Posts Tagged ‘doily’

Crochet Comets

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

At our 2015 Dublin Rippers quilting retreat, my friend Donna challenged us. She had a black plastic bag full of fabric. We had to close our eyes and reach into the bag. We had until the next year’s retreat to make something from the fabric we drew from the bag. She said we could make anything we wanted. It didn’t have to be a quilt.

My fabric was a tiny print that gave an overall impression of a kind of pinkish gray. It reminded me of the night sky.

Weren’t there a couple of yellow and white doilies in my collection at home that might make good comets? I went home to my doily collection and, yes! There they were.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

To get an idea of scale, I photographed the doilies and the gray fabric, plus some yellow fabrics that I planned to use for the comet tails. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to digitally build the wall hanging, cutting and pasting the images of doilies and fabric.

I put several stars in the sky, just to give me an idea of how they would look. In the real wall hanging, I would use more stars and they would be a lot fancier. And I’d sew on a bunch of buttons as smaller stars.

Photoshop Elements has a click-and-drag tool for drawing boxes and circles and, hey—stars! I clicked on the star shape and dragged the first one. It was black, because that was the last color I had used. I changed the color, and the next stars were yellow.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The sketch was pretty rough, but it served its purpose. I could tell that the quilt would have to be about five feet wide to give the doily comets and their tails enough room. The horizon and a few houses gave me an idea of proportions between sky and earth.

I started laying out the quilt top, stopping only to buy a length of fabric to go between the dark earth and the lighter sky. As I worked and laid out the doilies and houses and moon, I got a feeling. It was definitely located in my chest. It was a feeling of inevitability that seemed to squeeze my heart.

The feeling was that the sketch might be rough, but it was perfect the way it was. Any attempt on my part to fancy things up, would not make the finished product look any better. As I worked I came to know this without a doubt.

So the quilt is as close to the sketch as possible. I did fancy up the comet tails with buttons and beads, but the sky is plain, except for the appliqued stars, including a black one.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The back is made from scraps, many of which were giveaways from my quilting friends. It is quilted in mostly parallel, curving lines. That took a long time.

This was my first mostly-fabric quilt with raw-edge applique and very simple piecing, and I learned a lot. It is also the biggest quilt I have made so far.

Crochet Comets is on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, until April 23, 2017. Starting July 1, it will be part of the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, making its debut in Stephenville, Texas, at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery. (Details here.)

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

A Worthy Accomplishment

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

“Art imitates life,” people say. Recently, I saw art holding up a mirror to life, and the mirror reflected much more than I can usually see with the unaided eye.

At the movies we saw a preview of a boy who draws a monster into life, who frightens the bullies in the boy’s life. In our main feature, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a sad, desperate, and powerless person inadvertently turned frustration into a powerful external force that destroyed buildings and killed people. This force manifested as a storm of destructive particles.

At home, we watched Star Trek Beyond, where the huge, fancy Starship Enterprise is taken down by a swarm of tiny spaceships, under the command of an unhappy former Starfleet officer.

Two takeaways for me: desperation can turn into a deadly force; lots of tiny things can take down a big thing. These two phenomena are happening in our world’s population right now.

Which brings me quite naturally, I think you will agree, to my latest wall hanging, A Worthy Accomplishment.

Our United States culture worships enormity. Large corporations, huge wealth and fame, amazing feats of technology are admired and given special treatment. In contrast, regular people who do regular thing, like raising children, cleaning, cooking, going to work every day and other essential but not very exciting or profitable things, are treated as insignificant.

I think we need a more balanced approach. It’s fine to admire amazing things, and we should also value and admire everyday work and achievement. We need to acknowledge the contribution of people who take care of all the everyday things in this country, because they are the foundation on which our society is built.

For my own part, I want to bring to your attention the contribution of many thousands of women (mostly) who took the time to crochet a doily to beautify their homes, or a pretty trim to make a pillowcase or coverlet more inviting.

I can guarantee you that many of these creators would say, “Oh that’s nothing, really. It’s just something I made.”

I say, “It is something, precisely because you made it.” It is something handmade, with love or curiosity and certainly with skill. It is something to be proud of, something beautiful, something worthy.

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

Tell Me About Your Doilies!

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Black-Eyed Susan Doily

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.

To learn how you can join in this project, visit www.textilefusion.com/doily-heritage-project and click here to see a sample doily story.

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.

detail of Black-Eyed Susan Doily

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!