Designer Spotlight

Jennifer E. Ryan

Irish Crochet Explosion
Jennifer E. Ryan

The folk music, green pastures, exciting dancing and lilting accent of the Irish have always held a special place in my heart. It was wonderful to experience all of those things and more firsthand as the instructor on Annie's first ever crochet tour to Ireland in 2016. I found much inspiration for my designs in the Celtic Knotwork all around us at every stop we made and my love of Ireland grew!

I also love the simple beauty of the Irish rose motifs and how many elements joined together with basic chain stitches make a unique and intricate wearable work of art. I learned that creating these beautiful garments to sell to wealthy Europeans helped save thousands of Irish people from starvation during the Great Potato Famine. All ages of men, women and children learned to crochet and then created a variety of 'signature' motifs and joining techniques that I tried to honor in this shawl.

I designed this "explosion" of Irish lace to reflect the intricacies, shapes and textures of the Irish motifs along with the seemingly simple meshlike stitches in between that give the appearance of one seamless piece. I like to think of this project as a tribute to my family's Irish heritage and a remembrance of all of those Irish designers who created this style in the mid-1800s.

For more info on the history of crochet in Ireland and a video tutorial of how to do the bullion stitch, visit Jennifer's blog at

Irish Crochet Explosion
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