Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Festive Shamrocks to the Rescue

A dark green shamrock crocheted from sparkly metallic yarn on a white background.
"We've been invited to an Irish-themed birthday party
and have nothing to wear!"

"Wear something green."

"I don't have anything green in my wardrobe."

"Okay. Maybe I have something green in the yarn stash ..."

At a loss as to what could be put together at short notice and with limited funds,
the art of crochet wins again.

"What about a shamrock* appliqué to pin on a lapel, scarf, hat or bag?"

First stop: check the stash. I love Ravelry's database. It's so easy to keep track of things. I've been documenting my yarn on Ravelry (including the care instructions) since 2010.

Above-view of skein of metallic green yarn, flanked by two completed shamrocks.
All the green sparkles!
Sort by colour.  Here's all the green yarn and this appliqué idea is sounding even better when I see a skein of sparkly green metallic 4-ply equivalent yarn–perfect for a party and just the right weight for an appliqué.

Over the years, the yarn stash has come to be stored in all sorts of baskets and boxes. It has been well worth recording each skein and where it lives. The touch of a button told me exactly where to find this sparkly green yarn and within a minute it was in my hand.

"Oh wow! That's excellent!" 
I'm glad it meets approval.

Next: the pattern. Olena from Golden Lucy Crafts has explored many patterns that make use of heart motifs including a simple shamrock. The motifs are only 2 rounds long - nice and quick! The free pattern is here: https://www.goldenlucycrafts.com/2017/02/22/crochet-st-patricks-day-shamrock/

Two completed crocheted shamrocks made of green sparkly metallic yarn.  The shamrocks have three heart-shaped leaves, joined at their points and connected to a stem.
Two finished shamrocks

A pink handled, silver aluminium crochet hook is displayed in its packaging - a cardboard sleeve or narrow box with a transparent cellophane window. The hook has its size printed in black lettering on its handle and also printed on the box.
Etimo 'Rose' crochet hook
Choice of hook. This is the perfect project to try out a beautiful new hook which was sent to me by American Yarns (Melbourne) with whom I am collaborating this year.  It's a luxurious Etimo 'Rose' hook made by Tulip Company Limited, Japan.

It's rose pink handle is a 'soft-touch' elastomer, shaped to be comfortable whether one holds it with either 'knife' or 'pencil' style. This hook is 2.5 mm (metric) or Japanese size 4/0.

It has a rounded head with a short lip, a shallow, angular bowl, and a short throat. It is not an 'in-line' hook but the small, narrow head slips easily through the yarn. The aluminium is smooth and finished evenly with no seams or burrs.

The high quality is reflected by a higher than average price for a single crochet hook but it feels well balanced in my hand and effortless to use.  This is the high quality I expect from modern Japanese manufacturing.

Crocheting the shamrocks
First attempt to crochet a shamrock leaf - a heart motif - resulted in an uneven shape with a large circle in the midle. The metallic yarn end is fraying at the top of the photo.
First efforts:
a wonky heart with a hole in it
that won't pull closed.
Fortunately my temper does not
fray as easily as this yarn end.

I am starting to regret the yarn choice. The sparkles make the stitches extremely difficult to see.  It helps to use a 'daylight lamp'. The yarn is coarse but also stretchy.  The first round of the heart motif is worked into a single chain stitch. The first effort is less than satisfactory.

No matter - treat it like a tension square - it's practice.
Rip out the second attempt. And the third.  Draw a diagram to guide my stitches.

Fourth time lucky.  The trick is to be careful with the slip knot at the start so it will still tighten up the centre hole at the end.  Alternatively, weave in ends around the centre and pull tightly.

The plies of the metallic yarn are slippery. Be extra thorough when weaving in ends. They look like they may slide out easily. It is easy to hide the ends amidst all the 'sparkles'.

This photo shows the components of the shamrock including the first attempt on the left.  Each finished shamrock is made of three components: two heart-shaped leaves plus one heart-shape with a stem attached. Stitch the three elements together at the stem and heart points.
Construction process

Three components: two heart-shaped leaves plus one heart-shape with a stem attached. Stitch the three elements together at the stem and heart points.
Close-up of pieces before sewing together

Which fastener?  To the notions box!  Do you have a special place to keep 'notions'?  Are they meticulously organised or collected (like mine) in a catch-all container of miscellaneous 'bits and bobs'?

Possible options:
'alligator' clip fastener
brooch pin backing
basic safety pin

Two shamrock appliqués for two young people. Each chose a different fastener and, even then, there were still choices to be made as to how to attach them. Sew or glue?

A hot glue gun would be quicker but the possibility of hot glue leaking through to the right side worries me.  I don't have time to make another shamrock before the party.

Sewing does the job - slower and more fiddly than glue but happy results.  Phew!

[I took photos of the backings but the camera failed to record–I don't have the shamrocks with me to take another.]

Two completed crocheted shamrocks made of green sparkly metallic yarn.  The shamrocks have three heart-shaped leaves, joined at their points and connected to a stem.
I am so pleased with the results.
The shamrocks glitter with festive sparkles to wonderful effect.

The shamrocks were worn on a denim jacket and a blazer lapel and garnered plenty of positive responses.  I'm hoping there will be some photos somewhere taken at the party so I can see how the shamrocks looked on the finished outfits.

What is your experience with metallic yarn?
Have you made brooches and jewellery?
Would you sew or glue?

- I love to know your thoughts and share ideas. Please use the comments box below. -

*The shamrock has been used as the symbol of Ireland. The three leaves have represented 'faith, hope and love.'  Saint Patrick, the primary patron saint of Ireland, is said to have used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity of the 'father, son and holy ghost.'

Project Details

Front-view of skein of metallic yarn. The white label has red lettering "EXCEL" and a gold and red horizontal stripe underneath the brand name.  There is a silhouette of a shamrock printed in the 'bowl' or inside space of the letter "c". The skein is flanked by two completed crocheted shamrocks, one in each top corner of the photograph.
Even the yarn label has a shamrock on it.

Name: Excel Metallic Yarn (Crepe) 20 grams, Made in Taiwan
Colour: MY-19 TA19 Green
Lot: NOWO/MY-19 b/c 9320352-066402

Tulip Etimo Rose (Article: TER-05e),
made in Japan
Aluminium hook with pink elastomer cushioned grip
Size 2.5 mm, 4/0.


American Yarns, Melbourne, Australia: https://www.americanyarns.com.au/
Golden Lucy Crafts: https://www.goldenlucycrafts.com/

Crochet St Patrick's Day Shamrock and Lucky CloverAppliqués, free pattern, Golden Lucy Crafts: https://www.goldenlucycrafts.com/2017/02/22/crochet-st-patricks-day-shamrock/

'Shamrock', Wikipedia, accessed 4 August 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamrock

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

Yarn Review: Amigurumi + Exciting News, 24 March 2019: https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2019/03/yarn-review-amigurumi-exciting-news.html

Amigurumi Yarn Sale & Sneak Peek,21 July 2019:  https://lupeyloops.blogspot.com/2019/07/amigurumi-yarn-sale-sneak-peek.html


  1. I love the sparkly green yarn and the shamrocks are so sweet. You are a resourceful soul, my friend.

    1. Thank you Amalia. When funds are low, the creativity needs to be high! I am lucky to have a stash of leftovers and gifted yarns to call upon in times of need. xx

  2. I LOVE this. I have a shamrock to make as one of my advent knits. (Being that Irish is a large part of my and my hubby's heritage. This makes our two children more Irish than either of us. Funny had that works. I have made an applique once - not with sparkley yarn. It was a little owl I crocheted for my grand-daughter's little newborn hat. I hope someone has pics too. I would love to see you representing the Irish!

    1. I never knew you had Irish connections (or maybe I did know once and forgot). There is Irish heritage in my family tree also. I saw your little owl appliqué on Ravelry - cute! I have a relative who has been collecting owls for decades. Owls were popular way-back-when and then they went out of fashion and now they are back in again; especially with the resurgence of macramé where owl motifs were prolific. Harry Potter certainly helped too.
      Have you every tried macramé? I tried to do friendship bracelets once but I found the knotting hard to remember so figured macramé would be more of the same. Any advice?