Sunday, January 27, 2013

Magic Crochet (Filet)

I love old lace, just about any type any form and out of most types of fibers. It is interesting to me how I will find something, a piece of lace, a vintage tablecloth, etc. I like and then find many more of the same thing in rapid succession. Such is with crochet. Not just any crochet, but thread crochet. The type of crochet that is seen in tablecloths and doilies . Many times this type of crochet object contain some sort of picture design. The most common of the patterns I have seen contain flowers such as roses, but cherubs and birds are also prominent.

I was in Wisconsin this last summer and at a yard sale I bought a magazine called Magic Crochet. click here to see images of magic crochet magazine. Here is the cover image of my copy, the one I bought at the yard sale. 

I had never heard of this magazine so I did a little research. I found that it was last published in 2005 and was British in origin. By the looks of it. it was a high quality magazine.

Originally the magazine cost $2.50, but I got if for the bargain price of $1. I bought the magazine because right before I left France for vacation in the States I had bought a couple of "rideaux", otherwise known as curtains. These curtains were in, what I now know to be, a classic style. A hand knotted netting would be made to sandwich a thread crochet panel.  The maker would construct the curtain making the crochet design at eye level for anyone passing by the window. This placement would somewhat block outsiders from seeing in. At the top and bottom used to be poles that connected to the window keeping it in place flush with the glass.The windows that they covered were not wide, but they appeared to be pretty long. At first when I bought the curtains I did so with the thought of using the hand knotted netting in some sort of project. I love hand knotted netting. I could definitively find a use for it. I was not sure what to do with the thread crochet piece. The set back to doing anything with them turned out to be that the curtains were in wonderful condition. I have a problem cutting into anything that is not in some way unraveled, ripped or permanently stained or in my words; broken.

Here are the two curtains, Likely made by the same person, but they are not quite a matching thread as the netting is a different shade of ivory, The first one is the larger/wider of the two. Pretty evident from the center crochet design. It looks like the crochet was once all the same piece and cut to make these two curtain.

Larger/wider curtain
This second one is the narrower one but has the same overall length.
Narrow curtain
I have found several more like these over the past year. Of course if the price was right, I have bought them. I have 3 sets now.The first set I found, on an earlier trip to the States, I brought them to a sewing class so I could ask if anyone could identify the art form.

Lately I have found other thread crochet items. Some of those I have found are included the pictures below. 

I will start off with the flowers since they seem to be the most abundant. The first was an old table cloth I found at a yard sale. Someone had painstakingly removed one of the thread crochet panels leaving the rest, including the yards and yards of hand crochet edging intact. As it was "broken", I felt I had full rights on making something fun with it. The crochet is beautiful and the pulled thread work is done on a loosely woven fabric.

Many times when I find parts of things.  For a curtain, since the netting was easy to make or buy and the thread crochet was the part that took the most work, if it was kept, it was cut away from the rest of the curtain to be saved and stored for years in an attic. 

If it was a garment, the crochet was removed from the  garment and stored. Below is an example of that. This was most likely the top to a night gown. The thought for all of these items was that the crochet was too valuable to throw away. 

Here is another piece, that was once part of a dresser runner.

And another, this one the tablecloth in the center is missing, but the crochet remains

Here is one of two, matching set that came off of who knows what?

Not a flower, but the same type of crochet item.

Getting back to curtains, It is for the above reason that I seldom find the whole curtain instead I find the thread crochet. Here is an of example of what was probably part of a curtain.

Life would not be complete without a couple of cherubs. Notice the thread still attached where it was removed from whatever it was originally attached. This piece is actually rather heavy. A thicker weight thread was used than would be for a table cloth. Size wise, the cherub piece measures over 25 inches in height.

 Cats and dogs are featured often. So here is one with a kitten:

The kitten is 9x11".

Birds were also popular. Here are what appears to be doves. Actually in France, a better guess would be pigeons:

Then there are the edgings.

There is always the unusual. This part of France was once Germany. Vintage items with German writing are relatively common. This one is an example of that and it says Gute Nacht or Good Night. It is a long piece crochet using a heavier weight thread.

Finally Stars are a common theme.  Here is a square table topper about 20 inches square.

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