Sunday, January 16, 2011

Having a thing for the doily

Yesterday, Bells blogged about knitting a doily and how she was enjoying being absorbed in such fine work. Personally, I have never knitted a doily, but I have knitted quite a few circular shawls that I use as tablecloths, so presumably they constitute doilies on a very large scale.

But I do have a 'thing' for them. Whenever I am in an opshop, I always look at the pile of handmade doilies that are invariably there in a corner.

I fossick through them, picking out the ones that are of interest because they're very fine, use a different technique, are particularly beautiful, or particularly old. And when I see them, I have to save them.

So many of them are done in that awful tonal crochet thread, or worse, with a mettallic thread through them. But, every so often, I come across one or even better, a set, and I buy them for pennies. I wash them and re-block or press if necessary, and sometimes I frame them.

They sit under the vintage tea-set china that I have laying around.

This one is very unusually constructed.

And this one is embroidered - AND there were two others matching that day.

They sit under the pieces of china and glass that I have kept from the children's younger days, and some things I've collected over the years too. (Actually, these ones were a gift from Randomknits - she buys the most awesome presents.)

They sit under the embarrassingly dirty decanters. Let's pretend they add something to the dusty vintage charm of the doilies, will we?

Here are some on a coffee table and sit atop the shetland tea shawl I knitted a few years back. I know I should really do something about those awful wall and carpet colours.

I just can't bear that these beautiful handmade things ended up in a rag bag, or worse, in a skip when their maker died, and I just can't leave them there!

I wonder what will happen to all this stuff when I go? One thing is for sure - I won't have any say in it.

And that's the story of my thing for the doily.


Denise said...

I love doilies. Love how they dress things up.

I used to have a bunch I made about. My partner is such a clutter bug for any neat surface, it makes it hard to decorate.

Love your doilies. It always saddens me to see big boxes of unloved doilies at the thrift stores.

Rose Red said...

I often look through the doilies (and tablecloths - both crochet and embroidered) at op shops and markets too, because it is sad to see them unloved after all that work. I like your idea of framing them, I should do that too.

Oh, and knit one or two as well (I have crocheted many!)

Bells said...

see you make having doilies as things to put things on look so stylish. I didn't see a single 'nana' thing there. Beautiful.

Actually, I'm talking out of my arse. I don't really know what nana decorating is. I just know what I think looks nice and stylish and you've done it well.

Donna said...

There you go, I don't even remember giving them to you!
I've only knit the one doily, but I keep thinking about framing it. Must actually do it.

drkknits said...

they really are beautiful, and made to be used. and even framed. and when you go your kids will donate them to the V&A of course.

LynS said...

I'm so pleased people collect these lovely doilies - I feel so sad when I see them for sale for tiny amounts of money. I don't like to use them myself (I grew up with them as an everyday item of decor and felt as if I grew out of them) but I admire the delicate and detailed work that goes into them and am so relieved that others are rescuing them. I have enough bits and pieces of other forms of textiles around the house that I don't think I would have space for doily rescue as well.