Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Vintage Flower Doily Garland

Once upon a time, I discovered a crochet artist called Sophie Digard.  I fell into immediate rapturous love with her intricate lace like scarves; an alchemy of design and colour that had the inspiration levels soaring into overdrive!  I had never worked with cotton before, but decided it was something that I'd like to try crocheting with very much indeed.  My dear old Nan used to crochet doilies when she was alive, and these too held the same fragile allure for me.  Such care had been taken with the beautiful patterns, the elegant stitches creating a floral masterpiece that would have taken quite some time to create.

The thing was, a doily seemed doable, but a scarf or a shawl made with such fine threads seemed a little daunting.  Did I have the patience to work diligently at something that would surely be a labour of love, an endurance, a project that would take a Very Long Time?

In short, no.

I'm one of these people who sometimes like a quick result, a fast and happy little project that can be quickly made and installed; a project that I can work at alongside my Bigger Blanket projects.  And whilst I love the vintage feel of a crocheted doily, I wanted something a little more colourful and festive; something that would feel inspiring and exciting to look at.  So I decided to make a garland; a flowery, autumnal garland that I could hang in my home.  A garland inspired by my Nan's pretty doilies and the delicate threads of Sophie's beautiful creations, indeed it would be a miniature floral doily garland!

Oh the excitement at realising a new project is about to be undertaken!

So a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a handful of skeins of cotton thread.  I spent a happy half hour winding them onto old style wooden laundry pegs (my preferred method of storing all embroidery cottons).  I chose DMC perle cotton skeins #8, but you can also buy this in balls.

And then I dug out my Crochet Motifs book and looked for some pretty doily style flowers to make.

As most of the patterns are from the book, Im sorry to say that I cannot reproduce them here - but if you have the book yourself I can point you in the general direction of the flowers I chose (numbers 41 and 53).

I also designed a little flower myself - for which the pattern is here:

The stitches are written in US terms.

  • Ch4, SS to join to form ring.

  • Ch3, 14DC into ring, SS to join (15 stitches).

  • *Ch5, SS into 3rd stitch along* Repeat ** around circle, until you have 5 half circle loops made from the chain stitches.  SS to finish round in first stitch.

  • *6DC into each half circle loop*  Repeat ** into each loop to make petals, SS to finish and tie off.  Secure ends by sewing into the back of the flower.

You can use this pattern with any yarn of course, but for those of you who'd like to try out the cotton perle flowers that I made here, I used a 2.5 hook.

But now...it's time for a little Ta~Dah moment!

I've hung my little flowery doily garland over some photos and decopatched letters.

What do you think??  I'm rather smitten by it, and am now contemplating making one for my kitchen!  The flowers, although a little fiddly to start with do crochet up quite quickly once you get the hang of working with the cotton (I'm used to working with DK yarn, so it was quite a difference to me and took a little getting used to).  However, I think it's worth persevering with as the outcome is so delicate and pretty.

To  join your flowers to form a garland, choose a cotton/yarn colour and start by attaching with a SS to the top of a flower; then chain across (I chained 25 here) and SS to join your next flower.  Just carry on in this way until all flowers are attached and finish off with a SS in the top of the last flower, secure and tie in ends.

I hope you've enjoyed the tutorial; I'm going to love you and leave you now as I feel a big mug of tea coming on!! Thanks for coming by today!

Much love


  1. So simple and elegant. Lovely as always.

  2. They look very pretty.
    Julie xxxxxxx

  3. I love Sophie Digard's work too! I am determined to do a fiddly, silky, colourful scarf one day - I have the minuscule hook and am slowly gathering embroidery threads in lovely colours. I'm not sure when I'll have enough time or patience however! I love your pretty garland and have been planning something similar to replace the Christmas decorations come January when the house feels suddenly bare.

  4. What a lovely project, your wall looks beautiful.

    Thanks for the link to Sophie Dighard, I've just googled her - and I can't believe how amazing her work is ...its dreamlike!!

    Happy Crocheting
    Fleur xx

  5. Pati from London23 October 2012 at 13:40

    The garland looks very sweet and autumnal on your wall. I also like short projects for the instant gratification fix when they are done. I'm crocheting a blanket for a Spanish friend of mine but I need to find a little project on the side...... A garland like yours might be a good contender. I love crocheting with cotton. Now back to my essay research....., Pati x

  6. So cute. I actually met the author of the book this past weekend at the Wool Festival here in NY. She has a new book out that she signed for me and it is really great!

  7. Julia, your garland is delicately lovely. It is so different working with fine cotton yarn compared to wooly DK.

    Yes, Sophie D is a true artist and her color sense is remarkable.

    Yet, I think that all of us who love crocheting and experimenting are also able to be true artists.

    Let's keep on joining those loops to other loops.


  8. How pretty! I did wonder about using Perle cotton as crochet thread, but it's quite expensive for crochet, thinking about how much you use. It looks lovely though!

  9. What a pretty lovely garland! I also discovered the talented Sophie Digard some time ago. I promise my self that one day, in the near future, I'm going to make a scarf or a shawl with very fine threads inspired by hers. It's going to take a lot of patience and time, but as you said, it's a labor of love. ;o)
    Gloria xxx

  10. Pati from London26 October 2012 at 12:14

    Dear Julia,
    Just a quick note to say that your coastal postcards have arrived and they are just lovely! I think I am going to find giving them away very difficult indeed. Have a nice weekend and thanks for the speedy delivery. Pati x

  11. very sweet, these little projects are very inspiring and give us a boost of energy I think! Heather

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    Regards and ... congratulation!!!


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