Irish Crochet Buttons to Make

Irish crochet provided much needed income as piecework during the nineteenth century in Ireland. For the 11th-annual Lace Issue of PieceWork, May/June 2018, contributor Pat Olski shares her adaptation of two timeless Irish crochet buttons to make. Time-consuming though the technique may be, small projects, such as buttons, are the perfect introduction to this lovely form of lace.

Here’s Pat to tell us more:

The title of an article in the March 26, 1910, edition of The Washington Times announces “Irish Crocheted Buttons Used to Replace Pearl on Waists.” The article describes in detail how the buttons should be used and even gives instructions for cleaning them. The opinion that “these lace buttons are more effective on a smart fine blouse than any pearl button, and that any addition of baby Irish [lace] is effective” is more relevant today than the accompanying directive to cleaning the buttons with gasoline and a sponge! A pattern printed in a 1912 book notes that “pearl buttons are excellent for covering if regular button molds are not at hand.”

A button is a great entrée into the fanciful world of singular stitches and dimensional lace motifs that are the characteristic features of Irish crochet. I adapted patterns from Irish Crochet Lace and The Priscilla Irish Crochet Book No. 2 for the Seventh-Wheel Button and the Roll-Stitch Button, respectively.

Irish crochet buttons

Pat Olski’s stunning Irish crochet buttons will add pizzazz to any garment. The Roll Stitch Button is the smaller of the two (at left); the Seventh-Wheel Button is the larger one (at right). Photos by George Boe.

Materials

Seventh-Wheel Button

  • DMC Pearl Cotton, size 12, 100% mercerized cotton thread, 131 yard (119.8 m)/10 gram (0.4 oz) ball, 1 ball of #712 Cream
  • DMC Pearl Cotton, size 3, 100% mercerized cotton thread, 16 yard (14.6 m)/14 gram (½ oz) skein, 1 skein of # 712 Cream
  • Crochet hook, steel, size 6 (1.00 mm)
  • Knitting needle, size 6 (4 mm)
  • Dritz Half Ball Cover Buttons, size 75, 1⅞ inches (4.8 cm)
  • Cotton fabric, lightweight to cover button form
  • John James Needle, tapestry, size 24

Finished size: 1⅞ inches (4.8 cm) in diameter

Roll-Stitch Button

  • DMC Cebelia, size 30, 100% mercerized cotton thread, 567 yard (518.5 m)/50 gram (1¾ oz) ball, 1 ball of #712 Cream
  • Crochet hook, steel, size 6 (1.00 mm)
  • Dritz Half Ball Button, size 45, 1⅛ inches (2.9 cm)
  • Cotton fabric, lightweight to cover button form
  • John James Needle, tapestry, size 24

Finished size: 1⅛ inch (2.9 cm) in diameter

Make a set of Irish crochet buttons for your next jacket or dress, and download a copy of the May/June 2018 issue of PieceWork. Learn more about other forms of Victorian-era lace in “A Victorian Lace Square to Appliqué and Embroider,”also in the May/June 2018 issue.

Featured Image: Detail of the Seventh-Wheel Button.


Learn more about the history of lace in PieceWork!

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