"Writing this book helped me understand my mother more, and also think about my own mortality. Of course you hit middle age and thatâ€™s one of the big questions, what have I done with my life, have I done what I wanted to do, am I a success, all these big mid-life questions. It helped me answer some of them, and I reached a kind of peace, about my craft, who I am, what I want to do, who my mom is, my relationship with my mom, with my kids, with my partner, with my dog. It was therapeutic."
DORA: I have to start by saying how impressed I am with everything in the book, the design, how you wrote the instructions, the photographs, everything is at the highest level. I was really knocked out by the family story you share at the beginning, and I would like to know why you decided to start the book that way.
DORIS: Good question. I wanted to dedicate the book to my mother. She introduced me to yarn, hooks, knitting needles, and the fiber arts as a child, and from that I just expanded my own knowledge in my own way to get where I am now. She started everything. Plus her aesthetic really influenced me. All mothers influence their daughters, whether or not you appreciate it at the time. I wanted to do a dedication to her, but when I started to write, it just grew and grew and grew into this essay about my mom and how I started crocheting and how I ended up teaching her -- the circle, it all came around. And I thought Iâ€™d like to share that, everyone has some kind of story like that, if itâ€™s not crochet itâ€™s something else, like cooking or sewing, that your mom did and you didnâ€™t really appreciate at the time and now you do.
DORA: What I like so much is that the essay gives a very personal flavor to the book, and itâ€™s not the manufactured intimacy we sometimes see, itâ€™s so genuine.
DORIS: Thatâ€™s the beauty of a book, you have the chance to give your point of view and hopefully that beginning chapter gives you mine, how I look at all the stuff in here and how I came about doing all the stuff in here. Deep down thatâ€™s really it, that is the heart of the book, and every book should have a heart, otherwise itâ€™s just a collection of patterns that you may think are beautiful, but thereâ€™s no emotion in there, nothing touches you. I hope thereâ€™s stuff in this book that touches you besides that the designs are beautiful.
DORA: You certainly achieved that. You had also mentioned to me that it was not so easy to get this essay into the book, right?
DORIS: What I didnâ€™t realize was how long the patterns were going to be, and I misjudged how much I could cram into one book. I had to choose between writing a book of essays about my experience or putting in my designs. When it came down to it we made compromises, some designs went, a lot of text went. I had to cut the book in half! Itâ€™s like your children, which ones do you have to put aside for now. Unfortunately a lot of personal things I wanted to say got left out.
DORA: There was more to the essay?
DORIS: There was a lot of personal stuff specifically geared to designs in the book -- how I feel about pineapples, for example.
DORA: Are you going to find another place to put all that?
DORIS: Possibly. I was told it was more appropriate in a blog form, or some other form than this book. Ultimately my editors were correct. I think this book reaches a nice balance between point of view and nuts and bolts.
DORA: I do too.
DORIS: It was cathartic just writing that stuff. It put my whole career in perspective, how I got here. It was a very good experience, and I donâ€™t need to publish it, I did it and I felt it. I tend to over think things in retrospect -- I could have done it this way -- Iâ€™m slightly obsessive compulsive, not a whole lot. This was a process of letting go, there was such a tight schedule, I really had to be focused and work through things just on gut feeling, just do it and let it go. That was part of the realization that, hey, I can do that.
DORA: Thatâ€™s a great place to get to! And are you happy with the result?
DORIS: Oh yes, I look at the designs now and I think, howâ€™d I do that? Writing about my mom in particular. . . my dad died about seven years ago and when that happened my mother was all alone. I became much more involved in her life from that time. Writing this book helped me understand my mother more, and also think about my own mortality. Of course you hit middle age and thatâ€™s one of the big questions, what have I done with my life, have I done what I wanted to do, am I a success, all these big mid-life questions. It helped me answer some of them, and I reached a kind of peace, about my craft, who I am, what I want to do, who my mom is, my relationship with my mom, with my kids, with my partner, with my dog. It was therapeutic.
DORA: Thatâ€™s wonderful! I notice you say in your essay there was a point in life when you decided to reinvestigate crochet.
DORIS: I went though this period of thinking crochet really sucks, because the yarns I had to work with, the tools I had to work with and the designs that were out there just werenâ€™t good for me, for my shape and my aesthetic. I didnâ€™t like crochet. I left it all and didnâ€™t do any fiber work until I had an empty nest, my kids were out of the house and almost at the same time I found myself without a job. The last radio station where I worked was sold to a Spanish language company and they just canned everybody. I did mention I could learn Spanish but they didnâ€™t seem to think so. So I was a stay at home without kids, for the first time in a long time, and it was the first time I picked up hobbies. I tried baking first, but I made too much and I ate too much. I enjoy it, ask anyone who has had any of my baked goods.
DORA: Iâ€™ve been among that fortunate number, they were delicious!
DORIS: By then I had more time and disposable income. I started knitting again, but it took so long. It would take me a month to finish a sweater. I tried all kinds of techniques, I did Fair Isle, I did sweaters with reindeer and snowflakes on them. I donâ€™t know what made me pick up crochet again, something made me go back. There were more interesting yarns coming around and I could see and experience yarns that could be crocheted beautifully. My mother was going through a lot of old things, as you do after a death, and deciding what to keep and what not to keep. She had some vintage Japanese books and these were from the fifties. Most were missing their covers and were yellowed, and some of the stuff I saw I thought, I could do that! I made a game out of doing some of these stitches just from the symbol diagrams. That grew into the very first design I sold. I posted it on the Lion Brand website because it was made from Lion Brand yarns, not thinking anything would come of it. It proved so popular that people started asking the company for a pattern. I was asked by Lion Brand if I would sell them the pattern, and that was the beginning. It was a quick progression from that to, maybe she could do a poncho, then requesting designs for all kinds of things. That pushed me into designing different things, because I really only did doilies and shawls at the beginning. That was my first venture into designing. I had done sweaters before but it was seeing this lace that made me really take off. It was my first explosion of creativity, the crocheted doilies.
DORA: Your explanation of that creative spark in the book is really interesting -- you explain how you were working with motifs and joining them, and how all of a sudden you realized you could convert the motif concept into the yoke of a sweater.
DORIS: My mother did doily motifs. Thereâ€™s a photograph of the only one thatâ€™s left, it must have been a table runner. It was beautiful. I look at it now as an adult and I am amazed at it -- look how when you put the squares together it continues the pattern, and you canâ€™t really tell where the squares are. I couldnâ€™t work in thread, it took too long and I didnâ€™t have the patience. Itâ€™s a beautiful art but I just canâ€™t to it. I started taking big yarns and bigger hooks and seeing how the motifs were shaped, how you could make the squares and then put them together as motifs and pieces, and how you grew them. I was experimenting with different shaped motifs., pentagrams and hexes and octagons and figuring out how to put those together. But mostly it was the â€œnot sewingâ€ thing. I wrote a whole chapter, kicked from the book, on why I donâ€™t like to sew. My seams were just horrible. When I tried to sew motifs together it just didnâ€™t work. My motherâ€™s table runner was not sewn, those motifs were joined as you go. I wanted to keep the actual stitch pattern going, not have it stop and arrive at a horrible little juncture at the side of your body or the slant of your raglan. Thinking of the way you could shape a doily, I just made a big motif, shaped those corners into a raglan sleeve and joined the rest of it on there. That was a real â€œTada!â€ moment, when I realized I could make a whole garment without having to sew any pieces. Discovering this by trial and error made me very happy.
DORA: I see it as a tremendous engineering talent you have.
DORIS: Itâ€™s innate. I guess my brain works a certain way. I canâ€™t imagine not seeing that. Itâ€™s just something that happens.
DORA: I talk about this in the article Iâ€™m writing about the crocheterâ€™s mindset. Some people who have a great head for seeing structure, it allows you to plan so much of the design in your brain. Iâ€™m not really gifted that way.DORIS: Some of the really great designers study this, garment design, pattern making, like Lily Chin has this incredible technical grasp of how garments are shaped and how they should be pieced and put together. I donâ€™t. I canâ€™t tell you what the slope of an armhole should be. I just know that this works from having done it a gazillion times. I can show you what I did so you can do the same thing, but donâ€™t ask me why it works. I have no background in design or pattern drafting or fiber arts. Itâ€™s all intuitive and trial and error, and a lot of error!
DORA: I know about that part!
DORIS: When you find something a light bulb goes off. I did it with this shell, now I could do it with a whole gang of shells and whole gang of doily motifs and I could mess with it, put sleeves on, put collars and cuffs on. I leaned very heavily on books. I read as much as I could to get answers from books. Then when I learned about CGOA I started taking classes, and I still take classes. People ask me at Chain Link whether Iâ€™m there to teach -- no! I come to take classes.
DORA: What are some of the books or teachers youâ€™ve learned the most from?
DORIS: The crazy ladies -- [this is our code for Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser] From way back in early adulthood Iâ€™ve had the Leisure Arts books and classic crochet literature they created. In the late eighties I got the Harmony Stitch Guides and I poured over those and took stitches from there and manipulated them and tried to make them into things. I started collecting vintage patterns and magazines, like Magic Crochet, looking at the doilies and exploding those. There were all kind of needlework guides through the years that Iâ€™ve looked at, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest , books I would hunt up in flea markets, Vogue Knitting from the fifties. I concentrated on the fifties.
DORA: Yes I found some great things from the fifties too.
DORIS: Yes, you find these gems, they are few and far between now because collectors have been buying them up. Who thought to keep those things? My mother helps me find vintage patterns, she has an eye for what I like. I collect these things and I look at them for inspiration. Sometimes I steal stitches, stitches appear in these things that Iâ€™ve never seen before -- hey, thatâ€™s not in Harmony! Iâ€™ll whip up something and realize I could use it.
DORA: How did your book come into being?
DORIS: Random House is the parent company of this new imprint, Potter Craft. Two seasons ago there was an explosion of fiber arts and they decided to go into it in a big way with a separate imprint for fiber arts and crafting, the brain child of Jenny Frost. Potter Craft was looking for crochet authors and there werenâ€™t many who werenâ€™t already publishing somewhere else. So they were looking for new crochet authors. I had never written anything beyond patterns for crochet. They asked around and by that time I had done a couple of years of work with Lion Brand and branching out to other yarn companies. My stuff was starting to appear through yarn companies in their ads and in magazines. Potter Craft had heard that I could write and think and crochet. I got a call from an acquisitions editor, Rosy Ngo, asking if I had ever thought about writing a book. Through phone and email we agreed on a concept and I wrote up a proposal. Rosy had seen my lace things, like a skirt in the first Interweave Crochet issue that impressed her. She wanted a whole book of this lace. Thatâ€™s not all I do, but I decided since thatâ€™s what they wanted and there was a market for it, thatâ€™s what we went for, the concept of lace. Thatâ€™s how it happened.
DORA: Whatâ€™s your writing background, do you have training? Because you do write very well.
DORIS: I hated writing. I took some science writing in college. After college I got into broadcasting and started writing commercial copy, radio commercials, that was my professional writing experience, 30 and 60 second â€œwonders.â€
DORA: Thatâ€™s very hard to do.
DORIS: Itâ€™s kind of itâ€™s own little craft, but it spoils you for normal writing. It may color the way I write actual prose and the way I write patterns. I do write, but I donâ€™t like to, I hate writing patterns. Itâ€™s the least lovable part of crochet design.
DORA: I donâ€™t think youâ€™d get too many people who donâ€™t share that view!
DORIS: Itâ€™s total agony. I might crochet a garment in three days, but it might take me just as long or longer to write what I did.
DORA: The lace idea is amazing and the way you do it too, and Iâ€™m pleased you got acceptance for it because it does require people to do things in a different way, like your method of doing the foundation chain. Initially before you were the star you are today, did you have trouble convincing people to do the instructions your way?
DORIS: Yes I did. I had publishers who actually changed the patterns to a more conventional foundation chain and a piece and sew technique. They liked my results but they couldnâ€™t get with they way I got the results. I had artistic delusions at first and I thought, this is what I do, Iâ€™m not going to change it for you. Then I started to come around because I realized there are people who want to make nice-fitting garments, and I could try changing what I do and making it more acceptable for more people. Move everyone little by little, incrementally, rather than give them the whole oddball thing all at once. Do some designs that incorporate pieces of it.
DORA: And thatâ€™s what you did.
DORIS: Thatâ€™s what I am doing now. Iâ€™m designing a lot of things way outside my m.o., just to get little bits of what Iâ€™d like people to know in each one. One might have the seamless arm, another has the base chain but the rest of itâ€™s kind of normal, like that.
DORA: By the time you got to this book you wanted to do the whole thing, thatâ€™s the idea, is that correct?
DORIS: This gave me the chance to put all the things into one book, it gave me the â€œreal estate.â€ Magazines have space constraints, as beautiful as a design is, Iâ€™ve had patterns rejected because they are too long. I have patterns that are 5000 words long, what do you do with those?
DORA: Publish them on line.
DORIS: Thatâ€™s another thing. People ask me, why donâ€™t you have a website? I donâ€™t want to run a business. I donâ€™t want to have to fill orders. Thatâ€™s why I design, so I donâ€™t have to do that. I design it, write it, then I donâ€™t want to have to think about it any more.
DORA: How did you decide on the particular designs that got into the book. What were your considerations?
DORIS: They were extensions of things I had already been playing with, pet projects that I could never get put anywhere else. For the first time ever, I could get any yarn I wanted. I had a letter from my publisher, â€œThis is Doris Chan, sheâ€™s writing a book for us,â€ kind of like a letter from home to the teacher. I didnâ€™t know very many yarns at that point, Iâ€™d worked with a couple of companies and had used the yarns I was asked to use by them, so here was a chance -- I just went wild. I started playing with other yarns, and the yarn told me what it wanted to be. For instance the cover thing, I ordered this pretty green yarn, and it just said it wanted to be this beautiful spring time ruffly thing with leaves, this garden party thing. I found pieces of doilies and cobbled them together and thatâ€™s what it became. I had all these cool yarns, I was up to my eyeballs in boxes of yarns, and went about doing it, using my m.o. I wanted to have different pieces, not all sweaters, not all shawls, and trying to do some more difficult constructions and easier ones. Obviously my book is not for beginners. My editor did a lot of bashing me around about designs. She has a wonderful eye, Rosy, she saw the book in her mindâ€™s eye and I helped her make those designs, with my own spin.
DORA: What was her vision?
DORIS: It was her title, Amazing Lace. She had seen my work, and it was a marriage of concept and designer. She wanted to see a book of crochet lace. She helped me narrow down and focus on certain things. Thatâ€™s an editorâ€™s job. Some people come to a publisher with an already written book. I did not, I just had raw materials. She helped mold the raw materials into what you see today.
DORA: I love the way itâ€™s organized, she did a great job with that. Are you pleased with the photos? Itâ€™s an interesting approach, the color on the garments and the rest black and white.
DORIS: It was difficult for me to envision what was going to happen to them. I didnâ€™t know how striking that concept was going to turn out to be. I was not involved in the photography at all. Random House requires certain levels of photography in their books. Iâ€™m pleased with the way it looks. Itâ€™s very sophisticated and stunning, but I canâ€™t claim any credit. It came off as artistic where my work is not art, but craft. I craft clothing with pieces of lace, pieces of motifs, pieces of stitch motifs. I consider it craft, but the overall impression my editors had was of art.
DORA: Well I agree with them, it is art! What is your garment aesthetic?
DORIS: I donâ€™t wear lace. Iâ€™m still the kid whoâ€™s pulling the bow out of her hair. I wouldnâ€™t wear a skirt if my life depended on it. I dress in jeans and sweats. My personal wardrobe aesthetic is very different from my design aesthetic. Most crochet designers are women, but a lot of fashion designers are men and they donâ€™t wear their own clothes. My garment design aesthetic is for crochet publication.
DORA: So what would you say are some of the hallmarks of that aesthetic?
DORIS: First of all the fabric has to be good. Thatâ€™s true if itâ€™s a solid stitch too. The jacket on the cover of the current Crochet! is solid, half double crochet and ribbing, but itâ€™s got this drape. Itâ€™s hard to see in the photograph, youâ€™ve got to do the hand test in person. Itâ€™s got wonderful drape for a bulky yarn. Then I worry about the details, of silhouette. I do all kinds of silhouettes but it seems Iâ€™ve concentrated on this raglan silhouette, because that goes hand in hand with my m.o., no seams.
DORA: As far as silhouette, do you like close-fitting, or loose, or both?
DORIS: Thereâ€™s a trend now toward more volume. I never thought more volume was better, being short and middle-aged matronly figured.
DORA: Oh, come on!
DORIS: Well, I have more in the middle than standard fitting measurements. So I never liked more volume. I like things that skim the body , not too high or low, just right. Thatâ€™s another reason I crocheted, to make things for myself so I could get that fit, Iâ€™m not an off the rack fit. Now Iâ€™m asked to do things with volume. You didnâ€™t want to to that before because the fabric was too stiff and heavy. You could get volume with fine yarns like lace weight mohair, or threads or pearl cotton. It was harder to get something in volume in crochet in an average weight of yarn from DK to worsted that had any kind of drape. Iâ€™ve started to explore that, some of my things coming out next season for Caron have a lot of fabric. I had to train my eye to see that, to work with different silhouettes. Longer length, for instance, a lot of women like the tunic length, things that cover your butt. I donâ€™t have a butt, so it never bothered me to want to cover it. The whole thing about shaping the hip and making it cover if youâ€™re a pear shape.
DORA: If youâ€™re not doing lace, you would use a much larger hook to get drape from a worsted?
DORIS: I use a larger hook size than is usually suggested on the ball band. I crochet loosely, I have a peculiar gauge. My gauge may be hard to match. The looser you work, the more leeway there is on how loose that is and not very many people can match my exact gauge. I have to put it out there. For a crocheter with experience, thereâ€™s a certain way you crochet and a certain fabric you make, and itâ€™s really hard to change that. If you change that you start screwing around with how your hand works, how you work with tension, and it may not be fun any more. People have told me, well I couldnâ€™t match your gauge so i just did it my way and it came out OK. Crochet the way you crochet and you have to fool with the pattern a little. Trying to change the way you crochet is too annoying.
DORA: Maybe for some people more than others. That may vary. Itâ€™s like playing the piano, anything you do involving dexterity is going to reflect the size of your hand, the quality of movement.
DORIS: Itâ€™s automatic when you crochet long enough, you donâ€™t have to think about it. When you change that to meet someone elseâ€™s expectations you have to think about it, and it can be too hard to do. In any case, when I use a bigger hook than is normally be expected, it fixes a lot of the problems with the fabric, with what people think of as the problems with crochet fabric.
DORA: Whatâ€™s your view of the needlework industry in general, where itâ€™s going.
DORIS: I have no idea. Iâ€™m not part of that really. Most of whatâ€™s happening is driven by yarn manufacturers. Itâ€™s a cycle. Yarn manufacturers make stuff and put it out. People either want it or donâ€™t want it, which tells the yarn manufacturers what to make next. It goes â€˜round and â€˜round. Iâ€™m on the sidelines, a pipeline player that moves things into the cycle. I donâ€™t make any decisions, but I react to them. Some designers are front runners, they spearhead demand and changes in the whole circle. I find myself just riding the wave, hopefully it will be a big wave and a continued wave. It canâ€™t keep exploding. Even an exploding universe with maximum entropy slows down somewhere and reverses. I donâ€™t know when thatâ€™s going to be, but I hope itâ€™s a long time coming.
DORA: Who do you see as some of the spearheaders?
DORIS: The teachers and the designers who teach have a better finger on the pulse than I do. Some designers editors, like Nancy Thomas and Cari Clement, have foresight. Theyâ€™re connected to the trendmakers. Who are the trendmakers? It changes depending what decade youâ€™re living in. It used to be the French monarchy was the trendsetter. Then it became the French couturiers, then American couturiers. Now itâ€™s Italian. For crochet now, itâ€™s more along the lines of fashion design. It may turn around and become more home dec, once the fashion cools off. I donâ€™t know, but I have been asked to do afghans. I donâ€™t think garment design will ever go away. How many people will see that beautiful afghan in your home, but you can show lots of people that beautiful sweater by walking around in it. What gives each crocheter satisfaction is very personal. More of those huge numbers of crocheters will be counted will step forward and make their wishes known, by asking for finer yarns and asking for certain designs. Itâ€™s because of groups like CGOA, and magazines that cater to all these levels of crocheters. Brett Bara gets credit. The editors at Interweave Crochet - Pam Allen, get credit for including crochet along with knitting as a fashion trend statement in trendy magazines like Knitscene. That didnâ€™t used to happen.
DORA: Absolutely. So you arenâ€™t interested in writing about crochet?
DORIS: Iâ€™m not an expert in anything like that. I canâ€™t write with any kind of authority on the art and craft of crochet, only what I can do with it.
DORA: This is something that comes up on Crochet Me and in my conversations with Kim Werker and other people. The theory books are not out there like they are in knitting, we donâ€™t have our Zimmermann and our Walker.
DORIS: They were the doyennes of knitting and they had the technique. If anyone embodies that level for crochet it would be Lily Chin.
DORA: I find what you do interesting, though, because the way you approach crochet, it teaches you a lot about crochet.
DORIS: The vast majority of crocheters have been stuck with the way things were done and the way they do them. Knitters have so many techniques to choose from that were widely accepted. How many types of cast ons do you think knitters have at their disposal for each kind of construction? Dozens! How many crochet foundations were widely accepted until now -- one!
DORA: Hopefully we will see how that develops over time.
DORIS: I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll be the one to write theory books about crochet because to me thatâ€™s not as interesting as making cool things.
DORA: We all have to do what feels right, of course. Iâ€™m just hoping the books get written. Some people say crocheters arenâ€™t readers.
DORIS: That may be because of the nature of crochet as pattern recognition, spatial relations, they see things more diagrammatically. Crochet has itâ€™s own language and not all of its words. My mother included -- she doesn't read patterns. You show her a piece and she can recreate it. Show her a diagram and she can do it.
DORA: I meant to ask you about your radio career, do you want to talk about that?
DORIS: I was a disc jockey. After college I was a studio engineer, that was just a button pusher, in New York for a radio network. At that time we cut tape, there was no digital technology, this was thirty years ago. I cut tape with a razor blade for a radio news network. I wanted to be a disc jockey, and I started in college radio in Ithaca NY, where I went to school. I eventually went into air work in New York, then Philadelphia and then New Jersey. As I said, when that station was bought by a Spanish language company we all lost our jobs. I felt like that was enough and I retired.
DORA: Were you doing music programming?
DORIS: Yes, the format I worked in was mostly soft rock. As you get older, your current music starts being irrelevant to the young. You donâ€™t want a forty year old DJ talking about hip hop. I stuck with my music, which was fifties, sixties and seventies. When I started that was called soft rock, then it became oldies, and then it became nostalgia. But I stayed with my music.
DORA: That reminds me of a funny quote by Frank Zappa -- he said, we are teaching our kids to be nostalgic for the same junk we grew up on.
DORIS: Exactly! My son loves classic rock, he loves the Eagles and the Doobies, and heâ€™s twenty-five. Same thing with fashion and clothes, it all comes around again.
DORA: Thatâ€™s what we were talking about earlier, about your attraction to the fifties fashion look. Do you think thereâ€™s a link with what youâ€™re designing?
DORIS: I just think the fifties was such a time of optimism. I love the catch phrases â€œpopulux,â€ the space age things. They had visions of futuristic things. There was the whole youth explosion, the whole concept of culture catering to young people. Before that there was no such thing as separate design for teens and young people, they just had scaled down versions of what their parents wore. Little girls had hats and gloves. With the whole baby boom thing we started having our own clothes.
DORA: I find thereâ€™s less stuff for our age group, the boomers, now, unless you want to look rather dowdy.
DORIS: Yes, thatâ€™s why I try to make things that can transcend age and shape, which is hard to do given that a lot of the fashions Iâ€™m asked to do come off the runways. Thereâ€™s a challenge. . . take a piece of something from the runway and turn that into something that everybody can wear -- young, middle aged, older. Thatâ€™s good, because it pushes me way beyond what I would normally do. You learn something with every thing you make, you expand your skills, and your eye. Iâ€™m still learning. Iâ€™m not set in my ways.
DORA: Is your mom still crocheting?
DORIS: Yes! I have to thank all the yarn companies, they gave me so much extra yarn and my mom has a lot of it. She gets to play with all that wonderful yarn. She likes hats and ponchos. She tries to copy all my designs. If I leave something there with her, a sample Iâ€™ve made, next time I see her she will have copied it, in her own way. Itâ€™s not always exact, itâ€™s her way. I love it! She wears everything she makes. She has about two thousand hats, not literally, she makes bags. She hasnâ€™t gotten to the point of shaping sleeves and shoulders, but sheâ€™s is getting there.
DORA: You said thereâ€™s only one piece of your momâ€™s vintage lace left? What happened?
DORIS: Because nobody was interested, they got lost. When they get soiled they got thrown out. Who thought to keep it, nobody wanted doilies. I wouldnâ€™t use them. I had two rough and tumble sons, I didnâ€™t like that stuff. My mother put them away and they got mildewed or whatever, and eventually everything was lost.
DORA: Itâ€™s a shame. I want to do a piece in a future issue of Crochet Insider called This IS Your Grandmotherâ€™s Crochet.
DORIS: Ah! I wish there was more, but I think that was the last piece, and I donâ€™t know what happened to it since it was photographed. Iâ€™m going to have to tear apart my studio. Itâ€™s an 11 x 11 spare bedroom filled with yarn.
DORA: Thatâ€™s wonderful. Thank you so much Doris, I hope you enjoyed our talk. I sure did!
DORIS: I hope Iâ€™ve given you something. I want to support the industry, itâ€™s changing and everything you and I or anyone does is contributing to that change. Whatever brought me out of my little rut with crochet, thatâ€™s still happening for a lot of people.
DORA: What I find so fascinating is how we all started doing it at the exact same time! What was going on then? This was before the renaissance for crochet was official, about three years ago, what made us all go there?
DORIS: It was a confluence of planets, a cosmic confluence, plus entropy. It just happened. You touch someone who touches someone else who touches someone else. It seemed like it all happened at once. The center of our confluence was the crazy ladies -- they had their fingers in this.*
DORA: But Iâ€™m also talking about a year or two before that. Thatâ€™s when I started crocheting again after not doing it for twenty-five years.
DORIS: Could it be 9/11? That made us turn toward our homes. Look for certain pleasures and satisfactions in the home. Itâ€™s possible.
*Doris is talking about how she and I and some other newbie designers all met Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss (the crazy ladies) and began working with them at a CGOA conference in the summer of 2004.