A friend of mine asked a question about doileys over email, and I sent her a Rambling Fast Punch History of Craft Lesson in reply. So I figured I’d share it.
The traditional spelling of doiley is actually D’oyleys. It would be a great comfort to me if you could use the correct term from now on.
ahems. When I first came across the old spelling of it, I thought it was quite pretentious. A quick search on the net reveals that people think that it either comes from French or that Mr. D’oyley is credited as the first person to make them. I find that claim dubious, doilies are embroidered bits of cloth with crochet edges, and since they can’t pin point where crochet comes from, the first printed examples of it are crochet patterns from the 1800s, and since they’re already quite complicated, that suggests that people already knew how to crochet. And if they can’t pin point when crochet happened, I’d think it’s dreadfully difficult to then pin point who came up with the first doiley. Interestingly enough, the oldest surviving knitted items are amazing socks from the arab world with very complicated patterns, you can find photos here: http://home.earthlink.net/~
And I just received The Subversive Stitch , Embroidery and the making of the femine, By Rozsika Parker so I can’t wait to get started on that. I found it via a footnote in It keeps me sane: Women, craft, wellbeing by Enza Gandolfo and Marty Grace. I love how it’s an adventure, finding clues and hints in one book to lead you onto the next. I’m a big fan! they call me Craftianna Jones…