The following is a set of lace-making instructions for making an Irish Lace Collar Band. It was originally published in Needlecraft No. 21 (1910), at the end of the Edwardian era.
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As the best method of teaching Irish crochet lace is to give detailed instructions for an easy piece of it, we shall proceed to give directions how to work a collar band.
The materials necessary for the collar band are a reel of Manlove’s Irish lace thread, cream shade, in size No. 42, a small quantity of Harris’ crochet lace padding thread to form the cord, a fine crochet needle, a mesh No. 7 by Walker’s bell gauge, and an “Emerald” foundation pattern.
Part 1: The Flower
For the cord take three strands of Harris’ crochet lace padding thread together and work 30 double stitches over them, join into a ring for the centre.
1st petal. 20 double stitches over the cord, turn with 1 chain, leave the cord and work 15 treble, 5 double down the 20 double, (working into both strands) 1 single into the centre ring, turn, 8 double, 11 treble, 1 double; work 1 single into the last stitch worked over the cord; arrange the petal by tightening or loosening the first row worked over the cord as may be necessary to give it a slight downward curve. Work 2 double over the cord; turn the cord over and work double stitch over it all along the last 20 stitches, 1 double over the cord alone, 2 double over the cord and into the ring. There should now be a complete petal edged all round with cord. Each petal should occupy 4 stitches on the centre ring, so that there should be a space of 6 stitches between the first and last petal.
2nd petal. 1 double over the cord, turn it back and work 5 double over the cord and into the last 5 double of the first petal; 20 double over the cord, turn with 1 chain and leave the cord. Work 20 treble 5 double into the 25 double, 1 single into the centre ring, turn, 8 double, 16 treble, 1 double, work 1 single into the last stitch worked over the cord; arrange the curve of the petal, and work 2 double over the cord; turn the cord back and work double stitch over it into the last 25 stitches, 1 double over the cord, 2 double over the cord into the centre ring.
3rd, 4th, and 5th petals. The same as the second. The three first petals should curve nicely towards the right and the last three towards the left.
6th petal. The same as the first only joining it to the fifth by working the first five stitches into it. Add an edging to the petals by working 5 chain, miss 2, 1 double the whole way round, a treble into each of the upper stitches where the petals are joined will turn the corners neatly. Fasten off carefully, overcasting the ends of the ends of cord on the wrong side of the flower with a sewing needle threaded with some of the cotton thread.
The Stem is made by working double stitch along 2 inches of cord (i.e. three strands of padding thread), then turning and working a second row over the cord into the first. The curve is given to it by drawing one cord tighter than the other, and pulling the work gently into shape. Edge the stem to match the flower. Overcast the ends of cord, turning them over on the wrong side of the stem, and then sew the stem strongly to the flower behind the space between the first and sixth petal.
The Centre of the Flower. Wind a strand of padding thread fifteen times round a No. 7 mesh, withdraw it carefully without disturbing it, and crochet double stitch over it till it is quite full, 1 single to join. Edge the ring all round with 9 chain, miss 2, 1 double. Some workers find it difficult to remove the ring neatly from the mesh, in which case it is advisable to make it retain its shape by overcasting it before removing it, with a sewing needle threaded with the cotton thread. Sew this ring over the foundation ring in the centre of the flower, taking care that no stitches make themselves apparent on the right side, and that it is perfectly secure. These are better added the last thing after the filling is done.
Make six flowers turning the stems of three to the right and three to the left. Sew these six flowers strongly in their places upon the foundation, just as you would sew braid upon a design intended for modern point lace, making it so secure that the curves cannot be pulled out of shape when you are working the filling.
As any margin left in the foundation is extremely inconvenient to the worker, it is necessary to cut off all material outside the shaping line, that is the line on which the edging is worked.
Part 2: Solid filling with picots
As no beginner should ever put her first attempt at filling into a piece of lace, but should practice beforehand on something of no importance, we shall describe the method of working the solid filling with picots, used in this design, taking a square space for a model. A very little practice will make the method quite plain, and then the worker can fill in all spaces of any shape at her own discretion.
Make an open square of crochet as follows: 90 chain, join, *25 treble, 3 chain to make a corner; 20 treble, 3 chain to make a corner; repeat from *, join with a single stitch and fasten off. Sew this square on a strong piece of paper, or on a scrap of the “Emerald” foundation, with the 20 stitch edges to the top and bottom.
Commence the filling by working a single stitch into the fifth stitch above the lower left hand corner; 7 chain, join to the fourth stitch to the right of corner thus– take out the needle and insert it where you wish to make the joining, draw through the loop, keep the paper well folded back just where you are working. Work 6 double to the middle of the 7 chain, 8 chain, 1 single into the first stitch of the 8 chain to form a picot; 6 double to the end of same 7 chain. This forms a solid bar with a picot.
Creep up the side of the square with 6 single; 6 chain, join in second stitch to the left of the picot on the bar, 2 double on the 6 chain, 12 chain, join in third stitch to right of picot, 8 double on the 12 chain, 3 chain join to the eleventh stitch to the right of the corner; return 4 double on the 3 chain, 6 double, 1 picot, 6 double on the 12 chain; 5 double on the 6 chain, 1 single into the edge; 9 chain join to the left of the last picot, 2 double on the 9 chain; 12 chain, join to the third stitch to the right of the same picot, 4 double on the 12 chain; 9 chain, join to the centre of the 4 double in previous row, 2 double on the 9 chain; 4 chain, join on the edge 4 stitches to the right of the last joining; return, 4 double, 1 picot, 4 double on the 4 chain; 4 double on the last 9 chain; return, 10 chain, join to the edge half-way between the last joining and the right hand lower corner; 5 double upon the 10 chain, join to the right hand edge 5 stitches above the corner double, 1 picot, 4 double upon the same 10 chain: 2 double, 1 picot, 2 double on the next 9 chain; 6 double, 1 picot, 6 double on the next chain-stitch bar, 4 double, 1 picot, 4 double on the next chain-stitch bar, 1 single into the left hand edge. Work 5 single up the left hand edge; 5 chain, join to left of last picot, 3 double upon 5 chain, 8 chain, join to left of next picot, 3 double on the 8 chain; 12 chain, join to the right of the same picot.
When so much has been worked, the general plan of the filling should be understood, and the pupil should continue to fill the square at her discretion, joining to the top and right-hand edges when the filling reaches them. Note that the chain-stitch bars in this solid filling must all go from left to right, because the double stitch must return upon them from right to left. The numbers of chain-stitch in these bars suit for an average worker, anyone who works extremely close chain-stitch would have to increase the numbers of stitches in order not to draw in the sides of the square.
There is nothing so puzzling at first as “where to go next” in a filling, but there is no way out of the difficulty except by taking your courage in both hands and going somewhere, and by degrees the difficulty will vanish, never to return. Beginners are apt to come to a standstill very often and fasten off; but a little experience will show how this may be avoided. To prevent frequent fastenings off many good lace makers cross stems, &c., by crocheting imperceptibly into them, others cross behind from edge to edge with a bar of chain-stitch. Sometimes it is impossible to creep along an edge with single stitch to make a new starting point at the left side of a space, and a small bar of chain-stitch becomes necessary, but it should be made as unobtrusive as possible.
There is a general principle which should be observed in all fillings; that is, to make the holes between the bars as uniform in size as possible, even when, as in this filling, they must be varied in shape. Nothing looks worse than to see one portion openly filled, and another closely filled in the same piece of lace.
Part 3: Shaping the Collar Band
When you are working the filling near the margin of a piece of Irish crochet lace, you must endeavour to keep exactly to the shape of the foundation pattern in order to leave as little shaping as possible to be done afterwards. It is, however, always necessary to work a special row to bring the work into trim order, as without it there must always be a trifling unevenness along the margin. This row is usually worked as follows– 3 chain miss a space equal to 3 chain, 1 treble; repeat. Discretion must be used in substituting a single, double, or long stitch for the treble, as occasion may require, to make the margin perfectly even. When this row is complete, there should be the appearance of an even line of chain-stitch all round the collar, neither unduly tightened, nor yet too full, and with discreetly turned square coners. The collar should now be removed from the foundation.
Part 4: Edging the Collar Band
* 4 double on the next 3 chain, repeat from *, 3 double on the next 3 chain, 10 chain; return, miss 6 double, join to the seventh, 17 double on the 10 chain, 1 double beside the 3 double on the 3 chain; 7 chain, return, join to the thirteenth double, 7 chain, join to the 9th double, 7 chain, join to the fifth double, 7 chain, join beside the first double; 4 double on the last 7 chain, 7 chain, 1 single on the first of the 7 chain to form a picot, 4 double on the same 7 chain; * 4 double, 1 picot, 4 double on the next 7 chain, repeat from * twice more; 4 double on the next 3 chain. This completes one pattern. Repeat this all along the top and ends of the collar band, putting only half a pattern at the lower portion of each end. The lower margin of the band has no edging, but is merely finished by working double stitch all along the shaping row, 4 double over each 3 chain.
When working an edging all round a piece of lace, one must look ahead to make it come in correctly by managing the spacing carefully, so that no gap or overcrowding may appear where the beginning and end meet. In this collar band the ends should exactly match.
When the edging is completed the collar may be pressed with a hot iron as already directed.