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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Antique Doily and Lilly of the Valley

This is a scheduled post, I hope you are having a lovely weekend and enjoyed the Royal Wedding.
Today is the 1st May and I thought I would show you some of my Lilly of the Valley flowering in my garden. On the 1st of May in France it is traditionally sold in all florists. Did you know that Lilly of the Valley is the flower of the month for May. It is part of the Asparagus Family, and it is also a highly poisonous plant, some people call it a weed as it spreads very quickly. It only grows in the northern hemisphere. I think its a beautiful flower, although it was not in season when I got married I did have some silk Lilly of the Valley in my bouquet. There so many flowers that hold superstitions Lilac and some other blossoms are unlucky in the house. Some people consider white flowers to be unlucky on the other hand white heather is thought to be very lucky. In France chrysanthemums are only used for funerals and never given as presents. The colour combination of white and red/scarlet flowers should be avoided for hospitals (our local hospital does not allow flowers) and the stage as they are considered unlucky. In most European countries it is customary to give an odd number of flowers - even thirteen which of course would be unlucky in Britain, and they remove the paper before giving flowers.
Back to what I was going to show you.

This is a tatted doily which was made long before I was born, we have no idea who made the doily but we think it might be my fathers mother. When I learnt to tat an old aunt came to stay and was amazed to see me tatting, she thought that she had taught me but actually I never saw her tat and never knew she could. So I looked through mothers table linen and found this piece, I have no idea of the name of the pattern and I can only guess that this doily must have been made long before I was born so that makes it a minimum of over 60 years and could possibly be even nearer to one hundred years old. I washed it as it has not seen the light of day for some time, mother does not use it, it was stained and after two washes I think most of the stains are out but it has broken in a couple of places, it was skewed up for a long time, and I have ironed it, but it is to fail to do to much too.
This is a close up, the colour is ecru which is not my favorite colour in fact I don't like the colour and don't use it, their are so many lovely colours now but years ago there was only white and ecru, I am not sure if they had black in those days.
This doily will be given back to Mother for her to put away, I don't think she will be using it. If anyone has or knows where I can get a copy of this pattern I would love to know as it would be nice to re-make it, I have had a look at it but I don't think I would be able to work out the stitches on it very well as it has very small picots and stitches. I suppose if I sat down long enough I could just about get the pattern, possibly in another fifty years.
I hope you have found this post interesting and enjoyed reading it, I used to have my own florist shop, there are a lot of superstitions and things that are customary in the flower world, that you have to learn when selling flowers.

Until we meet again in blog land take care and enjoy the rest of your bank holiday.


  1. What a delightful post!

    I was surprised to earn that lily-of-the-valley is a poisonous plant. It is my birth flower and it is my favourite!

    I think if you started to tat in a colour you loved (because you would need to be very content whilst tatting the piece) it would be not to difficult to figure the pattern as you tatted, rather than sitting down and drawing it up in one go! That's what I would try if it were my project. Definitely worth a try, either way!
    ♥ Fox : )

  2. Margaret,
    What a nice piece!
    As a child, we had lily-of-the-valley growning on the hillside. I remember picking hand fulls for my mother. The fragrance is amazing.

    Have a great day!

  3. I love the delicate lily of the vally, so pretty and a wonderful smell......just love the doily, such a delicate pattern and how well it has lasted, then again, these were for best most of the time, not everyday use, love the info on the flowers

  4. stunning doily margaret and i love lily of the valley.i did not know it was poisonous though.have never given red and white flowers as i was always told it meant bandages and blood :S

    xx coops xx

  5. What a lovely doily and it looks nice under that vase of Lily of the Valley flowers. I also have a B/d in May.

  6. Margaret, this is such a beautiful doily, so delicate, hope you can find a pattern to copy it......as for Lily of the Valley, I have a tub in which it grows, I have never moved it as it would take the garden over, but I do love it so much, pretty little flowers are'nt they, and thanks for the lesson on all the customs too, my Mother would never have white flowers in the house, apart from Gypsie grass of course....xx


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