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South Texas Living

Crocheting: a classic, relaxing hobby

Crocheting: a classic, relaxing hobby
An example of the type of doilies Lois used to make for her little apartment back in 1952.

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Rainy Days and Starry Nights
July 3, 2013
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I learned to embroider when I first got married in 1950. Crocheting is something we don’t do anymore. I know several persons who do needlepoint and embroidery.

But I was just 18 and didn’t much like to do anything like that, even though my mother was an expert seamstress and sometimes did embroidery, but she was much too busy keeping house, sewing, working in the garden, or in the fields with Daddy, not counting taking care of eight kids!

She probably would have liked to take the time to crochet or embroider pretty things. But when she had some free time it was midnight and it was hard to stay awake after that, although I could hear her on the old sewing machine late into the night making us girls dresses out of feed sacks and the boys shirts from the same thing.

Well, I decided to learn to crochet and embroider after I married. I think I still have the first dresser scarf I embroidered in my old cedar chest in the garage. It is tattered and has a few holes in it. It is 62 years old!

Then I bought a book to teach myself how to crochet, as well as the needles and crochet yarn. Surprisingly it was easy for me, because I could read and follow directions. I began by embroidering the edge of the dresser scarves that I had embroidered. Then I decided to launch out into crocheting doilies. Doilies are not so popular anymore. But back in the early ’50s some people still had furniture that looked good with the doilies under a lamp or something.

I started thinking about the doilies I used to make while Julie and I were watching “American Pickers” on the History Channel. In that episode, Frank said to Mike that the old thing they were buying at this barn full of junk would look good in someone’s living room, on a table with a little doily under it.

Mike said to Frank, “Doily! What is a doily?” and laughed his head off. But I looked at Julie and told her I used to make doilies. She didn’t believe me!

So I got to thinking about crocheting doilies in the old days. I made the fancy ruffled crocheted doilies. They were so beautiful, I thought. One was red with white trim. You had to starch it with very stiff starch, and iron it when it was still damp, and make the ruffle stand up big. It was pretty. I promise you! The ruffles stood up about 3 inches. I sure wish I had taken a picture of it now. But I found a picture on the Internet like the one I made.

The only thing was, when we bought our first home on Trudell Drive in Dellview in San Antonio, we bought modern furniture for it. The couch was low, and had blond wood for the legs. The coffee table was blond Danish style with a step-end-table. Not something that you put doilies on. But I didn’t care! For a couple of years, I used my pretty doilies on the table, coffee table, and my dresser in the bedroom, which was modern and blond, too. I didn’t want that hard work to go to waste.

Then in the ’60s and ’70s, women were crocheting Afghan throws and bedspreads. My mother made me one for Christmas one year; then she started making one for every granddaughter that got married. Maybe even the grandsons. I think I still have mine somewhere.

Crocheting, knitting, and embroidering are three of the most relaxing things a person can take up. My brother-in-law, Willie Wauson, took up knitting in the 1950s, and he loved it. He had been in the Marines during World War II and had gotten hurt and was in the hospital for many months. After he found a job at Kelly Field, I remember he learned to knit, but I don’t think he ever made anything. Just knitted away, with his little dog Rags at his feet. Maybe listening to the radio and then TV, after TV came in.

Now everyone is glued to the TV or the iPhone or computer for “relaxing.” I have been at the computer for five hours now ... but I mainly write and that is relaxing to me! Because it is not a job, it is a hobby!

Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at

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