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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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.

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 This altar lace was originally made a specific shape by the request  of the temple matron in order to fit a particular altar.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

Lillie and Lily: Another Generation

A trip through history: Lily Adeline with great-grandma Lillie's original lace bonnet and gloves.

A trip through history: Lily Adeline with great-grandma Lillie’s original lace bonnet and gloves.

When a child joins our family by adoption, we have a tradition of holding “Name Changing Day”, and each child receives a name– a gift tied to our family history.  It is a milestone day that we look forward to with each child.  Our philosophy is even if we don’t share biology, we can share history, and that history helps tie our precious children to us.

Each child that has come to our family has a name that is meaningful to our family in some way or another.  My daughter Lily is named Lily Adeline, after my husband’s Great-grandma Lillie and my Great-grandma Ada, both wonderful role models, and women we look up to.

A few years ago we visited Grandma Rockwood’s house in Colorado, and learned more about our grandma Lillie.  While we were there, we saw the original lace bonnet made by Grandma Lillie.  We have a replica of it in our house, but Lily had never seen the original.

Mary taught me grandma Lillie’s roll stitch.  Lily and I sat together as Mary made each beautiful roll.  I was able to learn it, while Lily watched.  When she is ready, I will teach it to her.

Learning Grandma Lillie's Roll Stitch

Learning Grandma Lillie’s Roll Stitch

Lily wrote up her thoughts on her namesake and history here.

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