zaterdag 28 april 2012

A modern twist on the traditional Irish crios

I seem to be leaning towards using various yarns at the moment, so in between crocheting a couple of lip balm holder necklaces and an ornamental crochet fish, I decided to make something traditionally Irish, but with a modern twist. Where did my inspiration come from? Well, (and now I'm about to sort of reveal my age - well I've earned these ever-increasing numbers of grey hairs, so that's ok!) back in the late 1970s, I and a friend of mine, proud of our heritage and eager to look "a bit different" used to wear the traditional Irish crios (belt) in our jeans. They looked cool (and also of course helped to keep our ill-fitting jeans in place! Well, those were the days when the only decent jeans we could lay our hands on were purchased from the hands of an amused male sales assistant in a men's clothing shop).

Anyway, I was sitting reminiscing about those days and suddenly recalled my long-ago thrown away brown and green crios. One thought led to another and I remembered that many years ago, while at primary school, we were taught how to weave one of these traditional belts by one of the nuns, and could vividly bring to mind just how it was done. I couldn't wait to try it again!

I decided to make a crios using colours which could be worn with a nice modern pair of blue jeans, so I opted for navy, royal blue, cream and grey. I chose acrylic yarn so that the belt can be easily washed at 30C and is light to wear. First I cut out long strips of cardboard (yes, cardboard - who needs a wooden loom?!?) 7cm wide and joined them together at the ends to make 1 long strip equalling the length required for the belt (in this case totalling 192 cm (75.5 inches), not including the plaited fringe. I found, by trial and error, that it was best to staple the strips together; I had at first tried sellotape but found it came loose while weaving.
All along both sides of the strip I cut 1 cm (0.39 inch) slits at 1cm (0.39 inch) intervals (for a finer weave you would make the intervals smaller). This was a laborious task but necessary and worth all the effort in the end!
The next step was to set up the weave (I'm sure there's a technical term for this, but can't bring it to mind at the moment - I recommend Google! :-)  Although I used acrylic wool for the next step I think in future it might be best to use a sturdier yarn to set up on, so as to avoid any splitting or tearing  (or gnashing of teeth!) while weaving. The warp (yes, I Googled and yes, that's the word!) needs to be tough and cannot, nay, must not, break or you can throw your weaving away and start again - BE WARNED!! The next photo (weaving side) shows how to set this up - the aim being to have something to weave through which can easily be removed from the cardboard when the crios is complete.

And this shows how to thread the warp at the back
of the cardboard.

It was important too to tie the end of the warp securely around the card at the ends, leaving a long thread which can be plaited in at the ends (explanation comes later).

And now the fun could begin!  Any combination of colour is possible of course. I chose navy blue to start, cutting a piece of yarn as long as the entire belt with about 22cm (8.6 inches) to spare at either end... quick calculation... 236 cm long (approx. 93 inches). I cut 56 strands in the colours I had decided on for the pattern, and started off with 3 strands of navy blue. Using a blunt, large-eyed needle I threaded a strand of navy blue alternately over and under the warp threads for the entire length of the belt:

leaving approx. 22 cm (8.6 inches) of yarn hanging at either end (to be plaited when complete).

Now that we're getting all technical we can start calling these threads the "weft"!

On the next row the yarn is threaded opposite to the 1st. i.e. under, over instead of over, under.

Then it's just a question of continuing in this way until the pattern is complete. Whatever pattern you choose it's essential to get as many threads of yarn as possible between the fringed sides of the cardboard, in order to make a nice tight weave. When we later remove the weaving from the card we don't want holes appearing or the warp thread to be too visible.
I made sure to make a pattern which could easily be added to at either side in case I needed to squeeze more threads in for this purpose.

So this is my symmetrical pattern: 3 strands of navy blue,  2 royal blue, 5 cream,  10 grey, 1 royal blue, 1 cream, 1  royal blue, 1 cream, 1 royal blue, 1 cream, 1 royal blue, 1 navy blue, 1 cream, 1 navy blue, 1 royal blue, 1 cream, 1 royal blue, 1 cream, 1 royal blue, 1 cream, 1 royal blue, 10 grey, 5 cream, 2 royal blue, 3 navy blue.

The weaving was finished, so now it was time to plait the ends. I chose to make 4 plaits, making sure to plait in the ends of the warp thread as well at the same time. I made a knot in each plait at about 8 cm (3.14 inches) and cut the ends to the same length to neaten it all up.

Then, bending up the cardboard tabs with the loop of warp thread on them (see next photo) I carefully removed the belt from the cardboard. Again, making sure not to snap the warp threads or this would all have been for nought!
There are some loops at the sides at this point, but these disappear when the crios is pulled gently into shape. And voila! The result: a modern Irish crios (traditionally worn by the men of the Aran Islands), perfect for wearing (knotted at one side, ends and plaits dangling) with a great pair of blue jeans! Very cool!

1 opmerking:

  1. Beautiful. I will give this a try because of your excellent instructions and example! Thank you so much.