Thank you to Amy and Donna of Crochetville.com for inviting me to join this year’s National Crochet Month blog tour! This is a wonderful thing they do, in addition to providing an internet home for crocheters all year round.
Today, the love of crochet ties together thousands of people across the United States and the world. Crochet also reaches into the past to tie us to our ancestors and give us a sense of our place in history. Even for people who don’t do it themselves, crocheted items may bring back memories of happy times, visits, relatives long-gone.
I’m seeing this effect more and more as I prepare for the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, which debuts this summer in north central Texas. (See exhibit schedule here.)
The exhibit celebrates doilies through stories and memories from families in the area and beyond, through my own art and the poetry of Sandi Horton. Let me show you!
Stories and Memories
A few years ago, Mac McKinnon, who grew up a mile or so from where I live now, told me he had doilies and other crocheted items from his grandmother who raised him. “What can I do with them?” he asked. He was one of the first people I interviewed for the exhibit.
McKinnon was orphaned as a fairly young boy. His aunt and uncle adopted him, and he went to live with them in Comanche County, Texas, where the family farmed peanuts and cotton.
McKinnon’s grandmother lived nearby. She was Jesse Pearl Craddock McKinnon, born around 1893. Jesse often took care of him, and McKinnon emphasized that she also “took time with him.” She taught him how to play games, but didn’t let him win just because he was a kid. They did all kinds of crafts together. He remembers making cork necklaces and decorating them with sequins.
After her husband died in 1942, Mrs. McKinnon made a living sitting with elderly people. They were mostly bed-ridden, so she was there to keep them company and tend to their needs. Since a large part of the job entailed just being there, Jesse filled her time by crocheting.
The two doilies above and tnis table cloth are the work of Jesse Pearl Craddock McKinnon. It’s easy to understand Mac McKinnon’s love for his grandmother and his pride in her crochet skill.
Many more crochet stories and memories are featured at the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. (There’s still time to share your own family doily stories! I’ll tell you how in a minute.)
To me, many doilies are works of art and I certainly consider doily designers to be artists. For the past year, in preparation for Celebrate Doilies!, I’ve been using doilies in my wall hangings with great pride.
Celebrate Doilies! features around twenty doily-themed TextileFusion wall hangings, like Winterling. Inspired by my mom’s Zwiebelmuster china, I created a bouquet of crocheted flowers in a blue and white china vase. And of course the vase rests on a lovely large doily!
Doilies take to the skies in Crochet Comets, which was my first fabric quilt, in contrast to my usual knitted quilts. If you can’t wait until summer to see it, Crochet Comets is on display now in Golden, Colorado, at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum through April 23, 2017. For details, visit my Exhibition Schedule.
I love home. I love to be at home. I love home- and house-themed art and crafts. What a thrill it was to find this lovely antimacassar featuring a filet crochet house! I paired it with a vintage quilt top and added crochet trim and buttons to make this quilt called House of Crochet.
(The original instructions for crocheting this cute, cute house available for purchase online at Today’s Treasures.)
See these and many more doily-rich wall hangings at the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit and at my website, www.textilefusion.com. (follow the gallery links).
Poet Sandi Horton and I met at the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas Weekend in 2016. I spoke about the upcoming Celebrate Doilies exhibit, and how it would include stories and memories about family heirloom crochet.
Sandi often writes ekphrastic poetry, which is about a scene or a work of art. Ekphrastic poetry might describe a painting, a piece of music, or a performance.
After my talk, Sandi told me she had doilies and other crocheted items that her mother and grandmothers made. She said, “I would like to write poems about them.”
That sounded wonderful to me! Sandi’s poems about her family’s crochet and even about my wall hangings are featured in Celebrate Doilies. Here’s a poem about her experience with crochet. It is used with permission.
Copyright 2017 by Sandi Horton. All rights reserved.
The young girl eyes the multitude of colors
She wants to find just the right one
Should she be practical with a neutral
Or choose a bright, modern color?
Her mother and grandmother chose
Different shades of white and beige
They are so old-fashioned
The girl chooses a dazzling lime green
She wants to represent her generation
Even though most other girls don’t crochet
The girl wants to keep the chain going
Her nimble fingers tighten from the stress
Lime green thread twists around and around
The hook moves slowly, in an unsteady rhythm
Her mom says, ‘Crocheting relaxes me.’
The inexperienced girl continues to struggle
She refuses to give up
A smooth pattern finally takes shape
She finishes her first and only doily
Modern girls have better things to do
Find Sandi on Facebook at My House of Poetry.
You Can Still Participate!
Do you have beloved family heirloom crochet you would like for me to show in the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit?
If you do, please visit the Doily Heritage Project page online. It will give you information and links to the Doily Interview, plus hints for photographing your doilies.
To be included in the July-August exhibit in Stephenville, Texas, I need your information and photos by May 1, 2017. The deadline for entering the next show in Granbury, Texas, is June 1, 2017.
Support the Celebrate Doilies! Exhibit and Crochet Art
I hope you like the idea of Celebrate Doilies! enough to support this effort!
For as little as $1.00 per month (that’s $12 a year), you can help me to pay for making posters and cover other expenses associated with putting on the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. Visit my page at patreon.com to read more and donate.
You can choose one of several levels of support: $1, $3, $5, $10, $25, $50, or $100 per month. All of my patrons have access to a patrons-only feed, where I share exclusive news about my work and previews of blog posts. The rewards get better the higher the amount you pledge.
For instance, at the $5 level, you can participate in polls about names of wall hangings and design decisions, receive at least one art postcard per year, and have access to the patrons-only feed. And coming soon, at the $5 per month level, you can contribute a piece which I will use in a wall hanging.
Celebrate Doilies is Available to Travel
Celebrate Doilies! will be available to travel to other galleries and shows after October 1, 2017. Please email me at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com for scheduling and fees.
Small galleries and arts councils may be eligible for grant money to pay for exhibits like Celebrate Doilies!
Free Pattern for You, March 25 Only!
Thank you for reading this far! As a gift for you, today only (March 25th, 2017) you can download the patterns for these cute crocheted Turkeys and Penguins for free—normally a $2.00 value. Here’s the pattern link: Turkey and Penguin at Ravelry Store.
From March 26-28, 2017, the “Turkey and Penguin” pattern will be half-off. That’s one dollar.
Postcards for You!
This is the first of two postcards I will be mailing for the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. If you would like to be on my list for ONLY these two postcards, email me your mailing address (U. S. addresses only, please) at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com. I will not share your information.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading about Celebrate Doilies! Will you share your doily photos and stories for the exhibit? Please do!
And remember, doilies are perfect for your glamping décor needs.