Doily, lace, cotton, maker unknown, Europe, 1953-2001
This crocheted lace doily from Europe forms part of an extensive collection of textiles, dress and needlework assembled from 1953 to 2001 by Mrs Helen McLeod Crocker, traveller and collector. Almost thirty countries are represented in the collection. These include Afghanistan, Australia, Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Central Asia, China, Europe, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Lao, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Salvador, Somalia, South America, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen. The inspiration for the collection was grounded in Helen Crocker's desire to preserve the true essence of the societies she encountered. As a result she was very selective in the objects she chose.
Doilies such as this example represent an important pastime for women of the late 1800s to mid 1900s. Women's focus was the home and its decoration was important. Embroidery and crochet provided a much needed creative outlet for some and a restful leisure activity for others, as well as a way to commemorate significant events or supplement the family income. Doilies, and embroidery and crochet work more generally, were an affordable way to personalise and add aesthetic value to the home and were used also in protecting furniture, floors and walls, and keeping insects away from food.
This doily was produced in Europe by an unknown maker between 1953-2001.
The doily was worked in white cotton in crochet, beginning with a central loop, into which fourteen daisy petals were worked, followed by a row of treble crochet scallops linking the tips of the daisy petals. Around the central daisy, and linked to the scallops by chain stitch, is a row of seven large rounded hoop-like petals, with a large eyelet in the centre of each secured within an open chain stitch mesh. A treble crochet scallop fills the space between the petals, around which are three rows of chain stitch mesh. The outer border of the doily consists of a row of firmly worked three-leaf sprigs or bells.