Softening the Edges

When I was a kid, I would sometimes find myself at a friend’s house for a moment or two before we went out to play. There was a fad then for elaborate lace doilies, and I can remember seeing them on coffee tables or sideboards–big ruffled, starched doilies adorned with pansies and roses, usually displayed with precious pieces of china. They were a crocheting tour de force, and they were displayed proudly. I guess I remember them because they were so much astonishingly more fussy than anything my own mom would do. So crocheting lace was something that never attracted me, seeming a bit fuddy-duddy. Fast forward to now, though, and I have come to love crocheting lace, though in a simpler form than ruffled doilies. I enjoy creating something beautiful with only a ball of thread, a crochet hook, and my hands. My first project was to make a lace edging for a shelf in my hutch. A foundation strip is crocheted, and then little dangling berries are crocheted onto the strip. As lace goes, this is easy, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginning crocheter, because using the steel crochet hook takes some practice.

As for length, this lace has a lot of give and stretch. As I crocheted, I periodically held the strip up the shelf edge, pulling the strip taut (not enough to distort, though), to see how much more to make. If the lace is made to exactly the length of the shelf, it will sag.

This pattern comes from Fifty Beautiful Edgings, a Leisure Arts publication sold at craft stores. It has some of the most beautiful lace edgings I have seen, and I will definitely make more.

Materials: Crochet thread (Weight 10), steel crochet hook size 8/1.50mm

Filet Foundation
Chain 11 loosely
Row 1: Dc in eighth ch from hook, ch 2, skip next  2 chs, dc in last ch: 2 ch-sps.
Row 2: Ch 5, turn; dc in next dc, ch 2, skip next 2 chs, dc in next ch.
Repeat Row 2 for desired length, working a multiple of 3 + 1 rows; do not finish off.
Ch 1; working in end of rows, sc in first row, *ch 10, slip st in sixth ch from hook to form ring, (sc, hdc, 9 dc, hdc, sc) in ring, ch 4, skip next 2 rows, sc in next row; repeat from * across, sc evenly across beginning ch of Foundation, 3 sc in end of each row across, sc evenly across last row of Foundation; join with slip st to first sc, finish off.

A book of lace edgings published by The Spool Cotton Co. in 1940.

You can wash and block the edging, but I took the easier approach by lighting steam-pressing it with an iron. I affixed the edging to the shelf with two old, antique-looking thumbtacks, and used a short length of double-stick tape at the center of the edging to make sure it wouldn’t sag.

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