I’m collecting photos of doilies and stories about them and the people who made them for an exhibit I’m doing next year at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, River North Gallery, in Stephenville, Texas–and beyond, I hope!
Please join me in celebrating doilies by sharing the stories of doilies in your collection. Maybe you make doilies, or maybe your ancestors made them. Whichever it is, other people will love to read your stories.
All you have to do is send me a photo and fill out a questionnaire about you, the doily, and the person who made the doily. I’ll write the story from the information you give me.
The doily shown here was crocheted by my grandmother, Charles Etta Dunlap Thompson. I never met her, but my dad told me he was amazed that she found time to crochet and quilt, even when she was taking care of a household of nine.
By the time she made this doily, my dad and my Aunt Sue may have been the only children left at home. The pattern was published in 1949, when they would still have been in high school.
Finding the publication date was a job for the Doily Detective (me). First I searched “daisy doily crochet pattern.” This returned lots of beautiful doilies, but not this one.
Well…the flowers might be sunflowers, I thought. A search of “sunflower doily crochet” turned up another batch of lovely pieces and hey! There was an image similar to my grandmother’s doily!
A few more clicks took me to a site that offers free vintage crochet patterns. That’s where I found out that this doily is called the Black-Eyed Susan Doily.
I searched Ravelry, an online knitting and crochet community, for the Black-Eyed Susan Doily, and found that it was published in January 1949 in Coats & Clark O. N. T. #258 Floral Doilies leaflet (pattern #D-207). The pattern also appeared in a leaflet called Floral Doilies for Crocheting.
Like quilts, doilies are an important part of our heritage. Quilts have been studied and written about extensively, but doilies have not. Let’s do something about this!