Irish Crochet Board — Creating a Pinnable Workspace

To work Irish Crochet, it’s essential to have a pinnable workspace. The padding should be durable enough to withstand a steady stream of random pinning and thick enough to absorb those pins.

Some options include:
Needle Felting Pad
Foam or Sewing Pad

You can leave them as is, complete with manufacturer’s saran type wrapping or cover them with fabric. They can be dusted clean with a rubber lint brush or by vacuum.

As a note:  1) Styrofoam sheds so it’s best to leave the wrapping attached or cover with Saran Wrap. 2) Foam pad gives so any amount of pressing will cause pins to poke through and into your legs, furniture, etc… so it’s best to place a thin piece of wood on the bottom of softer foam-type padding.

Whatever padding type or size you choose, the surface should be large enough to accommodate the widest or longest piece you envision doing. Since most clothing patterns are done in sections which are then sewn together you might need an  18″ x 20″ platform.  However, if you plan to make skirts or dresses, you might want to consider a padded dress form.

061Cloth, Paper and Stabilizer:
When working Irish Crochet, patterns are drawn onto cambric (“a finely woven cloth”) with a non-permanent erasable fabric pencil. You can trace an actual item or use a sewing pattern. Once the outline is marked, the border (a foundation chain or padded Irish cord) can be made and sewn along the penciled outline.

Flour Sack Cloths work great because they’re a 100% finely woven lint-free cotton and come in a variety of sizes to cover any platform.

I have used a stabilizer for the cloth consisting of sturdy-yet-flexible cardboard. This thin piece of cardboard (similar to the cardboard of a cereal box, dressing shirt or watercolor paper) is placed between the cloth and the foam pad. I use paper clips or binder clips to affix the cloth to the cardboard and then pin that to the foam pad.  You can leave the cardboard as is or cover with linen paper or thin cloth. The use of a stabilizer is completely optional. I only use it when I’m working on foam pad because the foam pad can slant with pressing causing the pins to slide, thus the watercolor paper helps to keep the pins straight and hold the work in place. Foam and Styrofoam are sturdy and thus, don’t require a stabilizer.

Everything (cardboard, cloth, borders, motifs (face-down), and netting) is affixed to the foam pad with pins or in the case of “borders” it can be hand-sewn (basted) onto the cloth. Either way, it is still affixed to the pad with pins.

Sewing pins come in various sizes with long, medium or short shafts. Map pins are the shortest, but these might be too short to withstand the jostle. Pins also come in various designs with hooked, flat or rounded tops. You will need a pin that can be easily removed. I use one-and-a-quarter ( 1 1/4″) or one and three-eights (1 3/8″)  inch pins with pearl tops.

Non-Pinnable Options:
Omitting the pad and using just a finely woven cloth to sew motifs and net on is fine. However, the method requires much more sewing. It’s faster and easier to pin them down.

Cotton Cloth for Penciling Patterns

Cotton Cloth for Penciling Patterns

Linen Fiber Paper

Linen Fiber Paper for Cardboard

Cloth Cover for Pad

Cloth Cover for Pad




9 thoughts on “Irish Crochet Board — Creating a Pinnable Workspace

    • Thank you so much. I know when I was starting out, there wasn’t a lot of information on this. I actually thought I could just buy one ready-made complete with instructions, but no such luck. Take care. Ann

    • That would work too, although, I like to push the pins down all the way so they’re not in the way and these look a little thin, but maybe if they were stacked? I think you can use just about any firm but cushy or padded material.

  1. I found this video that shows how to make a padded pin-able board. It’s not to expensive to make and doesn’t too long to make one. I made my 18X18 with 2 inch foam and used two layers of ltan broadcloth for my cover. You don’t have to worry about the pins coming through as the 2 inch foam gives you plenty of depth, you can push the pins all the way down to the head. It also holds the pins well and is light weight.

  2. Thank you so much! Been looking for a great resource for a long time. Beautiful work! I really appreciate all the time and effort to put this together so that others can benefit from what you’ve learned.

  3. All I want to know is how to make a firm enough “cushion” so that I can pin my motifs before I crochet the mesh – but I can’t find a supplier of these and not many methods identified to get me started.
    Where can i buy such an item? Or buy the right thickness of foam? I have tried to search ‘Google’ and get ideas on the net but all without success so far.

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