Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Nov. 27, 2000

Creative concentration: Della Hirsch's doilies

By Lynda Jensen

Imagine working in a square inch wide area with a needle hook that is the size of a pin.

That's exactly what farm wife Della Hirsch does with most of her free time, but the results of her concentration and creativity are beautiful specialty doilies.

Hirsch makes all kinds of crotchet work, including clothespin angels, Christmas bells, centerpieces and embroidery. She makes ribbon and Brazilian embroidery, although it's not her specialty.

Hirsch lives north of Howard Lake with her husband, Eldon.

The most important crotchet project that she ever finished was the communion cloth used at St. James Lutheran Church.

The cloth is made of Irish linen and took her 100 hours to do. It is 30 inches square and has edging that was made with her finest hook and some of her smallest thread.

Around the communion cloth is a design of grapes and a cup that Della crotcheted. She had to make her own pattern for the corners.

Her favorite thing to do is to make family name doilies, which are made with a pattern called "fillet." The word fillet means "a thin strip or band."

To date, Della has made about 500 fillet name doilies. Her doilies have traveled the world, including Sweden and Germany.

She has more than 100 needlehooks of various sizes, including some of her late grandma's steel hooks.

Most of the hooks have the price imprinted on the side. Since most of her hooks were bought in the 1950s, the price embossed is 10 cents. Recently, she purchased new hooks that were made in Germany. The hooks cost her about $3 each.

Although most of her American hooks are closer to normal sized for doily work (about the size of two or three millimeters on the end), her German hooks are nearly microscopic on the ends.

Her grandmother, Sara Blummer, Montrose, started to teach Della how to crotchet when she was 13, but Della didn't really get going until she was 19 years old.

Blummer passed away in 1953. "She lived long enough to see me crotchet," Della said.

She generally takes her crotchet work wherever she goes, she said.

In fact, her crotcheting is so important to her that she tests her furniture to make sure it accommodates he work.

Della was recently asked to demonstrate her craft at the Rockford Histoical Society house museum Oct. 21.

"It was quite an honor," she said.

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