I created a large cluny join with six double-triple crochets per petal.

Cluny joins are made as the last row of the motif you want to join is being stitched.

This joining method is advanced level lace crochet, but it’s worth learning. As you see, it’s truly a beautiful joining method, and adds greatly to the integrity of the piece.

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New Pattern: The Little Light of Hope

This is a new pattern I’ve been designing.  I worked on it through Conference weekend, and it is turning out just beautifully.  I’m including the pattern below.  The motif is a flicker of light with twelve repetitions radiating around.  12 hours in each turn of the clock, 12 months in a year.

As I was listening to conference, working and reworking this motif, I heard these words quoted in one of the talks, and felt it fit:

“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”  —Doctrine and Covenants 50:24

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 Light of Hope Motif Pattern

This lace is being made in Turkish thread size 60 which roughly translates to size 30 in the United States.  I’m using a size 21 Tulip brand hook (equal to size 14 Boye hook).  Other thread sizes and hook sizes may be used as appropriate.

Row 1:  Chain 8, join in a ring

Row 2:  12 sc in ring, join with sl st

Row 3:  Ch 7, acts as first triple and first ch3 sp,  (tr, ch3) in each sc of previous row.  Join with sl st to 4th ch of beginning ch7.  (12 tr, 12 sp made)

Row 4:  Ch 1, 4sc in each ch 3 sp around.  Join with sl st

Row 5:  Ch 5, acts as first triple of the 5tr cluster.  Work one tr in the tr of previous row and next three sc, and next tr, saving the last loop of each tr on hook, draw one loop through all loops on hook.  5tr cluster made.  Cluster, ch7, repeat around.  (Twelve clusters made)

Row 6:   Sl st in next two ch, ch 4, acts as first triple, 3tr, ch2, 3tr, ch 5 in each ch7 loop of the previous row. Join with sl st to top of first tr.  (Twelve groups and twelve ch5 sp made)

Row 7:  Ch 8, p in 3rd ch from hook, counts as first dtr, dtr, p, tr, p, in the ch2 sp of previous row. ch2, 2sc in ch5 sp of previous row, *ch2, tr, p, dtr, p, dtr, p, dtr, p, tr, p, in next ch2 sp, ch2, 2sc in next ch5 sp* repeat around, tr, dtr in first space, join with sl st to the top of the first dtr made.

Row 8:  sl st through p of previous row, ch 6, dtr in 2nd sc of previous row, ch 6, 2sc in top of middle p of next group, repeat around.  Sl to join.

Row 9:  Sl st in next ch, ch 4, counts as first dc and ch1. *Dc, ch1, four times in each ch6 loop around. Join with sl in the  3rd ch of beginning stitch to join.

Row 10, Irish Edging– (2sc in every sp, p over gap between 4dc, ch1 group ) twice, 2sc in next sp, 1sc in next sp, ch 10, flip work and 2sc in the middle of the 4dc, ch1 group just covered with scs.  Flip work again.  Cover ch10 with 9sc, p, 9sc. Place one more sc in the ch 1 space  before ch10 adventure began.  Repeat around, close with sl.

1st motif made.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”  –2Nephi 31:20

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