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Thread: Starching a knit doily

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Starching a knit doily

    I have some doilies that my grandmother knitted many years ago (She died in 1967, so they are at least 45 years old). They have never been starched and stretched. In fact, the ends of the fine yarn she used were never tied off. My girls would like me to stretch a few of these for them to use. I've searched the internet, and found suggestions using starch, sugar, hair spray, glue, etc.

    I'm hoping someone here can give me some advice. What's the best product to use? Any tips? Also, is there a trick to tying off the ends? I've woven in ends when I've crocheted hats, but this yarn is so thin I'm not sure how I would do this without it showing.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have not starched doilies but I believe you use a fairly heavy starch mixture to soak them in. Press out the extra between paper towels and have a surface prepared for them. While still wet, they are stretched and pinned to a background until they dry. I would use a flat piece of styofoam or similar to stretch them on. You have to make sure that the pins you use are rust proof! As for fixing the loose thread, I would thread the end onto a needle and weave it back along an edge and secure the end with a drop of fray check?

    You could also forget about starching some and applique them to background squares for a quilt.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the hint about the rust proof pins. I need new straight pins - this is a good time to buy them!

    I thought about framing some of them. Using them as quilt squares is another good idea.

  4. #4
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    seems strange but my mother always used sugar, soak them and lay flat...I know she had this gorgeous wavy one that always stood right up....bugs? don't know LOL
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  5. #5
    Junior Member eyes's Avatar
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    I have never starched a doily but I think you have to be careful what starch you use, depending on where you live, as the sugar will attract bugs if they are stored away. And also the humidity is a big factor.
    Linda Lee

    "Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

  6. #6
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    I made a huge wheat doily and starched it heavily. It looked wonderful and then I stored it. When I found it again the bugs had eaten much of it and it was ruined. I don't like sugar either as it gets sticky if it is humid or you set something damp on it. I just wet and stretch and pin, no starch, no sugar, and it works for me.

  7. #7
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Google shows several site to investigate. I like the framing idea if they are flat doilies. I remember my Mom had a giant swan when we were kids!

    https://www.google.com/search?q=star...ient=firefox-a
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tudey's Avatar
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    You could try fabric stiffener--although that might make them TOO stiff. My sister uses it to make little bowls out of doilies
    Who needs therapy? I quilt!

  9. #9
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    I too would use decopage or fabric stiffner, they both wash out. Grandma used to use a heavy corn starch mixture and lay the ruffles over light bulbs to dry they were always so delicate and pretyy. Thanks for the post to bring up those memories

  10. #10
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilt1950 View Post
    Thanks for the hint about the rust proof pins. I need new straight pins - this is a good time to buy them!

    I thought about framing some of them. Using them as quilt squares is another good idea.
    I used T-pins for starching my doilies. Lots easier on the fingers.

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