Vintage Fashions - Irish Industries : Over Sixty Years A Lace Store - 1908
76, Grafton Street, Dublin.
Soley Devoted to the Sale of Irish Goods.
Irish Hand-Made Lace and Crochet, Embroideries, Tweeds, Homespuns, Etc.
Telegrams -- INDUSTRIES
76, Grafton Street. Established 1847. "Over Sixty Years a Lace Store."
Cunard Daily Bulletin, R.M.S. "Etruria." Friday, September 11, 1908, Page 22
History of Irish Industries Lacemaking
In the 19th century, as Ireland was facing the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), crochet lace work was introduced as a form of famine relief (the production of crocheted lace being an alternative way of making money for impoverished Irish workers). Mademoiselle Riego de la Blanchardiere is generally credited with the invention of Irish Crochet, publishing the first book of patterns in 1846. Irish lace became popular in Europe and America, and was made in quantity until the first World War.
"Kenmare lace" is a needlepoint Irish lace based on the detached buttonhole stitch. (It is sometimes called needle-lace to distinguish it from canvas needlepoint.) Linen thread was used by nuns to make needlepoint lace. Suitable linen thread is no longer available so today cotton thread is used.
Kenmare needlepoint lace begins with two pieces of cloth. Over this is layered a pattern and a matt contact. Thread is laid over top in the outline of the design and secured with a fine detached buttonhole stitch in a process called "couching". The pattern is filled in by working in from the outline. The tension makes the pattern. How tightly the stitches are pulled determines whether the pattern's stitches are open or tight. When the work is finished, the thread holding down the outline is cut thus releasing the lace from the cloth backing.
19th century Irish Crochet Lace
"Irish crochet" is a type of lace that has its origin in the famine years of the 19th century in Ireland. Charity groups sought to revive the economy by teaching crochet lace technique at no charge to anyone willing to learn. This type of lace is characterized by separately crocheted motifs, which were later assembled into a mesh background. Other types of Irish crochet include Rosslea and Clones lace.
Irish Crochet Lace is made with a very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. It begins with an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. Each motif is then crocheted separately, using cotton cord for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted (sewn with a loose stitch for temporary tacking) onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. The motifs are then joined using chains and picots. When all the motifs have been joined together forming one piece of lace the basting stitch is removed from the back cloth revealing the completed lace.