Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Closet Femme (Who would want a doily?)



















I finished my doily last night and let me just say that doing crochet for the first time to cast off was NOT fun. I will not be taking up that particular craft in the near future. You can see the doily here blocked last night. I washed it in Soak, then pinned it out as you can see. I did not use starch or sizing and when I went to un-pin the doily it was not really holding shape well so I steam-blocked it. The doily now looks as if it is holding up pretty well but it still does not have that crisp look which I would like. I have this fear that putting in starch will degrade the threads or attract bugs. I brought it this morning for my good friend, Louise to look at. She does a lot of hand work and her sister used to make extravagant and beautiful doily's. Only a few of those survived and she attributes it to the use of starch. So I asked her what else I could do. Maybe you all know about this technique but I'd never heard of it. Most likely because I've never made a doily before. She said I could "wax" it. You take an ironing board, cover it with cloth to protect it, and either sandwich the doily between wax paper or else use wax paper only on the back of the doily, cover that with additional press cloth and then use the heat of the iron to lightly touch the doily as to melt the wax. You are not to press hard you understand. You are not trying to iron the work, just melt the wax. She says women used to also wax their veils on those small hats to keep the veils stiff and off their faces. I was going to give that a try with this doily but when I got to work this morning, one of the women I work with, someone I would never have guessed was a "closet femme", admired it and so off it went with her. I will be making a second one with a slightly different color center for Louise in the same pattern. Maybe then I can try the "wax" trick. Still working on Boundary Water edge but at least something is finished. It's so small, I can't count it to start a new project. Once Boundary Waters is done I will start "Heere Be Dragone" in black. Yes, I said black since it's for my niece Jessie and she is a young teen and so is "goth lite"rather than a true heavy metal goth. Got to go knit now. Good evening and Good knitting!

44 comments:

Toni said...

Gorgeous! I've used starch on my doilies and haven't encountered problems. I did read once of smaller projects like ornaments being dipped in Elmer's glue (yes, glue) or sugar water to stiffen them. The waxing thing intrigues me. I may try it for my next.

fleegle said...

Oh Jane--It's amazing! My grandmother used hair spray on her doilies. She also used it on bugs she found walking around the house, hat veils, and even her hair. That woman went through hair spray like most of us go through, say, a bag of potato chips.

Which pattern is that? Did you ever get my email about Neibling? Do you think it could enlarge to a shawl?

LittleBerry said...

It's lovely Jane and I'm glad it's found a good home... I do like that subtle green... I'm a sucker for greens especially the forrest ones...

I think seeing all those pins blocking the doiley might just put me off doiley knitting I think DH would sue for divorce based on mental cruelty... I have to confess he is much better at blocking than me....

KnitSanity said...

Jane, the doily is just beautiful. I know you switched to white because you ran out of the other colour, but I like the effect.

My aunts used to use sugar water or starch on their crocheted doilies. I don't know about wax but I do know that sugar water is not good and it does degrade (rot) the thread. I don't know why my mother never starched her doilies.

missalicefaye said...

Who wouldn't want such a beauty? :) You did a fabulous job on the crocheted edging and blocking, too. I can't wait to see your Lyra!

Carissa said...

Wow!!! bravo! that is absolutely beautiful!
Wondering if you got my question about where to purchase Boundary Waters?

Beth S. said...

I crocheted lots of doilies back in middle school and junior high, before I became a knitter. I'd buy DMC cotton and Leisure Arts booklets at Joann's, and crank them out as fast as I could with those tiny little steel hooks. So I have a soft spot for doilies, and I think yours is lovely. :-) I never starched any of mine, just pinned them out and steamed them as best as I could. The wax idea is brilliant, though.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous doily! I am still struggling with mine.

Re: starch
I have several starched doilies, runners and tablecloths that are now 100 years old passed down from my family. There is no degradation that I can see (I did textile conservation in my past, so I look for that sort of thing). I will note that none of these were spray-starched. They used the old-fashioned starch from a box.

Diane Catalano de Rodriguez

Kathy said...

Dear Jane, I Love it!

It's gorgeous, and I have a huge weakness for doilies.

I use cornstarch for blocking, that is the only thing I use, but I will try the waxing for a doily for sure. Now I just need to go knit one.....



Kathy

Opal said...

That is one breathtaking piece of work! I can't believe you just gave it away. What a generous spirit you possess! I love the wax paper tip. If I ever get around to knitting the myriad of doily patterns that I have, I'll definitely have to try that.

Anonymous said...

All I can see rt. now are ALL! those pins. It did turn out beautifully, you don't let some ol' crocheting get in your way do you? I have fond memories of doilies as my dad had a finishing laundry and doilies were his specialty. He'd wash them, put them thru cornstartch, dry, them iron each by hand forming the up and down swirls - no flat doilies for him:) Terry (who is patiently awaiting your next beautiful piece of work)

Anonymous said...

I would love a doily. I lost all of my grandmothers years ago in Hurrican Andrew. When I see them, it makes me think of her & my aunts crocheting & knitting them back in Ireland. Yours is just beautiful!

Kat said...

Wow, it's beautiful, as are all your projects!!

I have to admit that I kind of like crocheting off the edge, but I hate pinning out all those little loops.

I'm going to have to try the wax trick! I need to re-block a doily before mailing it off to my aunt. Thanks for posting about that!!

Jane said...

Dear Toni,

I've heard about the glue thing too but I wouldn't want to go quite that stiff. I have the yips about starch only because Sharon Miller cautions in her book to wash the starch out before you go to store your ring shawl and various elderly friends of mine have had bad experiences with starch "rotting"the tread. Still, they all live in San Francisco where there is quite a it of humidity some months of the year. Maybe the trick is to keep it dry. Thanks for dropping in!

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

Ah hairspray. I've used it in a pinch to slow bugs down long enough to swat at them. I'm not sure if I would use it with a doily. I think I'll stick to just plain steam blocking. As for if Lyra would block to a shawl, I think it would. There is a site, the Lyra Learning Group (http://lyralearninggroup.blogspot.com/) where quite a few knitters posted on their work on Lyra. A few of them knit it in Zephyr or yarn rather than crochet cotton but not everyone posted the dimensions they ended up with. One, Judy Anderson did it in Zephyr and used 1,900 yarads and ended up with a 58" square but did not post what size needle she used. One person used a US 3 on size 10 cotton and ended up with a 48" in diameter Lyra. I'm up to row 51 and took a rough measurement. I think mine will end up around 45 inches or better, depending on how much I decide to block it. Of course, you could skip the crochet edge and attach a different knitted edge to make it larger, but I don't have any idea what that would look like. I'm looking at a ball of Zephyr and it's quite a bit bigger in diameter than my yarn, more than twice the size. Still, mine is going to fluff up. Swatch Swatch Swatch. Yes, thank you I got your e-mail at last. You lucky girl for having so many Nieblings hiding in your collection! You may do as you like but I love to see you knit and think it would be fantastic and fun and maybe we will infect others! Good Luck dear fleegle

Jane said...

Dear littleberry,

I'm glad it went to my co-worker. She's seen other things I've made and never got as excited as she did when she saw that doily. Go figure. I was so happy to find something to give her that she liked because we've worked together for years and years and she's a very very good person. It was a real privilege to be able to let her have it. As for the pins, Let me just say that it was tedious but worth the result. I actually liked doing that doily and it was such a compact project I carried the whole thing in one of the bags fleegle sent me from Japan. Actually, the bag got more attention than the doily but that's to be expected. It must be nice to have someone who is good at blocking but you are right. Doing this might just be more than one could expect one's partner to tollerate :-)

Jane said...

Dear knitsanity,

I'd be afraid the ants would want the doily. We already have tiny ants that attack durring the Summer looking for water. I have no experience with starch for doilys. My father used starch in the laundry for shirts etc. I wonder if that was different in nature than say corn starch etc? Maybe that starch wouldn't have degraded? I have no clue Still,the doily really was ok steam blocked. I find it really interesting to hear what people used to do to try to get these doilys the way they wanted them.

Jane said...

Dear missalicefaye,

Thank you! I think it came out really well too considering it's my first real doily. In an Italian magazine no less! I think Lyra will be very pretty too and it really is a pleasure to knit. Much as I love Shetland Lace, WRS has almost killed me. My own fault for picking this yarn, but I'd held onto that yarn for so long I had my heart set on using it. Next one will be silk/cashmere so I don't have to be afraid of it shreading!

Jane said...

Dear Carissa,

I just sent you an e-mail and I hope you get it. I'm afraid that I do not know of anywhere to get the Boundary Waters pattern since this is a very old pattern and I don't think it is available for purchase any longer. The designers are "Two Old Bags" and I don't know if they plan to re-issue this pattern. They do not have a direct web site that I can find this is the contact information I have off of another pattern of theirs

Two Old Bags (formerly Wool You Order)
Ann Swanson (507)289-1874
Katie Nagorney (507) 289-3337
Knagorney@aol.com
718 8th Ave SW
Rochester, NM 55902

Good Luck!

Jane said...

Dear beth s,

I had never heard of that wax thing until my friend Louise told me about it. It apparantly was a common practice among her peers out here on the West Coast. As long as it's not over done, I imagine It wouldn't hurt. I'm game to give it a try with the next doily. I can see why you would have a soft spot for them. They really are very pretty and kind of addicting too.

Jane said...

Dear Diane,

It's good to know you have had sucess with the starch. Makes me less nervous about it. I'm sorry you are having trouble with that doily. Did you check the Lacis Forum for Lace Knitters? They posted that there is an error in the pattern around rows 45 and 47. I had already gone past that point and figured it out before the correction was posted but it did cause some moderate swearing since I had to rip back and I was still on US 0000 needles. Much suckage to be sure. Hope you are making headway now. Thank you for your comment. It's always really nice to hear from anyone checking out the old blog.

Jane said...

Dear kathy,

Another positive user of starch! I have to admit I wanted to do the doily because it would be a short project and I must say I do like how it came out. I have too many long projects, not enough short ones. I must come up with more short ones for variety. I must say I now understand why people who make doilys make so many of them. It really was very entertaining. Since I don't knit socks, maybe this would be that "small" project I could tote around instead of a sock? Hmmmm.

Jane said...

Dear Opal,

She really is a very good person. I mean, good for someone who does not knit :-) I've got tons of patterns for doilys and have not knit any until now. If you do knit one you may get hooked so beware. I'm thinking this is what I might tote around in lieu of socks which I don't really do. I think if you knit a doily your sock collection may get jealous and stomp on you doily in the middle of the night :-) I mean, you never know.

Jane said...

Dear Terry,

My dad worked in a laundry. Well do I remember the smell of steam and cotton and starch. What a delicate touch your Dad must have had to be able to work on that lace. What a wonderful memory to have. Those pins do indeed look daunting but when you are having a hot-flash, it is actually something to do other than sweat. Not so bad if you look at it in that light LOL

Jane said...

Dear anon,

How awful to loose them all! Do you knit or crochet yourself? Perhaps you could make a few doilys in memory of them? It gives me pause. I need to keep some of them for my own neices. I know they won't care for a long time, but maybe some day they will. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad looking at the doily made you have fond memories. Those will endure even if the doily's did not:-)

Jane said...

Dear Kat,

Say it with me, "Carpel Tunnel Syndrome"! I think I'm too up-tight to enjoy crochet but I did get it done. Actually, I confess I rather liked pinning it out since I was awake anyway. I'm happy to give you eye-candy since I'm so darned slow with all the projects.

Laritza said...

You did a great job! congrats. I starch mine if they are going to the Fair or are going to be put in use (yes I use them in my living room side tables and bed stands) If not to use then wash and store in a blue cloth. Blue keeps them white......or so said my Grandma. Never tried anything else so I don't know if the blue story is true or not. I don't want to find out.
I have seen the dragon pattern elsewhere but dragons creep me out!
No dragons for me :D or clowns!

Jane said...

Dear Laritza,

You know, if my neice really thought about that "Big flying lizzard" aspect of the whole Dragone thing she might not like it so much. As it is, she has dragones in glass, in oragami, a draone kite from Bali my sister and I got her, in her jewelery and Tee shirts and on the artwork on her walls. What can I say? So I will try to knit that Dragone pattern. At least she has no interest in Pegasus because I belive she now has a shawl with that on it too! As for clowns, you have to be psychic. My good friend Louise loves clowns. She has blown glass clowns in her house. So far she has not asked me to knit her one though LOL

Jason said...

The doily really is gorgeous! The wax trick is good to know. I wonder if I can find info on the Net. Always learning things on your blog. :-)

BadCatDesigns said...

Really lovely doily action!

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

I have no idea how many people might have tried this out. My friend Louise is elderly and this may be something that is no longer in common practice. Still, it's an interesting idea. Good to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and your family.

Jane said...

Dear badcatdesigns,

Thank you! for a first doily it's actually pretty nice. I think I will be trying more of them in the future.

Agneta said...

Absolutely goergeous

lillysmuul said...

Beautiful doily!
never heard about using wax paper but sure it's easier to use than starching.
If I have to do this kind of thing will try spray starch or diluted PVA clue(no experience jet).
I also think you have deserved Rockin'Girl Blogger award! read more in my blog...;)

Carol said...

Taht's very pretty! And I've never heard of waxing lace either. My new knowledge for the day....

OceanKnitter said...

Beautiful doily, Jane! I'm so amazed at your lovely work - the variety, the number of projects and the proficiency with which you execute them.

I've only starched doilies when they would be used or on display, but not for storing. As others have mentioned, I also heard that starch would turn yellow or discolor, and that it attracted bugs. I still have some of my great-grandmother's, grandmother's and great aunt's doilies and "bureau scarves" as they called them.

I'll definitely try the wax paper tip for the next one.

Sandy

Jane said...

Dear Agneta,


Thank you! Everyone has been really nice about this doily. I have to say I didn't really think it would be that much fun but it was quick and it's pretty and very portable so I think I will be doing more in the future. Thank you for your comment. Always nice to hear from people dropping by!

Jane said...

Dear Lillysmuul,

Thank you. I think I actually got that award and I don't think I really deserve one. Heck, I think you guys out there who surf the net for other blogs to look at are the one's who deserve the award for patience and stamina! I'm finding out that everyone has a technique for finishing their doily's so I will just have to experiment and see what works the best!

Jane said...

Dear Carol,

I learn more stuff from my friend Louise than you can belive. Because of her, I can swear in French too! Glad you liked the doily. I think I will make some more now I've got the hang of it!

Jane said...

Dear Sandy,

I think I will try out the starch too and see what happens. I wouldn't store them with the starch still in as you say.

I'm glad you are enjoying my lace work. High praise from you since your lace is so lovely and your own knitting superb! Your Lyra is just trilling to see. I want to say that I'm not that good at the lace. I can count on one hand the lace I've knit that has no errors. In fact, it's a given my work will have at least one or two errors that I will do a homer fix on or just live with. It doesn't really bother me too much and I don't let it get in the way of trying out lots of different patterns. I appreciate your kindness and your encourangement. Congratulations again on your wins at the San Mateo County Fair! You deserved them all!

Soo said...

Hi Jane. Thanks so muc for you offer to help with understanding my German Lyra pattern. Although I'm confident with charts (and I assume that will form most of the pattern) it is really comforting to know that I've got some back up!

I happened on Fleegle's blog (starting off from LittleBerry - I love blogs!) and see she's contemplating a Lyra as well and has already posted some getting started tips.

I'm getting very impatient to start this....I'm held back only the lack of a pattern (in the mail), and yarn (on order), oh! and the needles (need circulars in the right size). :)

Jane said...

Dear soo,

There are a few people out there who will be doing this pattern and I think that's wonderful. It didn't take that long for my magazine to come because the seller was in the USA so I had it in 2 days. I already had lots of candidates to knit this lace and I have had many years to collect knitting needles of every diameter and length so no waiting here LOL. I look forward to how you get on and if your copy does not come with the english translation for the symbols you know there are at least two of us happy to send you a copy. If you need to know what was written in English in terms of instructions in the magazine I can also give you information on that as well (original needle size, what was used to knit the orignal etc). Good Luck!

landofoz said...

Please try to find some evidence of actual wax content in today's wax paper. Our girl scout troop tried to follow some old directions for a classic craft project and it failed miserably. I found out later that today's wax paper doesn't actually have wax in/on it anymore -- it's some kind of plastic. Might vary from brand to brand? Your knitting and spinning is LOVELY!

DB

Jane said...

Dear landofoz,

Thank you for your comment! My friend Louise really is quite elderly so many things she used to do as a young woman really don't translate to current use as many proejcts no longer exsist. I will have to check to see if there is any "wax" paper still available. It would be a shame not to be able to try it out. As for my knitting a spinning, I'm glad you are enjoying it. I'm having a lot of fun with it.