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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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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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

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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Chicago Temple: Story of Dedication and Sacrifice

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Altar Lace: A gift to the Lord

I came across this story in my search for historical accounts of other LDS lace makers. The story of this 78 year old sister was just beautiful:

“The dedication was a day of fulfillment for many of the temple district’s 160,000 members in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. In addition to contributing toward building of the temple, many had labored to help furnish it or make it ready for the dedication.

A couple from the Wilmette Illinois Stake, for example, helped unload and place furniture in the temple, then clean it prior to the open house, which began July 15. “It was such a privilege to be asked to help,” the wife recalled. “We wept as we vacuumed and dusted.”

Women from throughout the temple district who are skilled in crocheting and tatting made altar cloths for the ordinance and sealing rooms. One 78-year-old sister from Indiana wrote that though the infirmities of age might make it difficult for her to go to the temple, she was thrilled to be able to participate in this way. An 82-year-old sister from the Dayton Ohio East Stake sent with her finished altar cloth a note offering to make a second one if it were needed; she wept when she received a telephone call accepting her offer.

A group of girls in the St. Paul Third Ward, St. Paul Minnesota Stake, made a dozen dolls for the nursery in the temple, each named for the girl who made it, with the names embroidered on the back. The dolls were presented as the girls toured the temple during the open house. Afterward, their leaders wrote to temple matron Betty Cahoon: “It was an exceptionally good experience for the girls to do something that would be meaningful for the young people. It will be a wonderful memory for them.”

The temple not only touched Latter-day Saints, but also many non-LDS visitors. Some 100,065 visited the temple before the open house ended August 3. They expressed sentiments such as “an obvious place of devotion,” “I felt the hand of God,” “everyone should feel closer to God in this special place.”

Read the entire article in the October 1985 Ensign.

64 Crochet Lace Altar Cloths

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Gift of Faith: Hand crocheted altar lace for the Lord

I came across this story from LDS.org.  I love the faith!

“I visited the temple in Buenos Aires. Feelings of gratitude welled up within me to know that within the four dedicated temples of South America the fulness of the gospel is blessing the members of the Church.

An example of the marvelous commitment of the Saints of South America was demonstrated by the dear sisters hand crocheting sixty-four altar cloths for the Buenos Aires Temple when only seven were requested.

–Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign May 1986, “The Kingdom Rolls Forth in South America”

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace Edging (Pattern)

Grandma Lillie's Star Lace

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace

Grandma Lillie’s Star Lace Edging Pattern for Crochet

Ch 70

Row 1:  dc in 4th ch from hook, 3 dc in same ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, sc  in next 5 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, dc in next 4 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, sc in next 5 ch, ch 8, skip next 8 ch, dc in next 4 ch,* ch 2. Skip 2 ch , dc in next ch, *  repeat from* to* 4 times to last ch.

Row 2: Turn, ch 5(ch 5 counts as 1st dc and 2 ch threw out design), dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc , 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc,   ch 3 ,* dc in last dc of dc-4,  3 dc in ch-8 space, ch 7, skip first sc and sc in next 3 sc,  ch 7,  3dc in next ch-8 space, dc in next dc, ch 3 * Repeat one more time from * to*, dc in next dc, 3 dc in ch-3 space.

Row 3: Turn, Ch 4,  4 dc in top of 1st dc, *ch 3, trc in ch-3 space, ch 3, dc in last dc of 4-dc,3 dc in ch-7 space,  ch 5, skip 1st sc, sc in next sc, ch 5, 3 dc in ch-7 space, dc in first of 4-dc, * repeat from * to * ch 3, trc in ch-3 space, ch 3, dc in last dc of 4-dc, 2dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Star Lace Edging, detail

Star Lace Edging, detail

Row 4: Turn, Ch 5, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, *ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, sc in trc, sc in next ch-3 space,  ch 6, dc in last dc of 4-dc,  3dc in next ch-5 space, ch 2, trc in sc, ch 2, 3 dc in next ch-5 space, dc in first dc of 4-dc, repeatfrom  * one time,  ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, sc in trc, scc in next ch-3 space, ch 6, 4 dc in ch-3 space.

Row 5: Turn, Ch 4,  4 dc in top of 1st dc, * ch 8, sc in ch-6 space,  sc in next 3 sc, sc in next ch-6 space, ch 8, ** 2 dc in ch-2 space, 2 dc in next ch-2 space, * Repeat once from * to * repeat again  from * to **, dc in last dc of 4-dc, 2 dc in ch-2 space, dc in next dc, ch2,  dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Row 6: Turn, Ch 5,  dc in top of 1st dc, ch 2, skip next 2 dc, dc in next dc  * 3 dc in ch-8 space, ch 6, skip  sc, sc in next 3 sc, ch 6 , 3 dc in ch-8 space, dc in top of next dc, ch 3, dc in last of 4-dc*  Repeat 2 more times. Ch 3.

Row 7: Turn * 1 dc in top of 4th dc of 4-dc, 3 dc in ch-6 space, ch 5, skip sc, sc in next sc ,ch 5, 3 dc in ch-6 space, 1 dc in next dc,**ch 3, 1 trc in sc , ch 3,*  Repeat from * to * 1 more time, then repeat from * to ** ch 2, dc in last dc of 4-dc , ch 2, dc in top next dc, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch of ch-5.

Row 8: Turn, ch 5, dc in top of next dc , ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2, dc in next dc of 4 dc, ch2,skip next 2 dc, dc  in next dc of 4-dc,* 3 dc in ch-5 space, Ch 2, 1 trc in sc, ch 2, 3 dc in ch-5 space,1 dc in next dc, ** ch 6, sc in ch-3 space, 1 sc in trc, 1 sc in ch-3 space, ch 6, dc in last dc of 4-dc*, Repeat from *to* once .  Repeat from * to **.

Row 9: Turn, ch 3, *2 dc in ch-2 space, 2dc in next ch-2 space, ch 8, 1 sc in ch-6 space, 3sc in next sc, sc in next ch-6 space,  ch 8*  Repeat  from * to * one more time, 2 dc in ch-2 space, 2dc in next ch-2 space, ch 2,skip 2 dc, dc in next dc of 4-dc, ch2, dc in next dc 3times, ch 2, dc in 3rd ch in ch-5.

Repeat starting with Row2:  through Row 9: until it is long enough.    Shrinkage is usually 1 inch for every 20 inches.  So make it  an inch longer for every 20 inches of finished product. If making a pillow case, connect on row 8 to the other end. I used a 60 wt thread and # 12 crochet needle.

Lillie's pillowcase lace pattern on a sheet set --by Mary Rockwood

Lillie’s Star Lace Pattern on a sheet set –made by her granddaughter, Mary Rockwood

Grandma Lillie’s Heirloom Lace Bonnet

Reproduction of the bonnet Lillie Lang Robison made for her daughter, Birdie Isabella Robison Swasy, by her granddaughter, Mary Swasey Rockwood

Grandma Lillie’s Heirloom Roll Stitch Blessing Bonnet

This bonnet is a beautiful reproduction of the bonnet Grandma Lillie Lang Robison created for her daughter, Birdie Isabella Robison Swasey.  It was made by Birdie’s daughter, Mary Swasey Rockwood, who has the original lace bonnet.  The original bonnet is nearly 100 years old.  Mary has made many copies of this bonnet, one for each of her grandchildren to wear for their blessing day, and to keep to remember their heritage.

Lillie Lang Robison, who designed the original bonnet, was a talented lace maker.  She designed this bonnet without a pattern.  There are a few variations of it in the extended family, but this one is a favorite.

One of the most distinctive features of this pattern is the use of the roll stitch, also known as the bullion stitch.  Usually roll stitches and bullion stitches are short, but these are long.  The longer the roll, the harder it is to make. Pulling one loop through a long tube of loops takes patience and skill.

Mary studied grandma Lillie’s lace until she figured out how to reproduce the distinctive stitches.  The bent roll stitches, (they look like pill bugs), are made the same way as the straight ones.  Yarn over 18-20 times, hold it steady, and pull one loop through the roll of yarn overs.  It takes a special brand of hook to do it well. Mary uses only steel Boye hooks for her roll stitch patterns because they are straight enough to make the rolls without having one end graduate larger than the other.  She has been able to reproduce this stitch and pattern in even size 100 thread, the very smallest thread available.

Because of the heritage associated with these stitches, I often try to incorporate them into laces I design.  I love this pattern. It is beautiful.

Grandma Lillie's Lace Bonnet, detail side

Grandma Lillie’s Lace Bonnet, detail side

Grandma Lillie's Bonnet, roll stitch lace edge

Grandma Lillie’s Bonnet, roll stitch lace edge

Grandma Lillie's Lace Bonnet

Grandma Lillie’s Lace Bonnet

Twin Falls Idaho Temple: Crochet Lace Altar Cloth by Kiren

Altar Cloth, made for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, with love by Kiren

Crochet Lace Altar Cloth: made for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, with love from Kiren

Twin Falls Idaho Temple-- by Robert A. Boyd

Twin Falls Idaho Temple– by Robert A. Boyd

This beautiful crochet lace altar cloth was made by a lacemaker for the Idaho Twin Falls Temple:

“I’ve wanted to make a temple altar cloth for a long time and was so excited for this opportunity. There are a total of 273 motifs–each one took 20-30 minutes to make (to give you an idea of the time that went into this project).

It turned out beautifully and I’m excited to know that it’s going to a temple near where I grew up.”  –Kiren

Kiren crochets all kinds of things, and also enjoys tatting.  Such a beautiful lace.

Lace altar cloth for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, detail

Lace altar cloth for the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, detail