Honoring Australian Crochet Designer Mary Card

If you’re following our blog series Trekking the Globe in Stitches, yesterday we visited Australia. In PieceWork’s July/August 2017 issue, Laura Ricketts pays tribute to an Australian needleworker of note, crochet designer Mary Card (1861–1940). “Mary Card’s Filet-Crochet Café Curtain with Poppy Motif to Make” is Laura’s homage to the stunning filet-crochet work of Mary Card.

Mary Card

Create a delightful space in any room in your house with Laura Ricketts’s sweet café curtain worked in filet crochet.

In Laura’s article, “Mary Card, Australian Crochet Designer: A Woman for All Seasons,” she describes what set Mary Card’s work apart from other designs published in the early twentieth century. “Mary revealed an excellent eye for design. Her work stands for its combined qualities of movement and balance. Never stiff, her flowers, birds, and butterflies fill space without being square or flat. Her designs rarely mirror themselves exactly, and her use of curve and tilt make the images look more natural. She also pushed filet crochet beyond mesh squares by incorporating lacet stitches to wonderful effect. Lacet stitches bring a small curve into a design. As such, they alter the background and emphasize the featured motifs. She became a first to incorporate Australian motifs—budgies, eucalyptus trees, waratah flowers, kangaroos, lyrebirds, cockatoos, kookaburras, emus, iguanas, and Supplejack and Gippsland vines—in her design work.”

Mary Card

Detail of “Mary Card’s Filet-Crochet Café Curtain with Poppy Motif to Make” by Laura Ricketts.

Laura goes on to explain the inspiration behind her own charming café curtain design. “Australian crochet designer Mary Card’s filet-crochet motifs are both distinctive and beautiful: the designs she created at the height of her popularity often feature art nouveau flowers, birds, and butterflies. This poppy design was originally intended to decorate a hand towel when crocheted in size 80 or 100 thread. Mary encouraged readers to alter designs for their own purposes. In that spirit, I have merged the background stitches of one design with the shape and motif of the poppy design. I crocheted this café curtain with the coarser size 20 thread.”

To learn more about the amazing life of Mary Card, read “Mary Card, Australian Crochet Designer: A Woman for All Seasons” by Laura Ricketts in the July/August 2017 issue of PieceWork. To crochet your own delightful café curtain, make Laura’s “Mary Card’s Filet-Crochet Café Curtain with Poppy Motif to Make” from the same issue.

—Elizabeth

Featured Image: “Mary Card’s Filet-Crochet Café Curtain with Poppy Motif to Make” by Laura Ricketts pays homage to the stunning filet-crochet work of Mary Card.


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