Irish Crochet Christening Shawl

ETA: Google Analytics tells me that this is my most popular page, so I’m editing it to add more information. IF YOU FIND THIS USEFUL, please let me know via the comments. IF THERE’S ANYTHING THAT NEEDS MORE EXPLANATION, let me know!

1) The FREE crochet pattern is here.
2) It’s lace/thread/Irish crochet. That is why it is NOT wholly crocheted. If you are a lady (or lad) of leisure with servants and have nothing else to do but make a fully crocheted shawl in thread, commence crocheting before the pee has dried on your first positive pregnancy test, and you may finish a satisfactory shawl by the time your youngest grandchild graduates university.
3) It’s a crochet trim / embellishment of a fake quilt base (see below). If you are ‘Irish’ American, this may be of interest to you – a way of celebrating both aspects of your heritage: the Irish crocheting part, and the American quilt-making part (my granny was ‘American’ Irish, born in Philly to immigrants who decided the streets were paved in the same old shite they could get back home, and left).It is a fake quilt because I do not sew. Especially I do not sew tiny flittery wee bits of fabric which for reasons best left to experts in terminal daftitude I have cut from a perfectly good bolt of cloth precisely for the purposes of sewing them back together (my mother quilted. Using saved scraps from torn and clapped clothing, etc. I cut such as this up and crochet cat beds and rugs).

When my sister and then my sister-in-law fell pregnant, I had the idea of making an heirloom lace crochet baptism shawl, similar to the kind of thing my grandmother made, but which vanished on her death. So I got the hooks and the thread – with immense difficulty, as craft shops had all but vanished and eBay didn’t exist – and started. After a few months of tinkering, frogging and fruitless searching for patterns, I came to realise there were not enough hours for me to ever finish it. Bear in mind I was also working full-time and completing a PhD at the time.

The shawl never got made. It wasn’t made for my niece three years later, or for my next nephew two years after that. By this time I was pregnant with my son, and I determined that he at least would have a handmade shawl. So I had a re-think.

By this time, handcrafts had undergone a revival. There were a few more L- and not-so-LYS, though the pickings for Irish crochet were mighty slim. EBay had finally been invented, and there were online patterns.

Even better, I had remembered an altar cloth I made for my uni chaplains many years ago – must get a pic of it up – and had some new ideas. I knew IBC would be christened in the arse-end of winter, so would need something more substantial than lace. So I thought I’d make a quilt that was trimmed with lace crochet – well, initially I was thinking of making a sort of sleeping bag/papoose affair, but my sewing skills aren’t up to it. Now for the original post…

Just remembered this – my son’s Christening shawl.

Sewing: It’s a raw silk sandwich with a filler of thermal curtain lining (interfacing – the thickest I could find). The silk outer was sewn first in a rough oval, leaving just enough room to poke in the filler, then finished. The filler was then sewn in place by sewing through both silk and interfacing about 1/2″ from the edge. I then machine-stitched a pseudo-quilted diamond pattern over the centre by running parallel lines of stitches across from one side to the other, then another set of parallel lines at about 75deg to the first lot.

Crochet: At the crossing points of the diamonds there are 3D Irish crochet roses, and around the outside is a chain made of Irish crochet rings looped together in the making.

I must try to get a better picture sometime.

K

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