Fancy shmancy

During Holy Week (in Spain “Semana Santa”) I didn’t leave the house much.  I did, however, run into a parade. Actually, it was passing by the entrance to my building as I was going out to buy bread. I have no idea what church they were coming from, but they were all dressed up in red:

In fact, we could say that the people in the parade were dressed up and fancy. Which leads me to what I’m actually going to write about.

I did some fancy crochet rather than work on my sweater during my mini vacation. I was inspired to do this because the weekend before I had bought some vintage crochet magazines at a book fair in Valladolid. The magazines made me feel nostalgic about when my mother taught me how to crochet. My first childhood projects were crocheted doilies, of course! During the week I made two doilies, one rather large and the other medium-sized. The first one I made was Agnes Russell’s “Pineapple Pinwheel.”

As you might notice from the picture of my finished project, above, the name of the pattern doesn’t disappoint. It’s a big pinwheel surrounded by little pineapples.

The other doily I made is from a pattern I found in one of the vintage magazines I bought. The pattern is called “California” and it comes from the magazine Ganchillo Selección number 42 (1982) which advertises itself as a “recopilación de Punto Rama” which simply means that the publisher selected some nifty patterns from the magazine Punto Rama for this edition. Anyway, I can’t link to the pattern on Ravelry because it’s just not indexed there. Here’s my finished “California:”

I have no idea why this doily is named “California.” It doesn’t remind me of California at all. It was a well-written pattern with a handy chart, though.

Anyway, I got all fancy and made doilies. Even better, I had lots of fun and reveled in my childhood memories of learning to crochet and making doilies.

What the heck do we do with doilies?

Frankly, in the year 2015, not much. In Victorian times and in the twentieth century (including in my mom’s house) they were used for serving food and to protect furniture and upholstery. An interesting history of the doily — peppered with dry humor — explains to us that, in the Victorian age, men used Macassar oil in their hair. So, doilies acted as a buffer between gentlemen’s greasy heads and the upholstery. Junkbox Treasures also offers an interesting history of the doily with some references to old magazines and newspapers.

Just doing a Google search of the words “doily uses” will bring up all kinds of lists and ideas about what to do with doilies. This here is a list from Brit+co. To make it even easier for you to find creative ways to use doilies, try this Pinterest board. Really, the sky’s the limit. People use them as stencils for painting bags and boxes, arrange them in shadow boxes, and even turn them into lampshades.

Of course, a doily would be a great item to include in some sort of gift box, like the kinds that are traded at knitting and crochet clubs.

What am I going to do with mine? I’m not sure. If I ever have people over for dinner maybe I’ll use one to decorate the table. Until then, I’ll just let them sit in a box to wait for me to make up my mind.


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