The Making of a Memory Collage, Part 2

I’ve been slower getting back to this project than anticipated. Oh heck, call it for what it is…procrastination.  Then again, distraction might be the better excuse.  It’s summertime and gardening season – we’ve worked non-stop in the back yard for months now, moving plants and shrubs and trees to their permanent location.  But that’s for another post.

The doily was stitched onto the hemp fabric with invisible thread – actually it’s more like very thin fishing line. Not much of the doily will show with all the other objects being laid on top, but I want to make sure it won’t flop over either.

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I have many, many crochet pieces from both my mother and grandmother. Mother distributed them to all her daughters and daughter-in-law; I wonder if they still have them, or if they’re stored away like mine are? It seems a shame to keep this fine needlework hidden. I’ve looked for different projects and ways to display them, but only one has really caught my attention. Another project on my ‘to-do’ list!

Confession: I didn’t starch the crochet doily!

Mother was a stickler about this; she would wash, starch, and shape the doilies so they dried to show off each intricate stitch (well, almost ;). I’ve never had the patience to do this, but included directions below.

The next piece to be attached is a sample of Hungarian Matyo embroidery. During my visit to Hungary years ago, I recall my Aunt had stacks of patterns that she would use and sell; it was her business and livelihood. Wonder what happened to all of them? I am fortunate to have several pieces of Matyo embroidery.

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Finally, I took photos of each page of her workbook/resume. Once the book is attached and behind glass, the pages won’t be accessible. They’re so fragile now; I had to work carefully so as not to have the book fall apart on me. As you can see, stitches had already been added in years past to hold it together.

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Part 3 coming soon! Just waiting for a rainy day to pull me out of the garden and back into my studio.

Doily Starch

Fill a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, then add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir with a spoon or whisk, making sure  you get into the corners so all the sugar is mixed in.

Set the burner to low heat and place the pan on it, heating to a slow simmer. Don’t let it boil. The sugar should turn a clear colour with a fluid texture, not sugary/white. Remove from burner and allow the sugar starch to cool.

Next, fill the sink with very warm – not hot – water. Wetting the doilies prevents the fibres from absorbing too much starch. Dip each doily in the mixture and then lay them on an absorbent bath towel. Roll up the towel to blot up excess water. Don’t wring, twist, or pull the wet doilies  – it may damage and stretch them out of shape.

Drop each doily into the sugar starch, leaving them in for a few minutes. Remove individually and gently squeeze excess starch over the sink to get out as much as possible. Again, don’t wring or twist.

Lay each doily on a fresh towel, gently shaping them into form. Tack them with stainless sewing pins to prevent them from shrinking while they dry. Leave them undisturbed for several days, then remove pins and use them as desired.

 

 

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