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Wearable art Part VII - Doilies and Laces
By Kathleen Brown, Of My Hands


I am always drawn to the boxes of laces and doilies at garage and estate sales. Part of the lure is the challenge of finding treasures in the bottom of these boxes that no one else has yet discovered. And the other part is the obligation I feel to recycle something of importance. At some point, someone spent a great deal of time tatting or crocheting or knitting the beauties we know as doilies and laces. The delicate and often intricate stitches remind me that not everything has to be and immediate reward. So often we fill our busy days with activities that have no time for a legacy to be built. These pieces of fiber can conjure up all kinds of historical stories.

Some laces and doilies have stains that you may or may not want. In several of my pieces, you will see stained lace which add to the aged look I might be after; so I've left the stains intact. Other times, I've wanted a more "pure" look and have opted to clean a piece. I usually use a mild detergent and then spread the article on the grass to dry. The chlorophyll evidently helps eliminate the stain. This cleaning process works on linens also.

You don't even need a whole piece of lace or a whole doily. In fact, if you only have a little scrap, you will find more interesting ways to use that scrap than if you had a full length or a full piece. Old tablecloths are perfect examples - I once found several lace tablecloths in a dumpster.

Every one of them had a worn spot or large stain. Evidently, someone had cleaned out Granny's old stuff and tossed what they regarded as trash. What a find for me! I've used those tablecloths in more pieces of quilts and clothing than I can count.

Fortunately, even though I didn't crochet or tat until I was an adult, I did have an appreciation for the art, and have some treasured pieces from various great-aunts and great-grandmothers. Until I began embellishing clothing and other quilted pieces, those treasures were in drawers; aging, waiting for just the right time to make their appearances. When I use these pieces, I feel as if I'm not alone in the creative process of a finished garment - but that my great-grandmother has added her talents as well.

Divided Doily

Great New Laces

A Great Garage Sale Find

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