Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: The Harmony Guide to 100’s More Crochet Stitches

This week’s pick:The Harmony Guide to 100’s More Crochet Stitches (Harmony guides)

Source: Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles online store

Publication date: 1992

Status: Out of print.  Available online with prices ranging from “reasonable” to “apply for a line of credit.”

Condition: Very good

Craft(s): Crochet and Tunisian crochet

I previously reviewed this book as part of a compilation of over 20 crochet stitch guides here.  But there are a few things that make it stand out for me.

There’s a nice section on Irish crochet, which seems to be coming back into popularity.  There is an intro and slightly over a page of illustrated instructions for padding threads, working into base stitches, and making Clones knots.  There are also 7 patterns for stitches worked flat, 7 small motif patterns, 11 larger motif patterns, and a curlicue pattern.

All of the patterns in the book, including the Tunisian crochet patterns, are both written and charted.  This is the earliest English language book in my collection that uses international stitch symbols.  (You can see the Tunisian crochet bobble symbol in the description above.)

The book shows its age primarily through the photographs.  Apparently, it used to be fashionable to photograph stitches against black backgrounds.  Today, white seems to be more popular.

I’ve been spoiled by my vintage Harmony Guides.  I now expect all stitch guides to start with illustrated sections on all the techniques used in the books.  This book starts with 7 pages of introduction and then leads into six types of patterns: All-over Patterns, Filet Crochet, Motifs, Irish Style Crochet, Edgings and Trimmings, and Afghan (Tunisian Crochet).  Every section, except for the All-over Patterns and the Edgings and Trimmings, also includes about a page of illustrated instructions.

They don’t make ’em like they used to!


Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Irish Crochet

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This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters series.

After finishing up with my single crochet entrelac piece last week, I looked back at my Year of Projects poll results for inspiration.  Irish crochet, bead crochet, and wire crochet were in a three way tie for second place, and I chose Irish crochet for my next Crochet Master Class adventure.

The Irish crochet master featured in Crochet Master Class is Maire Treanor, who is known for her research into and revival of Clones lace.  Crochet was introduced to Clones as a form of famine relief in the 19th century, and eventually the lace from this town developed a reputation for its beauty.

My most powerful association with Irish crochet is the Irish rose motif.  (Apparently, I’m not the only one – there are four pages of “Irish rose” patterns on Ravelry.)  I don’t generally use a lot of red yarn, so I was happy to return to my wonderful skein of Araucania Ronco Multi.

I received this beautiful yarn from HappyMouseFairy at Knitted (who blogged about why she mailed me this particular skein here) back in May when I hosted a swap with some other members of the Blog Hub group on Ravelry.  This yarn may look familiar to you, since it also made an appearance during my aborted filet crochet project.  The filet crochet project has since been frogged, and the yarn has been waiting patiently in the bin for a new project to emerge from my mind.

I looked through my books and settled on two Irish rose patterns:

Irish Crochet (p. 173) from Margaret Hubert‘s The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet

and Traditional Rose (p. 30) from Helen Jordan‘s Textured Crochet.

I started out with Irish Crochet.

I’m not feeling it.  I’m sure it will look better blocked, but I don’t like the way the last 3 rows came together.  So I decided to turn to the Traditional Rose. I really love the look of this rose.  I even made another one, adding two additional rounds to the pattern.  My two Traditional Roses, side by side, for size comparison.

These multi-layered roses are what I associate most closely with Irish crochet.

From the side, you can see how each round of petals stacks underneath the previous layer.

After finishing both roses during a particularly long subway ride, I happened to notice how the nicely the small amounts of purple coordinate with my backpack.

I’ve vowed to make more projects for myself this year, and have even joined the 12 for myself group on Ravelry.  I considered making a brooch to attach to my backpack. But then I imagined the hard life this brooch would live, exposed to the elements and rush hour subway rides, dangling precariously on my backpack.  It is definitely much too pretty for such a fate.

I am contemplating transforming my rose into a piece of crochet jewelry.  Because I so rarely crochet for myself, I never have much to show for my crochet talent when I go to fiber events or classes.  While other people will be walking around with all manner of shawls, skirts, and sweaters, I will be hanging out with my store bought clothing.  I’d like to change that for 2012.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become a Knitter.