Textiles is the branch of industry involved in the manufacture of cloth and similar products. In Ireland, these have traditionally been made by individuals working alone or in small groups, for use by family members or for the benefit of the larger community. More recently, technology has been employed to increase production and to benefit commercial enterprise.
The following are traditional textile processes that have been practised for varying lengths of time in Ireland:
Wool and flax plant preparation and their subsequent spinning; the dyeing and weaving of these materials; the final fulling and napping of woven woollen cloth; the weaving of traditional woollen belts called crios (especially on the Aran islands); handknitting woollen garments; linen embroidery or ‘sprigging’; lace and crochet making; patchwork— the process of skilfully combining different pieces of cloth for aesthetic effect; tailoring and the making of hand-knotted carpets.
The varied techniques employed all have their regional variations and styles, according to the parts of the country in which they were practised. Limerick lace and Carrickmacross Lace, although produced using the same principal techniques, each have their unique design variations. This diversity of styles and techniques has led to a rich collection of traditionally produced textiles in Ireland.
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