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On The Hook

Crochet Lace Bowls

Lace Doilies, Reinterpreted

With a little sugar and water, Desiree Hobson is putting a modern twist on the traditional craft of crocheting.

If you tend to envision prim tablecloths and old-fashioned doilies when you think of crocheting, Desiree’s work will change your mind. For starters, it’s three-dimensional. She creates vibrant lace bowls that are not only graphic but also sturdy and functional. Desiree uses a mixture of sugar and water to stiffen the
100% cotton thread, and when she’s done with the drying process, the lace bowls are durable enough to be used as a fruit basket, jewelry catchall, candy bowl, or to store bathroom soaps and hand towels, for example.

Desiree, who works as an oncology social worker, started really getting into crocheting when she was put on bed rest during her pregnancy. She enjoyed making lace doilies but wanted to give them a younger feel. Her creative reinterpretation is unique, functional and sculptural -- usable heirlooms for a whole new generation of crochet admirers.

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On The Hook - Crochet Lace Bowls

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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Desiree
    Desiree

    Who knew that taking up crocheting as a hobby would lead me to you today? It's strange how the world works. I'm delighted that the Grommet team is sharing my crocheted bowls with you. Don't let their pretty, delicate look fool you; they are sturdy and functional for a variety of uses. What would you store in yours? Let me know what questions you have. I'm excited to chat with you today.

  •  GrammieOfSeven
    GrammieOfSeven
    4/30/2012 12:45 PM

    My one concern is what happens if they get wet? I see them shown on a countertop in the bathroom where I know it has a chance of getting wet. Being as they are made sturdy with a sugar water mixture it seems they would lose their strength if they get wet. Then what does the owner do to renew their strength?

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    4/30/2012 12:50 PM

    @ GrammieOfSeven Great question! The bowls can handle some moisture without losing shape or durability; however, if they were to become saturated, then yes, they would lose their shape. With each order, I include care instructions that walk you through the process of reshaping your bowl.

  •  Gloria Macklin
    Gloria Macklin
    11/5/2012 2:13 PM

    @ GrammieOfSeven

  •  Gloria Macklin
    Gloria Macklin
    11/5/2012 2:18 PM

    How much do they sell for?

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    11/6/2012 9:39 PM

    @ Gloria Macklin: $28.95

  •  Kate
    Kate
    4/30/2012 1:42 PM

    These are adorable. They remind me of the saying, 'what's old is new again.'

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    4/30/2012 2:08 PM

    @ Kate Thank you Kate! Lace is definitely making a come back.

  •  grnmtnwmn
    grnmtnwmn
    4/30/2012 2:14 PM

    I used to do this in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. Used balloons to shape the bowls as they were drying.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    4/30/2012 2:33 PM

    @ grnmtnwmn I've also done the balloon method using string soaked in elmer's glue. Fun project for kids, especially when you get to pop the balloon!

  •  Kendra
    Kendra
    4/30/2012 4:28 PM

    Hi there! So where does one find patterns for such things?

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    4/30/2012 4:54 PM

    @ Kendra This particular pattern is my own design. I was looking for a specific size doily to use since It needed to fit over the bowls I use for the shaping process. Any doily could be used to make the bowls, so the design possibilities are endless.

  •  Gloria Macklin
    Gloria Macklin
    11/5/2012 2:16 PM

    @ Where can I find the corochet directions?

  •  Therese Cappelli
    Therese Cappelli
    4/30/2012 6:35 PM

    Desiree they are beautiful you have taken an old fashion doily and gave it a function GO Girl

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    4/30/2012 7:03 PM

    @ Therese Cappelli Thanks Therese!

  •  Charlotte Hansen
    Charlotte Hansen
    6/1/2012 1:36 AM

    I live in south Texas, and we are plagued with large palmetto cockroaches which will probably survive a nuclear attack, and which will eat anything but metal. I can't see leaving something coated with sugar for them to "nibble"! They'll even eat varnish and glue, etc! These wouldn't stand a chance. Any advice about that?

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    6/1/2012 2:09 PM

    @ Charlotte Hansen Thanks for the question Charlotte. I can't speak to cockroaches since we don't have them in the Seattle area. What I can tell you is that I have these bowls all over my house and outside on my porch and I have never seen any bugs near them, including ants. I hope this information is helpful.

  • Susan
    Susan
    9/8/2012 7:33 AM

    Desiree,

    What keeps ants from being drawn to these bowls made of sugar water?

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    9/8/2012 12:49 PM

    Hi, I love these. I work with silk organza in wall sculptures and tried the sugar/water solution but although the fabric was saturated, it did not stiffen and lost the shape of the mold as soon as it was peeled off. Any suggestions?

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    9/8/2012 11:04 PM

    @Susan Moore - I use display these bowls all over my house and have never had a problem with insects of any kind, and I even have these bowls outside on my porch and in the kitchen/dinning room.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    9/8/2012 11:08 PM

    @Deborah Hirshfield - I have never tried using the sugar mixture to shape or harden fabric, so I appoligize that I can't offer any specific advice for your craft. These bowls, however, do get very stiff. I've tried using wool and other fibers, but they do not seem to hold shape as well as 100% cotton thread. I hope this helps you!

  • Kate
    Kate
    9/12/2012 12:30 PM

    An alternative to using sugar water is to make a solution of water soluable stabilizer (used for machine embroidery) and dip and stiffen in that. It is unattractive to insects, non toxic and you con control the stiffness by the amount of stabilizer you dissolve in the water. Warming the water in the microwave helps it dissolve faster. You can save the solution at room temperature (I use an old fruit juice bottle with a lid) and keep using and adding to it. I have used this for years to stiffen my lace and crochet items and even in humid FL, they don't droop or get bugs.

  •  Ellen
    Ellen
    9/12/2012 2:45 PM

    @Kate That sounds good. what is it called and where can we get it?

  •  Kate
    Kate
    9/12/2012 3:18 PM

    @ Ellen There are several brands that work. I use Ultra Solvy in my embroidery work, so that is what I usually have on hand in scraps. You can find it usually in Notions section in packages. It is a heavy film that comes in a roll and you just chunk some off and dissolve it in warm water. I keep mine a fairly heavy solution because I usually do things that need to be really stiff, but you can experiment and adjust it to your tastes. If you have embroidery friends, check with them about having save their water soluable scraps.

  •  Connie
    Connie
    9/12/2012 7:51 PM

    I have a fabric stiffener called "Stiffy" and it's made by Plaid I bought mine at Michael's craft store and can probably be found at any craft store, also probably other products for this too.

  •  Chris
    Chris
    9/29/2012 2:20 PM

    I've been crocheting since I was a teenager and I'm way beyond that now! Your bowls are absolutely beautiful. What a great idea. By the way, I personally think doilies are gorgeous works of art and have countless uses, not old-fashioned at all. I've recently begun crocheting edgings around cotton napkins and it really dresses them up. Best of luck to you with your business!

  • Carole Cook
    Carole Cook
    10/6/2012 3:03 PM

    Ms. Desiree Hobson, I find your work to be spectacular. You may want to add a snowflake doily motif for the holidays. I believe it would be very popular. Thank you for your informative input and for the forum in which to respond.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    11/1/2012 12:48 PM

    @Carole Cook

    Thank you so much for your compliments. I love creating these bowls and I love your idea about incorporating a seasonal design suck as a snowflake. I’ll have to give some thought to designing a new doily pattern to do just that!

  •  Erna
    Erna
    10/25/2012 12:58 AM

    I am in my early seventies and these were the rage in my childhood.

    Every dining room table had crochet baskets with handles and crochet doiles with their starched ruffles.

    It is so nice to see the art returned to the present.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    11/1/2012 12:51 PM

    @ Erna

    Thank you Erna! Bring that I'm in my 30's, I had no idea that shaping doilies into bowls previously popular. And here I thought I was being innovative and fresh ;) I guess it's true what they, "What's old, is new again!" I hope I am able to bring a fresh look to this rejuvenated art craft.

  •  Erna
    Erna
    10/25/2012 12:58 AM

    I am in my early seventies and these were the rage in my childhood.

    Every dining room table had crochet baskets with handles and crochet doiles with their starched ruffles.

    It is so nice to see the art returned to the present.

  •  Edie
    Edie
    11/1/2012 11:12 PM

    These are beautiful and I love your colors.

    I do remember crocheted, shaped baskets... when I was a toddler, I remember a crocheted swan that I adored - I'm embarrassed to admit that I chewed on it! No wonder! Haha.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    11/12/2012 10:41 AM

    @ Edie Thank you! It's great to hear other peoples love and admiration for crocheted lace and doilies.

  •  Linda
    Linda
    11/4/2012 9:58 PM

    I really LOVE your crochet baskets. I grew up in a Latin home where grandma used to crochet dollies for the sofa, bedspreads for the bedroom, tablecloths for the kitchen, and even little high heel shoes used for lipstick holders in the powder room. Sure wish I had them now. Your baskets are beautiful, I admire your telent. Brought back a lot of memories.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    11/12/2012 10:43 AM

    @ Linda Thank you Linda! It's too bad you no longer have your grandmother's works of art. I bet they were beautiful. I only hope that my creations will be remembered and cherished by the future generations of my family.

  •  Linda
    Linda
    11/4/2012 9:58 PM

    I really LOVE your crochet baskets. I grew up in a Latin home where grandma used to crochet dollies for the sofa, bedspreads for the bedroom, tablecloths for the kitchen, and even little high heel shoes used for lipstick holders in the powder room. Sure wish I had them now. Your baskets are beautiful, I admire your telent. Brought back a lot of memories.

  • PragmaticPat
    PragmaticPat
    11/5/2012 11:31 PM

    Your bowls are very pretty and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but my grandmother made sugar-starched lace crochet baskets and bowls 60 years ago.

  • PragmaticPat
    PragmaticPat
    11/5/2012 11:32 PM

    Sorry...here's the link:

    http://crochet.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=crochet&cdn=hobbies&tm=9&f=20&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.crochetmemories.com/crochet8.php

  • Terri
    Terri
    11/11/2012 4:33 PM

    Desiree do you know when you will have some cream or mint green crochet baskets available? I would like to order one from you.

  • Desiree
    Desiree – Special Guest
    11/12/2012 10:47 AM

    @Terri Swingdorf Hi Terri, I just updated the quanities for my bowls. I do have some cream and mint available now. I hope you see this in time. The bowls continue to sell out fast. I expect to have another large batch completed by the end of this week.

  • nelda
    nelda
    11/21/2012 6:39 AM

    @Desiree Hobson Are the colors of the bowl dyed or original

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    11/12/2012 11:22 AM

    @Terri Swingdorf: You'll soon be able to order and we'll notify you. Desiree has been busily creating her bowls to keep her fans happy.

  • Lynn
    Lynn
    11/15/2012 9:38 PM

    Beautiful crocheted bowls; practical size, display nicely. I ordered three for Christmas gifts. I appreciate items made in the USA for a change!

  • Desmond
    Desmond – Grommet Team
    11/21/2012 12:29 PM

    @Lynn thank you for your comments. We do have a number of USA made items. Look under the "Personal Values" on the top tool bar, then click on "Made in USA." Thank you again.

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