Vintage Crochet Lace Table Doilies and Textiles
The custom of using fine table linen was almost universal throughout France and Italy by the 12th century. The doily (or doilie) is an ornamental mat, originally the name of a fabric made by Doiley, a 17th-century London draper. Doily earlier meant "genteel, affordable woolens".
Many table linens are crocheted and sometimes knitted out of cotton or linen thread. Openwork allows the surface of the underlying object to show through. In addition to their decorative function doilies have the utilitarian role of protecting fine-wood furniture from the scratches caused by crockery or decorative objects.
Many patterns for crocheting or knitting doilies were published by thread manufacturers in the first part of the 20th century. The designers were often anonymous. The designs could be circular or oval starting from the center and working outward, reminiscent of the Polar coordinates system. Doilies, as well as other household items, may be made by crocheting rows on a grid pattern using a technique called filet crochet, similar to points on the Cartesian coordinate system. Although it may to some extent interfere with the original use, some doilies have raised designs (rose petals, popcorn, or ruffles) rather than being flat.
Using the antique art of crochet Doilies were originally crocheted with thread and used to protect table and dresser tops, and gained popularity in the Victorian Era, when women hand worked them in their spare time to add a little elegance to their households. At one time, these items were considered so important that a young lady was expected to have at least ten to be ready for marriage, and these were carefully stored in a hope chest to be used when she set up her household. As in all items of this nature, many hours go into the construction of the item, and each stitch is done by hand, as there is no machinery which can accurately do this work.
Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800's and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated. She published many pattern books so that millions of women could begin to copy her designs. Mlle. Riego also claimed to have invented "lace-like" crochet, today called Irish crochet.
Lavish crochet emerged along with other elaborate needlework of the 1800’s. Proceeds from crochet items saved the Irish from starvation.
The humble potholder, or pot holder, is so common-place in American kitchens that most of us notice it only when needed and missing. Reaching nearly automatically for these textile accessories while cooking, we are more apt to give them our consideration when we are unable to find one when we need it.
Taken so much for granted, potholders are seldom even mentioned in that cookbooks and kitchen guides. While many needleworkers are aware of potholders as exciting design options and rewarding craft projects, the potholder has been an artifact without apparent history or background, a tool so smoothly integrated with the substance of daily living that it has dropped almost entirely out of awareness.
It may come as a surprise to those who regard potholders as a necessary kitchen accessory worthy of consideration only when missing, that the familiar needlework and/or fabric potholder appears to be a relatively recent arrival upon the household scene. Museum collections reveal no potholders more than two centuries old, and these are so thin and dysfunctional for cooking that they are more likely to have been used in the parlor or dining room rather than in the kitchen.
The modern cook, confronted with innumerable historical examples of metal and ceramic cookware, balks stubbornly at the notion of handling these without potholders. The textile as a tool for hand protection, however, is pre-dated by a variety of devices that reflect the historical reluctance to use fabrics to handle hot objects before the Industrial Revolution reduced cost of textiles relative to wages.
Egyptian tomb paintings from 2500 B.C. forward show cookery and similar fire-related tasks being performed without hand protection, but this may be an artistic convention. Evolution of the Potholder - Rachel Maines
Some of the most unusual and charming pot holders date from the 1950's. Many of these were crocheted in a variety of novel shapes, including fruit, flowers and more. Other pot holders were sewn or knitted. A collection of these can be an ideal accent for a retro-style kitchen; however, do keep in mind that some may be too delicate for regular use or not provide adequate protection for your hands when used.
The old needle-made laces are labor intensive, and are rarely made today. Lace should not be confused with the filet lace interpretations copied by bobbins, crochet, and embroidery on fabric. Filet is an ancient lace technique, sometimes referred to as nun's work because it was known to be made in convents.
Lace history and lace identification books show wonderful examples of Lacis from as early as the 14th C. One of the earliest references to this work is a cushion of network that St. Paul's Cathedral possessed in 1295, and three pieces of the same work were in use in Exeter Cathedral in 1327.
"Filet" is the French word for a net, and "Lacis" for network - meaning in this case that the net has been ornamented with a design darned or applied upon its surface. The ground consisted of a delicate network made by hand, using the same technique as was used for making coarser fish and garden nets. On this ground the pattern was worked, usually by darning; the "point de toile" and the "point de reprise" being the stitches most generally employed. http://lace.lacefairy.com/ID/FiletID.html