Books > Crochet Lace Books > Mary Card : Australian Crochet Lace Designer

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by Barbara Ballantyne

Mary Card became a crochet lace designer only late in life, after deafness forced her to sell her private school in Melbourne, Australia early in the twentieth century. After a few years of looking for a new career she became a crochet lace designer with the lively new women?s magazine New Idea based in Melbourne. She quickly became very popular and began a series of books, Giant charts and magazine articles which continued throughout the rest of her life. She moved to New York towards the end of World War I to explore larger markets for her work and after a few years moved to England where she lived until shortly before she died.

Mary's readers loved the appealing designs and her easy, persuasive style of writing. She designed in a great variety of forms of crochet (filet crochet, Irish crochet and others) which are described in the book. While she produced table runners, centrepieces, d'oyleys, pillow shams, edgings, collars, jabots, jackets and many other items, she was most famous for her filet crochet tablecloths.

The book is generously illustrated with more than 150 photos. Many of the designs will be new even to those who have some of Mary's books and charts. Many illustrations are fresh, often worked by the author.

The 30 pages of filet crochet patterns with clear graphs and instructions include the Anzac design, the Australian bedspread (with cockatoo, lyre bird, emu, kangaroo, kookaburra, possum and swan), the Australian, British and New Zealand coats of arms, the Australian and American flags, the Statue of liberty, American legion emblem, Rose, thistle and shamrock border, Willow pattern mat, the Garden traycloth, Grapevine and silver eye mat, Wild rose and pigeon tea cosy cover, Woodland chair set, Spring time set, Convolvulus design, Supplejack and Carnation insertions, an Ecclesiastical lace, Blue wren and Swan milk jug covers. These designs may be adapted to modern day needs and even to other forms of needlework such as cross-stitch.

This book is a good read for those with a general interest in biography or needlework. The appendices, footnotes and references add to its value for needlework historians, museum curators and staff in antique linen outlets.

An immaculately presented and copiously illustrated book.

ISBN 0-9580235-0-6
150 pages - Softback