Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fergal's wonderful weekend, part 1.

Oh my! I had SUCH a good time in Northern Ireland. I just never knew anything about the North of my Ireland. I expected it to be cold, being in the north and all...but in fact we had better weather than they did down south. It didn't rain at all the important times.

So what should I tell you about...
well firstly the food was delicious, just like me. Just look at the colours!

The room was plenty big enough for the three of us, 'her' and Toastie and me. You can just see Toastie peeping out of 'her' rucksack, 'she' always gives him plenty of air.

Well as you know i am a tatter but I decided to broaden my horizons and learn something new. First I tried to join the Guild, they asked if I was a good luck charm...huh!!

After that I laid low for a bit and just watched.

'Her' friend Carmel was doing something really interesting on a sort of roller. It looked fun so she let me take a peek.

Ok! I have gotta explain this one to you. First of all how to pronounce Youghal, it's Yawl. It's a seaside town in East Cork. This is what Lacefairy has to say about the lace:-

Of all the varieties of Irish lace that are known, Youghal lace is justly regarded as the most beautiful. It is at the same time the most difficult to make as it is worked stitch by stitch without any foundation. The Youghal lace industry had its birth in 1847, the Irish famine year. Mother Margret Smyth, a nun in the presentation, convent of County Cork, horror stricken at the sight of starting women and children around her, conceived the idea of starting some employment which might provide them with bread. But of what that employment should consist of perplexed mother Smyth. It so happens that one day, searching in out of the way nooks and corners, she chanced to light upon a scrap of rare old Italian lace. The moment of inspiration had come. Here was work which might yield bread for the poor hungry girls and children. That lovely scrap should be made to give up the secret of its construction. Setting to work, she picked the lace to pieces, unraveling it unraveling the thread, until at last she fully grasped all the details of the delicate and intricate pattern. Mother Smiths difficulties were however, by no means at an end. Her self imposed task was an arduous one; but at last, after many attempts and repeated disappointments she succeeded in establishing a school for lace which is now of European reputation.

It's a very difficult lace to make...I think as it has no foundation material to work on. That green stuff that you see does not become part of the lace. the stitches are worked on top of it.

Next I went to see what Jackie was working on....they were all doing a butterfly...'she' was doing a Carrickmacross mat...but she is so slow!!

Jackie was doing Tambour Lace and she let me have a go! She uses a hook and very fine thread. Can you see the Swallowtail Butterfly that she is copying. The net is stretched over a frame the Tambour like a drum and the hook draws the thread through the net to make a chain stitch.

See!!! aren't I the educated Leprechaun!!


  1. Toastie?? - I can't see Toastie!What a very well-educated and cultured little leprechaun you are, it's good to have one's horizons broadened.

  2. Maureen, he is just at the very bottom of the photo. I will have to tell you about him and show a photo!

  3. What a clever lad you are. I hope you know what a wonderful Mum you have. She is giving you so many opportunities to learn new things. Now Oisin is after me to send him back to Ireland so you can teach him how to make Tambour Lace! I told him no as I don't trust him to come back!