Rediscovering Doilies

Spring-cleaning this past weekend, I opened a bag and found these … my first doilies from many, many moons ago.

Crocheting doilies were my practice projects.  Yeah, no swatches or blocks for me.  I didn’t know about that until several years later.  I also didn’t know then that yarn came in bigger sizes than thread. So yeah, you guessed it … I stashed up on thread.  But that didn’t last long …

After discovering that yarn came in all sorts of sizes, thread and doilies were eventually put to the side, in favour of worsted weight and aran that allowed me to finish projects so quickly!  Those were the good old days, right?  Now I’ve got about three projects waiting to be finished …

Now I’m thinking of going back to working with thread … and yes, I still have my stash from years ago … and bought some new ones in new colours too.  Ecru remains my favourite thread colour, but these rainbow hues and shades in thread are tempting me …

It Runs in the Family …

My mother learned how to knit and crochet from the ladies at the club, while they waited for their husbands to finish their socializing and dart games at the bar. She made a couple of table cloths and matching crochet dresses for my sister and myself.  She in turn taught me to crochet, and I dutifully crocheted swatches to learn the stitches.  She stopped crocheting after a while.

I learned a little more about knitting, when it was featured during a home economics class one semester. I learned enough to know that I liked the seed stitch and the double seed stitch patterns/stitches, and that I didn’t learn how to increase or decrease because I didn’t pay attention. As school, friends and playtime took over, knitting and crocheting dropped by the wayside.

I would pick up crochet or knitting every now and then, when I wanted to do something different, but then would set it aside again. Just before the birth of my first son, I decided that I wanted to make a baby blanket. But then Mother-in-Law, who was Scottish, sent over a package full of knitted matching sets – sweater, pants, booties, mittens. I promptly put away my knitting. In hindsight, I should have asked her to teach and show me all the tricks of knitting. *sigh*

I did continue with crochet however, with which I was more comfortable working with. And so I crocheted on, even when the boys and others teased me about such a ‘grandmotherly’ hobby.  And as far as I know, none of my other aunts and cousins did any crochet or knitting.

Imagine my surprise when I met up with aunts whom I hadn’t seen in years, and when they saw pictures of some of my finished projects, they said that I had other cousins who also crocheted, and an aunt who was very much into crafts! Whaattt !! All these years?? and I didn’t know about this? How come this never came up before??

So when I visited my aunt recently in the Philippines, I was on the lookout for crafty creativeness. And voila!

The first thing I saw was this crocheted tablecloth.

I looked and looked where the joins were, and couldn’t find them. She was that good?! wow

And she said that she had also crocheted a bedspread, identical to the tablecloth. She said that she wasn’t good at following patterns, so after she got the basic pattern, she just branched off on her own design. Just like me 🙂 I’m in good company, then, since I don’t always follow a pattern completely and end up doing something different instead.

I found this as well, tucked away in a corner. Looks vintage.

And a painting of a crocheted doily for display.

And her current project were these felt kits, for their Christmas bazaar. Haven’t done this before, but the amount of work that goes into it … cutting out the outlines for each piece, stitching on the faces, the shadows, the creases, then stuffing or batting behind and putting them all together … not sure if I would have the patience for that.

So now I know where I get the crafty genes from !

Snowflakes on the Beach

Hope everybody had a safe Fourth of July.

We hit the beach early, thinking that it would be crowded because it was one of those hazy, hot and humid days.  There was a good crowd, but not as much as we thought.  And so I settled down with my cappuccino, book, iPad (to check on the Wimbledon scores or watch a game or two), and my projects in my new bag – the one I won from the Haiti Crochet Project.  It’s roomy, lightweight and sturdy.  Check out the Etsy shop and help the women of Haiti.

Inside the bag is a new project that I wanted to start.  Crocheted snowflakes, for the tree this year.

I thought that maybe it was time to hang crocheted snowflakes on the Christmas tree this year, for something different.  I bought the book about two months ago, when there was a sale (Mother’s Day, I think).  I got the RH Fashion Thread – I think that it will twinkle nicely when the lights hit the flakes.  I’ll probably make a few with fine thread as well – my son said that snowflakes are supposed to be white, so I should make them in white. I’m thinking about a hundred flakes will be enough for the trees? 

So, as we packed up this morning, I pulled out a ball of thread and the hook from the closet.  It wasn’t until I got to the beach and settled down that I found out that it was the wrong size hook.  aarrghhh It was two sizes too small.

I went ahead and crocheted, anyway.  A little slow-going at the beginning, and picots galore.  I made these first four in just over an hour.  

The finished flakes sort of looked like the picture in the book.  I’ll block it later – oh my, I just realized that I’m going to have a lot of flakes to block! oh-kaaayyy …..

At the end of the day, I only managed to finish one more flake.  Five down, 95 to go.

Vintage Projects

My mother was working in a community center last year, and in one of her conversations with others, she mentioned that I crocheted and knitted.  One day, a patron came up to her and handed her a box, full of yarn.  It was all mixed up together, with full and partial skeins, odd ends and scraps.

I went through the box and came up with a big shopping bag full of various shades of blue yarn.  I figure I can put a lapghan together with that.

Opening another bag in the box, I discovered this.  I don’t know how long ago this was started, but it had started to yellow with age.

This looks like an unfinished doily.

Taking out the rest of the contents, more treasures came to light.

 

A join-as-you-go neckline? necklace?  The thread used for this is very fine, though.

 

The beginning of a … top? Or maybe a border.  Does anybody recognize what it might be?

 

Another join-as-you-go … looks like a runner or tablecloth

Don’t know yet what I’m going to do with this.  There is extra thread, and it looks like it’s the same one used for all, but there’s not enough to finish all the pieces.  Maybe I can find the same thread and size – DMC 40 – and continue this windmill-looking pattern.

And it looks like WIPs also existed back then!

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Re-Discovered Doilies

With all this excitement finding a 1916 Needlecraft magazine with patterns for thread crochet, I had to take out my early experiments with threads and doilies, which I had also re-discovered when looking for something else.

I didn’t block them then, because I didn’t know how.  And as I look at them closely now, I see several mistakes here and there.  My tension was also uneven.  Hopefully I’ll do better this time.
Oblong doily – I was crocheting this during a vacation trip.

Blue doily – I tried to finish this before I gave birth to my second son.  I didn’t, and finished it during one of those late-night feedings.

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