Irish Crochet in Video: The Clones Knot, Explained!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up quick, and I decided it was finally time for me to learn the crochet technique of my ancestors. Irish crochet is an intricate method for making lace with a lot of historical significance. I am very excited that this ode to my ancestry will be taught at Interweave Yarn Fest this year. If you’ve always wanted to learn, join us in Loveland, Colorado during the second weekend in April. (See Susan Lowman’s Yarn Fest course page for more information)

Did you know that Irish crochet helped save lives during the great famine in 1845? I learned more about its history from Dora Ohrenstein’s article in Interweave Crochet Fall 2016.

In “Irish Crochet: From Disaster to Triumph” Dora states:

  • Entirely dependent on a diet of potatoes, and with no other means of earning a living beyond farming, the Irish poor suffered mass starvation as a result of the potato blight. . . From this misery was launched the beautiful art form we know today as Irish crochet. In the face of the crisis, educated Irish women, many of them convent nuns, took on the responsibility of alleviating the suffering by training girls in the art of lacemaking. Crochet was one of several laces developed in Ireland during and after the famine; other forms included those based on needle and bobbin laces or tambour embroidery on machine net. Of all these laces, crochet became the most popular and earned the most money for those who learned it.

My grandmother says that my ancestors emigrated to the United States years after the potato famine. They miraculously survived when so many were suffering from starvation. There is a chance that I’m only here today because of Irish crochet.

I had so much fun making this video with my friend and colleague, Dana Bincer. She took some time to show me the Clones knot so my adventure into Irish crochet could finally begin! The Clones knot is used to join motifs in Irish crochet and Dana walks me through each step of this stitch and answered all my questions. If the history of this technique has piqued your interest, start out learning the Clones knot with Dana and me in this fun video.

To learn more about Irish crochet, check out the Irish Crochet Digital Collection. It features patterns for a Christening Bonnet, Irish Crochet Cuffs, a Step-by-Step Guide to Clones Lace with 12 Irish Crochet Motif Patterns, and the video download of Interweave Crochet Workshop: Irish Crochet and Clones Lace with Maire Treanor. I started watching the Crochet Workshop with Maire Treanor, and I can’t wait to continue learning this fascinating technique from someone who grew up in the heart of Ireland.

Take advantage of this holiday to connect to your own heritage (as I have) or broaden your crochet horizons and learn something new.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy stitching!

—Sara Dudek
Associate Editor, Interweave Crochet

Irish Crochet: You Can Do It, Too!


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