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5 Crochet Designers from Ireland

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What is Irish about Crochet Designers living and working in Ireland today? Does the location shape the design? This St. Patrick’s day I’m looking at 5 crochet designers from Ireland, and finding plenty of inspiration.

I read somewhere recently that Ireland has one of the highest percentage of students pursuing qualifications in fashion and design, but among the fewest opportunities for employment within that industry at home. The land of saints and scholars, we undoubtedly remain a place of skilled crafts people, where crafts and artistic pursuits are valued. Yet, the industry is not always present. And so, even today, we educate our young people for opportunities on other shores.

What does this mean for those who crochet, knit, sew or handcraft? I learned to knit as a young child in Ireland, and discovered crochet during my years in London. Ireland called me home, and I came back to set up ‘The Fairythorn’. A sense of place has been a strong influence on me personally. I have, over the last 18 months, asked myself often what being Irish means to me, and how it impacts on my design inspiration. But is that just me, or do other Irish designers feel impacted by the landscape around them?

I contacted 5 other crochet designers living in Ireland who have inspired or impacted me in some way, and asked them if I could feature them in a look at Irish designers today.

Crafts with Karla

I’ve waited anxiously for the beautiful Cosy Cottage Blanket pattern to be released. I just missed the chance to be a tester, so now it’s newly published I have my chance to make this wonderful throw.

Karla McGuire, the designer behind this wonderful pattern, learned to crochet during one of her pregnancies. She took on the challenge of learning to design to even out the discrepancies of her daughter getting many crocheted dresses, while it proved much harder to find just the right rocket blanket to make for for son. And so she embarked on the beginnings of the journey of figuring out how to design herself.

Karla now lives in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, in a breathtakingly beautiful area overlooking Loch Swilly. Before settling here, she describes how she moved often, leaving first for London as a young adult, and time spent in Dublin, before returning to the settle in the county she was born in. She describes how the period of moving around created a sense that “I think having a sense of place and a sense of home is extremely important”.

Growing up, Karla believed that the little row of old traditional cottages they often drove past must be home to fairytale characters such as snow white or the three little pigs. It was this sense of whimsy and fairytale she set out to capture in her design.

Using local wool from Studio Donegal, she created the first prototype of the blanket, and perfected it into the pattern it is today.

Find Crafts with Karla:
  • www.instagram.com/craftswithkarla
  • https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/craftswithkarla-designs
  • https://ribblr.com/shop/craftswithkarla-designs-

Annie Design Crochet

The first written pattern I ever followed was the ‘Halo Shawl‘ by Carmen Heffernan of Annie Designs Crochet. I gifted it to my mother, along with a simple scarf in the same yarn for my father.

Having tried a few disastrous patterns that hadn’t worked at all, I’m not sure I would have continued with crochet at all if it wasn’t for the luck of coming across the Halo Shawl pattern, and realising I could actually crochet if the pattern was well written and made what it said it made. At the time I hadn’t realised the pattern I was following was ‘from home’. I was still focused on knowing my double crochet stitches from my trebble crochet stitches. And I became frustrated that it came out smaller than expected, only to realise after it was made that I was using a 4mm hook (the only one I had at that time) when the pattern called for a 5mm hook. Oh, the lessons we learn when we are just starting! But it came out beautifully anyway, and inspired me to keep going.

Carmen is based in Woodstown, Co. Waterford. She lerned to craft as a young child, influenced by her mother and aunts who were skilled craftswomen. She has a passion for the possibility of crafts to support mental health, which is a key theme in her book ‘Crochet Yourself Calm‘ which gives 50 motifs and 15 projects for mindful crochet.

Carmens designs focus on vibrant use of colour and playful shape, with many being relatively small projects that can add a splash of joy to a grey winters day.

Find Annie Design Crochet:
  • https://www.anniedesigncrochet.com/
  • https://www.ravelry.com/designers/carmen-heffernan
  • www.instagram.com/anniedesigncrochet

Woolpedia

I was looking through Ravelry for designers based in Ireland, when I spotted some beautiful designs from Julia Marquardt, and also noticed her web site was in German. (It is also availible in English, I discovered! It was a google glitch that I saw it in German the first time)

So I sent her a quick message saying ‘is it appropriate to include you in a blog post about designers from Ireland?’ She probably thought I was quite mad, but replied with a helpful and friendly answer, letting us know that Ireland is her chosen home!

Julia has been crocheting since she was 5 or 6 years old. Now she not only writes a fantastic range of knitting and crochet patterns, but with her husband also has an on line yarn shop, with both stunning wools and vegan yarns available, incIuding their own unique lines. I feel a splurge coming along in the near future looking at them all. Sadly, not this month, as I also have some big vets bills to sort out. But soon, when Odin the dog is feeling better.

Her most recent pattern is another on my must-make-soon list. The fantastic toe-up socks. Its actually a knitting pattern, and sooner or later I hope to do another entire blog post about the many fabulous knitting designers in Ireland, but for now, enjoy one rogue knitting pattern sneaking into a crochet blog post.

Find Woolpedia
  • https://woolpedia.de/Woolpedia-Lines-Bio-B%C3%A4ndchengarn-100-Baumwolle-p300644216
  • Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/julia-marquardt
  • www.instagram.com/woolpedia.de

Ned and Mimi

Sarah Ruane, the designer behind Ned and Mimi, produces beautiful designs that just speak for themsleves. She describes how her business is named after her 3 children (Initials N, E and D) and Mimi was what they called her when they were babies. Its not surprising then that a vibrant sense of positive family life comes through a look through these crochet patterns for adults and children. Sarah focuses on practical, wearable garments, which is probably why her designs speak to me, as that’s exactly what I look for in a pattern!

In addition to publishing her patterns through the usual platforms, Sarah is one of three designers behind a digital magazine ‘Studio Crochet’. In this age of vast numbers of patterns, it can be stressful knowing which ones are well written enough to be trustworthy and worth purchasing. A well curated digital magazine is often the answer to that question, and here there is a fantastic selection of patterns.

Find Ned and Mimi:
  • https://nedandmimi.com/
  • https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sarah-ruanes-ravelry-store/patterns?page=2
  • www.instagram.com/nedandmimi

Flo’s Crafty Crochet

When I think of Fiona Campbell, the designer behind Flo’s Crafty Creations, I think of a Community Builder. As a new and clueless designer, I stumbled upon the Crochet Designers Support Group on facebook. Here Fiona and her colleague from Auburncraft Crochet Design provide an invaluable community support for designers. When the joys are mounting because a design submission has just been accepted, or the going is getting tough because testers have vanished (Maybe beamed aboard an alien space ship?), you just cant figure out how to word a specific unusual instruction, or a design has been stolen (yet again) and is being offered for sale on one of those sketchy sites, having access to a community of others who know the jpys and pains only too well can be essential. And there aren’t a lot of spaces like that around.

Fiona herself comes from Newry, Co. Down (my mothers home town). Her patterns include baby blankets, home wears, toys, and much more. In addition, she also makes adorable stitch markers. (and there’s another purchase I feel coming on. I didn’t realise putting together this blog post would become so expensive!)

Find Flo’s Crafty Crochet online (with 20% off sale for Paddy’s day)
  • www.floscraftycrochet.com
  • https://www.ravelry.com/designers/flos-crafty-crochet
  • https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FlosCraftyCrochet

The Fairythorn

So I said I was looking at 5 other designers from Ireland, but here’s a little reminder that my own Breeze over Greenore pattern will be out in April. Sign up for my newsletter below to hear when its out, and maybe get a special discount code.

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/ciara-doyle

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