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Rescuing Doilies

By: Sharon A. Smith

Ballerinas, 24" x 30", #6- to 8-cut wool on linen. Designed by Sharon Smith and hooked and embellished by Suzan Farrens, Peninsula Guild, Santa Cruz, California, 2018.

I received a wonderful box in the mail one day. The surprise package was full of mostly old doilies, with other linens and even feathers. The generous treasure was from Sherrie Peterson, a fellow hooker who asserted I might know what to do with them. I readily accepted the gift and quickly sent her a couple of patterns as a thank you.

That was the beginning of a "hooking with doilies" daydream. I started by dyeing them. Because I was sure they were cotton, I consulted Dharma Trading Co. and decided on using their fiber-reactive dyes.

They had been buried in a closet somewhere, therefore I had no fear of cutting them up. If I used them in my artwork, they would finally be seen and admired. I rather like the idea of finally showcasing these once hidden-in-a-closet doilies.

To prepare them for reuse, I hand stitched the edges down to prevent fraying. In other pieces, the doilies were sturdy enough to withstand unraveling. You might choose to machine or hand-stitch the edges.

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