Thursday, July 30, 2009

Grandma's doily

TattingChic posted about the antique collar in her possession. Some of the joins in that collar are picot joins and some are tied joins. I mentioned to her that I had a doily of my grandmother Eulalia's that also had both types of joins. She requested I post it. I was surprised as I had posted it before, then went to my blog expecting to be able to send her the link, and much to my surprise couldn't find the post. I then realized that I must have posted it on my old yahoo360 blog that no longer exists.

Grandmother Eulalia is the one that taught me to tat and whose large thread stash I inherited. I have some other items that she tatted and I will post them another time.

I decided to update my scan of the doily by removing it from the frame it was in. I have never liked the backing fabric it is on and the frame was sealed up tight. it is my understanding that lace needs to breathe. I also don't know if the backing fabric is archival quality. The doily seems in very good shape so maybe it is.

This first scan is of the doily only. the fabric behind it is supposed to be a very deep purple crushed velvet.

The joins within the medallions are regular picot joins like we do now. The joins between the medallions are picots tied together.
There are 11 large medallions and 11 small clovers.
I just realized that I scanned the back of the doily. She hemmed the fabric with buttonhole stitching, then attached the tatting with separate stitches.

This second scan is of the note that is in the bottom corner of the frame. It lists my grandparents names, their wedding date, their children's birthdays, and the approximate date the doily was made - 1920. This display was put together by my aunt Selina over 20 years ago.

you will see in the note that her name is listed as Lala. She did not like her name - Eulalia - I did and would have used it as the middle name for my second daughter if she hadn't been so upset and horrified about the idea, she did allow me to use her middle name Elizabeth instead.
This third scan is a picture of my grandparents on their wedding day. It is in the other corner of the frame.

This is a scan of the arrangement of doily, note and picture in the frame.

The goldish backing fabric is a stiff velour. I am going to see what I can do about being sure this is framed correctly. While this has been in a frame, it has been stored flat in a box out of any light. It needs to be displayed, but I want to do it right. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to contact me.
Until I get it all figured out, I will roll the doily in clean white cotton.


  1. Very interesting. My gran and I learnt to tat together so I don't have any of her bits and pieces. In fact all I have got are samples that she worked and notes she made!

  2. Thanks for sharing some of your family history... the doily is lovely!

  3. What a beautiful piece of your heritage! I really enjoyed the story of Lala and her beautiful doily and how she didn't like her real name! It's really special to know the story behind that beautiful piece of lace! :)
    Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Jeanne, what a great piece of family history. It's interesting that 20 years ago, your aunt saw tatting as "an almost forgotten art". It probably seemed so then-- how much progress we have made!

    Regarding the joins, it seems to me that there are two different phenomena going on. In your grandmother's doily, she obviously knew how to do modern joins from the start, as they appear within each motif. I imagine she probably chose to make each motif separately, either to keep them clean as she worked, or to avoid tricky joins putting them together, or both. She then sewed them together when they were all made.

    OTOH, TattingChic's collar shows the old-style tied picots on the inner parts of the piece, and modern joins on the outer round. This leads me to suspect that the tatter put the collar aside for a while and then learned to make joins before she did the final round. Or possibly, the inner part was worked by one tatter and the outer round done by another, maybe her daughter or granddaughter.

    Pure speculation, of course, but it's fun.

  5. How wonderful to able to go back and relate your family tatting history. I am the only one in my family who tats. None of my children are showing any interest in it. And I can't see that I'll be able to pass it to anybody of the next generation. How sad - for me, that is.

  6. Hello Jane, it would be fun to see your "granny's" tatting, you will have to show it some time.

    Hi Diane, thanks for your comment

    Hey Chiclet, nice to see you.

    Hi Miranda, you might be right about that. I half wondered myself if that was the only way she could figure out how to join without havning all the work in her hands all the time.

    Hello Jon, I too am the only one left who tats. both grandmothers have died and none of my children are interested in learning. I have hopes that some of the grandkids will want to learn, I have started the 2 oldest with spool knitters, so will see how they do to start.

  7. What a wonderful keepsake you have from your grandmother. You are lucky! No one in the entire history of my gene pool ( I am fairly certain!) has ever uttered the word tat, let alone used a shuttle!!!

  8. Hi Fox, I consider myself very fortunate that both of my grandmothers knew how to tat. Gma Eulalia taught me, but Gma Bernice also knew how to tat but didn't do it much.

  9. That's some piece of tatting history. Well done to the person who put it all together into a frame. Thanks so much for showing it to us all.

  10. your Welcome Tatskool
    Thanks for coming to visit

  11. How wonderful to have your grandmother Lala's doily! I love the display that was done. So cool to have her wedding picture in the display!

  12. Hi EnlightenedByAngels, thanks for stopping by. That is the only picture that I have of their wedding. my dad has more I think, I will have to ask.

  13. I loved this post Jeanne. The doily and the history behind it are so special even to those of us who are just viewing it here on your blog.

    I think history such as this is why I always buck using things like quilting machines or sock machines because I don't believe there is anything that can truly out do what the human hand can. If I wanted something machine made, I would just go and buy it but what's the fun of that with no history or hand touch behind it?

    I have an older doily that one of my relatives made years ago. It's falling apart but it's simply outstanding in the pattern and workmanship that is still in tact. For the past couple of years I have been trying to recreate it without a pattern and that takes such concentration so I have to put it to rest every once in a while. Maybe I will get it done within the next decade!

    I love all your posts and admire your tatting ability

  14. Hi Nimble Fingers,
    Thanks for stopping by, you always do such very good work.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    I admire your expertise with knitting and quilting, neither of which I have the patience for. The older doily you are referring too, what version of lace is it? knitting, crochet, tatting?????

  15. Jeanne, I forgot all about your blog so haven't been here for awhile. Had to check out the "grandma Eulalia" story. I didn't know you had wanted to use her name for one of the girl's middle names. I just remember her saying that if any of us named our children after her she would probably have to haunt us! I love my memories of her and wish I would have been a little older when she lived with us so I would have appreciated her more. Thanks for carrying on her craft. And making it your own!
    Love ya,

  16. Thanks Janet,
    I really wish, and so does Anna, that I had gone ahead and used her name anyway. But I was taught to respect my elders, so followed her wishes.

    thanks for stopping by.


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