Learn About Yap Crochet Lace

Just over two years ago, I crocheted several yards of lace edging to trim a dress for my newborn niece. An heirloom was created, and I was in love. Handmade crochet lace is at the same time elegant and unique. And because crocheted lace can't be created with a machine, you know that each piece has a story to tell.

  Laura Ricketts's stand-out Irish crochet cuffs. For the Mayo Clinic's May 2014 gala reception wrapping up the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration of family patriarch William Worrall Mayo's moving to Rochester, Minnesota, she wore a black dress with these cuffs inspired by those on Edith Mayo's duster.

The newest issue of PieceWork shares both incredible stories of both the crocheters and recipients of lace and the historical techniques used to create it. I was fascinated by the story of Edith Graham Mayo (of the Mayo Clinic) and her collection of Irish crochet, including a stunning duster. The Irish Crochet Cuffs inspired by Edith's story are simply incredible.

Detail of Edith Graham Mayo's duster, showing the Irish crochet collar. Collection of the author. Photograph by Joe Coca.  

But it was the Yap lace that really caught my attention. I have never seen a crochet lace edging quite like this technique. Here is author Bart Elwell to tell us a little bit more about Yap Lace.

Yap Lace Edging

Yap Lace, a pattern that incorporates an interesting structure of crochet combined with needle lace, is a captivating edging whose name raises the question: was its name the designer's idea of a clever twist on an old classic or simply a printer's misspelling? The instructions for this lace, originally published in an 1874 volume of Peterson's Magazine, are among the many patterns attributed to Mrs. Jane Weaver that the magazine published from the 1860s to the 1880s. Aside from her contributions to Peterson's, I have found no further information about Mrs. Weaver.

  Bart Elwell's exquisite Yap Lace incorporates an interesting structure of crochet combined with needle lace. Vintage crochet hooks from the collection of
the designer; Lizbeth thread courtesy of Handy Hands.

The old classic referred to above was Yak Lace, a coarse bobbin lace made in Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire of yak hair (as well as of worsted wool). It seems to have little resemblance to Mrs. Weaver's Yap Lace, whose name appears only in the title of the Peterson's pattern with no further explanation or comment.

-Bart Elwell, PieceWork July/August 2014

I love the fun history lesson, and I can't wait to try the historical Yap Lace. Wouldn't it look stunning around the cuff of a shirt or the hem of a skirt? Subscribe to PieceWork today and you'll discover more historical technique and patterns.

Best wishes,

P.S. Have you crocheted a lace edging? Tell us about how you used your crochet lace.

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