‘Funky’ Carrickmacross

Even though I’ve been making lace for most of my life, it’s always good to expand and learn new techniques when you get the chance. So last summer I took part in a workshop  run by Janet French from Janet and Sandra’s Craft Shop, called Funky Carrickmacross.

Carrickmacross lace originated in Ireland in the 1820s and is a form of needlelace or decorated net.

Image source: The Lace Guild

Image source: The Lace Guild


There are a couple of methods of making it- one is to cut motifs and sprigs from machine-made lace and then appliqué them on to net; the other is made by stitching organdie to a net with a pattern underneath and then cutting away the surplus organdie and finishing it with further stitching. This is the technique we used.

Kate Middleton’s wedding veil was made in the style of Carrickmacross, but the workshop I attended wasn’t so ambitious as to attempt to make a wedding veil in two hours (Kate’s apparently took many embroiderers many, many hours to make – they had to change needles every three hours and wash their hands every 30 minutes!). Anyhow, this Carrickmacross was ‘funky’ as it used different colours and textures, but with the same traditional techniques. I’ve never made needlelace or decorated net before so this was a great bite-sized introduction.

To start we chose a template and covered it with clear sticky-back plastic. Over this was layered a piece of net then a piece of organza. These layers were then all tacked together.

Copy of IMG_20140809_112740

We used a strand of embroidery cotton to couch a thicker thread round the template. Some people used metallic threads and some used coloured.

Copy of IMG_20140809_130104

Once the outline was complete you could embellish it with beads, french knots or other techniques. I used beads; Janet’s sample (shown below) had French knots.

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Then we removed the tacking thread from the three layers and cut carefully around the organza so that only the petals had organza on them.

It probably took a couple of hours to complete this but the length of time would depend on the complexity of the design. You could use it on a card or even as a clothing decoration. A technique I enjoyed learning and I’m sure to do again. What new techniques have you learned recently? And have you ever tried proper Carrickmacross?



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