Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Patricks Day and the Luck of the Irish

Sit down with a green beer or maybe a cup of green tea and enjoy a bit of the traditions of Ireland.

The shamrock refers to the young sprigs of clover or trefoil. It is known as a symbol of Ireland, with St. Patrick having used it as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity, according to legend.

Luck of the Irish:
This is an ironic phrase. The Irish have been, and are a spectacularly unlucky race. The "luck of the Irish" is BAD luck, as any reading of Irish history will document. Apparently, the original and proper use of this irony goes clear back to the Old Country and migrated to America early on. 

Corned Beef and Cabbage:
So what do you think? Is Corned Beef and Cabbage a traditional Irish meal? The article below says no.  Are you Irish, do you think it’s us crazy Americans who developed this tradition?  I do like corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, but the rest of the family isn’t in agreement. So I too usually only get it when I visit a New York deli. And boy do they pile it on! There is one deli in the theater district that is truly known for their corned beef sandwiches, and I’m sorry that the name escapes me. But oh yummy and that big pickle to boot! With lots of mustard and I have a real treat.

The salon has an idea that Corned Beef is American:


Although most often associated with fine white embroidery on linen, the North of Ireland has a long tradition of stitching on fine cotton, dating from the eighteenth century.

The collections and archives at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum contain many examples of finished work in addition to outworkers sample pieces and original designs on paper. The most significant collection is a group of over 600 embroidered, lace trimmed, and printed handkerchiefs from the early twentieth century, featuring the designs of the Belfast artist Herbert R. Lilley.
A collection of 80 embroidered samplers, dating from 1760 to 1953, school needlework sample books, and a range of needlework tools provide an insight into embroidery as worked for hobby or pleasure, rather than for profit.

Jane Campbell Sampler
Dorcas McGee Sampler
Harriet Smallman- Boyle Sampler

Celtic Cross:
Celtic cross stitch sample patterns are a style of cross stitch embroidery and a true embodiment of Celtic art patterns seen in early medieval art using contemporary cross stitch techniques. Celtic cross stitch is a simple and elegant way of doing embroidery. By tradition deep, rich colors are used to make intricate geometrical patterns, spirals, interlacing themes, knotwork, alphabets, animal forms and zoomorphic patterns.

Celtic cross stitch patterns can be simple; however, the more intricate the pattern, the more expertise is required. This method of embroidery is very old, but still as popular as it was long ago.

The symbolism of the Celtic Cross

Book on Northern Ireland Samplers: Well I thought I owned this book and was going to add a bit of an overview of it for you here, but I cannot find it! So it must not have made it to a cash register with me yet! I only find this one book on Irish sampler making.   There is very little additional information in any of the books in my library and as Julie will tell you, our libraries are pretty full! 

Lace Making:
Ireland is known more for lace making then sampler making from the information I have found.  In The Complete International Book of Embroidery by Mary Gostelow, it talks about the different types of lace making that was significant to Ireland.  Mountmellick and Carrickmacross work are the two most popular.  Mountmellick is characterized by designs worked in soft un-mercerized cotton sometimes known as “knitting Cotton”. Satin Stitch, sometimes padded, bullion knots, French knots, cable, chain, coral and herringbone stitches are mostly used with a buttonhole fringe edge. This style of lace started about 1825. 
Another form of Irish-flowering embroidery is Carrickmacros. This consists of layering cambric on top of a ground of hexagonal net. The outline design is stitched through the two fabrics with a running stitch.  By cutting only through the cambric, it is carefully removed to reveal the net below.  The running stitch is then bound with over-stitching to prevent the edges of the cambric from fraying. Sometimes tamboured chain stitch is also added.  Some pieces are so intricate that they look like needle-made lace. Much of this work was done in the convent by the Sisters.

Irish Marriage Traditions:
Taking the last stitch in the dress on the wedding day will bring good luck.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe.
Blue is considered a lucky color in Ireland, something borrowed is a symbol of friendship and the brides handkerchief is usually something new for good luck.  Something old is the connection to family and the sixpence is so you will always be financially well off in your marriage.

More traditions of Ireland

Celtic Cross Stitch
Irish Blessings, Curses and Drinking Toasts

May you life as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, loved to browse trough all the links and I'm a bit wiser.


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