Reading patterns from the Irish Crochet books and leaflets can be challenging for someone who has just started doing this type of crocheting. Like me!
When I read, the first time, about the ring thing, winding the padding cord million times around a match, my first reaction was that I didn't have matches, just lighters. Well, I figured that a knitting needle would have about the same size as a match. Can you just imagine my attempts to get a ring going with size 10 thread? Those instructions were for size invisible thread...not really, but that's how I felt. I think the common thread size was between 40 and 100. I don't even own anything thinner than 20, unless we are thinking about sewing thread.
After several attempts, I gave up, made a chain link and crocheted around that one. My ring was not puffy enough, but it didn't really matter, because I am working on more or less freeform Irish Crochet (please forgive me, if this offends someone), but my hook will not obey too many rules on patterns, just the basics. Of course there are several very beautiful motifs that cannot be changed in any way, but something that goes in between the motifs can certainly be freeformish, in my very humble opinion.
What else did I do? I put my crochet hook beside a knitting needle and wound the padding cord around both of those. When I had enough rounds, I carefully picked the working thread with my crochet hook, still married to the knitting needle, and made a few stitches around the pc. Then I released the ring, and started working on the pc. WOW, that was easy. I have now tried different sizes of needles, even a pen, and I have no problem making a nice, puffy ring.
Instead of picots, which I have made several already, I have started making clones knots. However, I only wind the thread twice or three times, and I get a nice picot looking knot, which is much easier to make than the normal picot. Clones Knot is easy to make after a few tries. The only thing I need to be careful with them is not to make the winding too loopy.