|bullion stitches at top, limpet stitches at bottom|
Possibly the toughest stitch we did was the bullion stitch. Like the Tunisian stitches, this is another technique where a crochet hook with a long plain throat is better than one with a thumb rest. The bullion stitch makes fabulous texture by wrapping the yarn multiple times around the throat of the crochet hook and then pulling a loop through this long spiral worm. As you might guess, part of the trick is not catching the spiral loops on the hook. Scrunching the spiral worm together helps, as it makes the spiral open outward ever so slightly.
As you can see from the picture, a shell of bullion stitches makes a lovely edge. Rita had us work picots on the other edge. When I got home, I also made a swatch using limpet stitch. It is similar to bullion, except the stitches are "cast-on" to the hook with half-hitches, similar to backward loop or e-cast-on in knitting. The limpet stitch ends up with a line between the coils. Both techniques would be great ways to embellish a quiet design to give it more drama.
|Irish crochet Rose of Sharon|
The classic Irish motif is, of course, the Rose of Sharon. It is worked from the center out. Basically, you make a wheel with long spokes. Petals are formed over chains connecting the spokes. Layers of ever-larger petals are added behind by using post crochets to lay in more chain structure. The motif is very three-dimensional.
After the bullion stitch, the pattern that gave the class the most trouble was he leaf. The leaf isn't difficult per se, but it is constructed in a way that is not intuitive. The center is established by making a line and working around it. Then the leaf is shaped by swinging back and forth, akin to short rows in knitting. To make it easier to envision, I've drawn a colored diagram. Start at the red and the top and follow the rainbow line in color order to the violet at the bottom.
One thing that helps — the pattern has three single crochet in the same spot whenever you get to the base of the leaf. Once I understood that, it was much easier to keep track of what I was doing.
Overall, the weekend-long workshop was an opportunity to explore a different direction. I'm not sure how much I will use what I learned. For me, creativity is often about learning and exploring and then waiting. You don't know how a technique will be used until you get to the project that incorporates it. The heritage crochet techniques definitely expanded my creative horizons.