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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Janetta’s Lace for the Payson Temple, Complete!

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This altar cloth was handmade by my Aunt Janetta. Crocheted with size 20 DMC Cordonnet lace thread and her grandmother’s heritage hook, it was a labor of love and took nearly two years to finish. It is beautiful! It has the clones knot from our family heritage sprinkled throughout the design.  Janetta was able to finish this altar cloth just before the dedication of the Payson Temple, June 7th, 2015.

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Lily’s First Lace

IMG_20150320_145850My daughter Lily is learning to make lace. She has made a few things with yarn in crochet, but she was new to thread.  I started up a lacemaker class here locally this week, and she began attending. This is her first lace attempt, a snowflake! IMG_20150320_150330This snowflake took two tries to get right. The second time through the pattern only took an hour. She used size 10 thread and a size one Boye steel hook. When it was washed, shrunken, stretched and dry, it really looked beautiful. Lily's First Lace Lily wants to eventually make altar lace. She’s only 14 right now, but the amazing thing is that altar lace isn’t much different than a bunch of snowflakes, attached together. Once her stitching becomes even, she’ll be ready to make altar lace. Patterns don’t have to be complicated to be beautiful and meaningful.

Roll Stitch Snowflake

Roll Stitch Snowflake

This roll-stitch snowflake is an original design and incorporates Irish clones knots between the branches. It was made in size 100 thread with a size 24 Tulip brand hook. I made this just to see if I could make the roll-stitch in this size thread, and have used it in my classes to show the skill the old lacemakers had. Size 100 thread is the smallest I’ve found. It worked! Each roll has 21 wraps. The finished snowflake is 3.5 inches across.

Sweet Scalloped Edge Pattern

Sweet Scalloped Edge
This little scalloped edge is a simple classic, excellent for a beginner’s pattern.

There are three rows:

First row, chain stitch a length a few inches longer than the pillowcase you want to edge.
Ladder row
Second row, skip 7 chains of the row you just finished. Double crochet in the next chain. Chain two, skip two chains of the foundation row, double crochet. Repeat across to the end.
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Third row, chain one, turn. Seven double crochets in the next double crochet from the previous row. Single crochet in the next double crochet, scallop made. Repeat to the end.

There is a slight difference between the scallop style of the pillowcase picture and the scallop picture above. If you prefer more of a pointed scallop, try this simple alternative:

Alternative pointed scallop for third row– three double crochets in the next double crochet from the previous row, chain two, three more double crochets in the same stitch. Single crochet in the next double crochet, scallop made. Repeat to the end.

Ebenezer Lace: Corner Re-design

Ebenezer Lace It is finished! I made modifications to one of the sides and designed corners for the Ebenezer Lace. This altar lace was originally made a specific shape by the request  of the temple matron in order to fit a particular altar. After four months in service, we determined that the corner cut idea wasn’t working well. The lace kept sliding out of position without corners to add stability.  So I took it home and have been working on a redesign of the edges, including a fill-in for the missing corners.IMG_20141022_092107

I was able to continue the Linnaea blossoms as well as the radiating line theme. The corners are complimentary. I am really pleased with the result. This lace will be turned in Friday. Hopefully it will fit as beautifully on the altar as it looks in a picture.IMG_20141021_194252

Family Heritage: Janetta’s lace for the Payson Utah Temple

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I had an opportunity recently to visit with my aunt, Janetta Wells. She is a lacemaker from Payson, Utah, and is currently making an altar lace for the new Payson Temple that will be dedicated June 7, 2015. She told me the story of her lace and why it was special to her.

My Aunt Janetta has lived her whole married life in Payson, Utah, in the same modest house, and raised all 12 of her beautiful children there. When she heard the announcement that they were going to build a temple, just down the street from her house, she was thrilled.
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My mother had seen me making lace for various temples, and knew Janetta had made numerous doilies in her life. She asked, “So Janetta, are you going to make an altar cloth for the Payson Temple?” The thought had never occurred to my aunt, but as soon as the words were said, she knew she would, wanted to, she had to. And, she knew she would use great-grandma Ada’s hook to do it.

One of the things Aunt Janetta has from her great grandmother, Ada Christensen Almond, is her lace hook. It’s a vintage Hero brand hook, size nine, made in England. We aren’t sure how old the hook is, or where grandma got it, but it was passed down to her after grandma Ada died, and Janetta treasures it.

Ada and Moroni Almond on their 50th wedding anniversary.

Ada and Moroni Almond in front of the house Moroni built in Downy, Idaho in the 1930’s.  This picture was taken on their 50th wedding anniversary. 1951

Grandma Ada lived a lot of her life in Downey, Idaho. My mother visited her in 1973. She told my mother stories and recited poetry from memory:

“Grandma Ada Christensen Almond had a sharp memory and was kind and patient even though she was confined to her bed and probably had aches and pains. We had a memorable visit and I am glad I got to know her. She later crocheted a baby blanket for me when Angela was born.”

That baby blanket was for me, she died before I knew her, but I still have it.  It’s one of the things I treasure from my heritage.  In the beautiful white yarn are woven her sparkling silver hairs every so often.  It’s  a treasure.

These are some memories from her life history–

“The earliest I remember was living on the homestead in Newton, Utah, and seeing my father walk out into the grain field with the grain as tall as he was. And then the Indians coming to glean the grain after the harvest. They would camp down by the stacks and glean every head of wheat that the binder or the thresher left and they were always friendly and father and mother treated them kindly.”

Wild Indian Paintbrush

Wild Indian Paintbrush

“Then I remember the fields of flowers. The field below the house would be golden yellow with buttercups and tulips and some parts blue with bluebells and larkspurs, and red with Indian Paintbrush. I remember how we loved to gather the beautiful flowers and fill every possible container. It was spring and flowers were blooming and we would each have our favorite stick to dig the segos and take them home to have creamy milk on them. We thought they were delicious.”

“On the farm it was a constant battle with rabbits, squirrels and frost. Then came the depression and we finally turned it to the Mortgage Company. It was a battle, and we lost, or did we? We gained experience. Then we lived in our house west of Downey where our family grew up, it was a long walk to school for the children and for us to get to church, but usually we made it. After walking a mile or so to the church carrying a baby, it was not so easy to stand and teach a class, but those were good years, struggling to meet the problems as they came. There have been some struggles and problems, as most folks have in raising a large family. The joys in their joys and then accomplishments, which we think are many. The sorrows we have had when tragedy came. I am thankful for the many blessings that come each day.” (they had ten children)

Grandma Almond lived to the age of 95.

My aunt chose a pattern from my library featuring a design reminiscent of blooming wildflowers, perhaps sunflowers, or four sprigs of the wild Indian Paintbrush of grandma Ada’s youth.  It’s a visual pattern from Ondori. The text is in Japanese, but you don’t need to read Japanese to use it, the crochet symbols on the pattern are universal.

Sunflower design, set on diagonal with handkerchief edging from a Japanese visual pattern by Ondori

Wildflower design, set on diagonal with handkerchief edging from a Japanese visual pattern by Ondori

Ondori Crochet Pattern Book

This is the Ondori pattern book we got this pattern from

An interesting thing about this design was the modification we made to set the square on diagonal. The original pattern calls for the motifs to be set flat on an edge:

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We liked it better set on diagonal, so we modified it just a bit.  I like the modification.  When she adds the edge, it will be a slightly different edge as well.  I’m looking forward to seeing the final project.  So beautiful!
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From the Ada Christensen Almond History:

MEMORIES OF GRANDMA ALMOND

Grandma Ada Almond was loved very much by her children and grandchildren. She was always fun to visit. Everyone loved to hear her recite her poetry that she had memorized. It seems she had reams of poetry all memorized–very long standard and classical poems. However, one of them we all liked best, especially after SHE was old was:

YOU SAY THAT I AM GROWING OLD

You say that I am growing old; I tell you that’s not so.
The house I live in is worn out, this, of course, I know.
It’s been in use a long, long while; it’s weathered many a gale
I’m not surprised that you think it’s getting rather frail.

The color of the roof is changing, the windows are growing dim,
The walls are sort of transparent, and getting kind of thin.
The foundation is not as steady as once it used to be.
My house is getting shaky, but my house is not me.

These few long years can’t make me old; I feel I’m in my youth.
Eternity lies just ahead–a life of joy and truth.
We’re going to live forever there, as life will go on–it’s grand.
You say that I am getting old? You just don’t understand.

The dweller in this little house is young and bright, I say,
Just waiting in this little house to last through every day.
You only see the outside, which is all that most folks do.
But listen, friend, to what I say, and you can understand too.
You say that I am growing old? Oh, no, I’m not, you see!
Just stop and think about it dear, You’ve mixed my house with me.

From the Treasure Box: My First Lace

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I found this in an old box in the garage, full of lacy bits and memories. I showed it to my husband. “Do you know what this is? It’s the handkerchief I made for the Mount Timpanogos Temple dedication.” So many memories attached to this lace.

The Timpanogos Temple was the first temple we’d ever had the opportunity to see built and dedicated. At the time, we were newly married, and students at BYU– barely scraping by on 500.00 a month part-time income. We lived next door to Mirla Thayne, who wrote the children’s hymn, “I Wonder When He Comes Again”.  It was about a year before she died. 

I also  worked, but from home, caring for our upstairs neighbor with Alzheimer’s.  Clyde.  I’ll never forget Clyde, he was a character, and as innocent as the four year olds in my Sunbeam class.  Oh the adventures we had with him– once we found all his clothes neatly hanging from the front door.  He’d mistaken it for the bathroom door, and by the time he got out of the house, forgot he was going to take a shower, and figured it was time for a walk.  Off he went, and after him I ran.  That job carried our rent, and Troy’s income paid for everything else. My mind can hardly wrap around those meager figures looking back, but Troy, who keeps everything, still has the pay stubs to prove it.

There’s a part near the end of every temple dedication that requires a clean, white, handkerchief.  I didn’t have one.  I looked at the budget.  No help there.  I wanted to make something special for the temple dedication rather than just order something I didn’t have money for anyway, so I bought thread, a hook, and a book of lace edging patterns with my meager budget instead. I began working the simplest pattern possible. I was nervous, but too new at this sort of thing to be daunted. Though I had seen others do it, this was my very first experience making lace.

After a few false starts, I began to get the hang of the smaller thread, and the lace started looking like something. When I finished, I was so proud of my work, I had no idea how rough and primitive it was. I only saw beauty, and it was beautiful.IMG_20140817_174312631_HDRLater, my mother-in-law sent me a few other temple handkerchiefs, finer in detail, and smaller in thread. The difference, rather than discouraging me, inspired me, and my interest in laces grew.

That was October 1996. Less than four years later, we’d graduated from BYU and moved to the east coast with Troy’s first job at BBN Technologies in Boston.  We watched and participated with interest as the Boston Temple took shape.  We lived in Waltham, Marlborough, and then Billerica, where I started and finished my first altar cloth.  In October 2000, I attended my second temple dedication–this time for the Boston Temple.

There’s something of yourself that gets put in things that you work hard for.  I don’t know which of my several lace handkerchiefs I used for that dedication, but I’ll never forget my first. I still can’t make a size 80 tatted handkerchief edging, but there’s always room to grow.

Of all the laces, bonnets, blankets, and edgings I’ve made over my life, I’m tickled to realize that even my very first, was for the love of the temple.

Two Temple Handkerchiefs

Side by side– my first size 10 thread crochet edged thick cotton handkerchief on the left. On the right is a size 80 thread tatted lace edged delicate linen handkerchief. Both beautiful.

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The Spirit Is In The Details: from the Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

“A mechanical problem with the plane to be used by President Gordon B. Hinckley to travel to the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple dedication resulted in a historic first: the dedication of two temples on the same day. The Regina Saskatchewan Temple, scheduled to be dedicated by President Hinckley the next day, was instead dedicated by Elder Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while President Hinckley presided over the postponed dedicatory sessions for the Halifax temple. Richard Moses, second counselor in the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake presidency and chairman of the local temple committee, noted, “When the dedication was postponed, members showed no irritation, but inquired what they could do, like opening their homes to help offset the expense of those who would need to stay an extra night to attend the dedication.” He added, “It is impossible – there are not words – to adequately express our gratitude for this temple. No longer do we just look at a picture of a temple. Now, when my daughters look out their bedroom window, they see the softly lighted figure of the Angel Moroni standing as a beacon over the area.”

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To attend the dedication, members in the Bay Roberts, Grand Falls and Corner Brook branches drove six to eight hours to a sea port where they ferried to Nova Scotia during the night, then drove four more hours to the temple. Members from Maine drove eight hours to attend. Members in New Brunswick and on Prince Edward Island also drove many hours. “These are faithful people who don’t consider attending the temple to be a sacrifice,” President Moses said.

The influence of the temple reached deep into the hearts of many non-members, continued Pres. Moses, noting the concern expressed by a reporter of the province’s largest newspaper. “After completing a tour during the open house, and obviously touched by what he was feeling, the reporter commented that there was no way he could write what he felt in the small space he would be given for the article.” On another occasion, “A man dressed in leather and sporting many tattoos came to the open house. He was quiet during the tour and sat by himself in the celestial room. Soon, tears were flowing.” A member brought his non-member mother to the open house. Sitting in the celestial room she said, “I’ve never felt closer to God.”

During construction, “we found the counsel of Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy to be true: the Spirit is in the details,” said President Moses, noting how the members found joy in making the temple as perfect as possible. When several flecks of grouting were found on the bottom of the baptismal font after last-minute tile work done the day before the dedication, members were willing to drain, then re-fill the font.”

President Moses recounted an experience one evening in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, that demonstrates the love of the members for the temple. “We were taking a tour through the temple district to give a report on the progress of the temple and show them a sample of the granite stone. At one point, I asked for volunteers to crochet altar cloths. A blind sister sitting on the front row quickly volunteered. ‘I’d like to do this,’ she said, and rather forthrightly, requested a pattern. A hush fell over the others as they considered the sacrifice she was making. Then they quickly volunteered.” (Church News, 20 November 1999).

Gold Gleams in the Ashes

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As I was working on my altar lace last night, I remembered this poem.  It’s such beautiful imagery.  I’ve been thinking about the examples we have been given by those who came before us and left us this legacy of faith.

Sister Vilate C. Raile penned these words regarding the pioneers:

They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fires of tribulation.
Long after when the fires had died,
Molten gold gleamed in the ashes.
They gathered it in bruised palms
And handed it to their children
And their children’s children forever.

On my bathroom wall, I have quotes of all kinds taped.  This is one of my favorites:

“May we do as much with the blessings we have been given as [our ancestors] did out of the deprivations so many of them faced. In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord.”” –Jeffrey R. Holland

Yesterday I watched Only a Stonecutter with my children.  I love John Rowe Moyle for his work on the Salt Lake Temple.  Lace, gold, stone– somehow, it’s all applicable.