Daisy, daisy

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I’m half crazy all for the love of you”

These days such songs running through the brain on repeat are called ‘ear worms’. It may interest you, as it interested me, to find that this particular song was written in 1892. It may have been an ear worm for 126 years now. 

In sorting out my haberdashery – in other words, reorganising my sewing desk – I came across this delight, the Daisy Disc. I can’t recall having noticed this before so it must date back to my very late mother-in-law whose sewing desk I inherited. I see it has the price of 30c on it, so I can date it to post July 10, 1967 when New Zealand swapped to decimal currency. It was the instruction folder that delighted me, with its pictures of projects and the following bold statement:

                “Your DAISY DISC is as versatile as your crochet hook, or knitting needles. Give it the same care and you will have hours of rewarding pleasure.”

The instructions are something else. Step one was fine – wind the wool 2 or 3 times around opposite spokes in turn. But then we come to the second step:

“Fig. 2.

Break wool about 12 inches from the DAISY DISC and thread through needle. Pass needle under petals 1 and 12, bring back over petal 1, then under 12 and 11, under 11 and 10 (ie under two and back over one etc. See Fig 3.)”

Got that? Then we get to the instructions on how to join the daisies, because of course you want to join a whole lot of daisies to make your daisy dress, evening top or handbag. For this, you must be able to read a crochet pattern. I once went to night classes to learn how to crochet. In self defence, this was back in the very late 1970s and I wanted to be able to make crochet lampshades with long, silken fringes that were all the rage back then. So I think I can decode the instructions as far as encasing the first unsuspecting daisy in a crochet frame is concerned, but to join in the second daisy confounded me.

“Work as for 1st. up to 1st 5 ch loop., 2 ch., sl. st. in 1 loop of centre st. of a corner 5 ch. loop on 1st. daisy, 2 ch., 1 tr. back in same petal on 2nd daisy. (1ch. sl. st.in next 3 ch. loop on 1st daisy, 1 ch. 1 d.c. back in the next petal on 2nd daisy) twice.”

Followed that, have you? Because we are only half way through the instructions on how to join your daisies. There is a whole lot more. This is way more complex than knitting or crocheting peggy squares and I know what the abbreviations of  tr., d.c., ch., and sl. st. mean. It might as well be double dutch, otherwise.

I looked at the suggested projects for our daisy motifs and I was struggling to find a clear winner. Would it be the wildly impractical baby blanket, the adorned evening shoe or the daisy earrings? But then I spotted the fez-style hat. Ladies and gents, that must be the clear winner.

One day I must find the instructions for The Lost Art of Camellia Waxing. I use capitals to give sufficient gravitas to this largely forgotten activity. I am sure I stowed that somewhere safe as an interesting hobby option for ladies at home with a great deal of time on their hands.

I went looking for daisies in the garden to illustrate this post but came up rather short. I did not go far enough, I tell you. I should have done some googling first. Their family of Asteraceae is huge. Not just the obvious asters which are so pretty in flower at this time of early autumn, but also cosmos, tagetes (marigolds), sunflowers, echinacea, rudbeckia, even dahlias. I was sad that one of our largest and showiest daisy plants, the spectacular Montanoa bipinnatifida (Mexican tree daisy) died last year. But Mark has just told me that we still have it. A seedling has emerged near the original plant. The monarch butterflies will get to feed on it again.

The monarcnh on the montanoa in very late autumn

I used to sew. A lot. Can you tell? These days, i garden instead. Even more.




7 thoughts on “Daisy, daisy

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I am pretty sure I saw it explained, step by step with black and white photos, in an early American Camellia Society journal. Designed mainly to be done with double japonica blooms which, sadly are what we have mostly lost due to camellia petal blight.

  1. tonytomeo

    July 10, 1967? That was two days before I was born.
    I remember those daisy things. Goodness, the pamphlet is funny. I also remember daisies that looked like the Mexican tree daisy in the last picture. I have not seen one in years. They were the ones that we were supposed to wear in our hair if we were going to San Francisco.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I did not know that of the montanoa. Being a little older than you, I was going to Bible class dances with strobe lights and disco balls but with live bands, wearing a daisy in my hair. But they were what we now call Federation Daisies, formerly known as Marguerite daisies. In that wonderful crossing of cultures, I remember my (homemade) dress in the black and white style of Britain’s Mary Quant, with a white daisy and dancing to Scott MacKenzie with that late sixties San Fran vibe.


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