Mary Card

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A "doyley" designed by Mary Card for the Belgian Relief Fund, from a 1915 publication.

Mary Card (24 September 1861 – 13 October 1940) was an Australian designer and educator.

Early life[edit]

Mary V. Card was born in Castlemaine, Victoria,[1] the eldest of ten children of David Card and Harriet Watson Wooldridge. Her father was born in Ireland and her mother was born in Wales. She was educated at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in Melbourne.[2]


Advertisement for Mary Card's Crochet Book No. 1, from a 1921 publication.

Card taught speech as a young woman, but that became unmanageable due to increasing deafness in her thirties. She turned to writing needlework patterns, especially for lace and Irish crochet. Card devised her own method for charting patterns, and her designs were carried in newspapers and in Ladies' Home Journal, Australian Home Beautiful,[3] and other women's magazines. Her first book of patterns, Mary Card's Crochet Book No. 1, was published in 1914. Four further numbered books followed.[2] She also created larger-scale printed patterns for crafters with low vision.[4] Her designs were distinctive in their use of Australian flora and fauna as inspiration.[5] Several of her patterns, including one from 1916 depicting an Australian soldier, raised money for charities during World War I.[6][7]

She moved to the United States in 1917, and started the Mary Card Crochet Company in New York. She moved again, to England, some time later.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Mary Card moved back to Australia in her final months, and died there at Olinda, Victoria in 1940, aged 79 years.[8] A collection of her published patterns can be found in the Tennyson Library of Crochet & Related Arts, part of the University of Illinois Rare Books & Manuscripts Library.[9] Her patterns continue to be republished for crafters interested in vintage designs.[10][11]

A biography, Mary Card: Australian Crochet Lace Designer, was published in 2002 in Australia.[12]


  1. ^ "Miss M. Card" The Age (14 October 1940): 6. via Troveopen access publication – free to read
  2. ^ a b c Sally O'Neill, "Mary Card" Australian Dictionary of Biography 7(1979).
  3. ^ "More of Mary Card's Designs; Good News for Crochet Workers" Advertiser and Register (22 July 1931): 14. via Troveopen access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Denise J. Lavoie, "Reclaiming Crochet and its American History" Crochet Insider.
  5. ^ Elizabeth Prose, "Honoring Australian Crochet Designer Mary Card" Interweave (October 3, 2017).
  6. ^ Deborah A. Deacon, Paula E. Calvin, War Imagery in Women's Textiles: An International Study of Weaving, Knitting, Sewing, Quilting, and other Fabric Arts (McFarland 2014): 154. ISBN 9780786474660
  7. ^ "A Crochet Doyley Specially Designed by Miss Mary Card of Olinda (Vic.) for the Belgian Relief Fund" Western Mail (7 May 1915): 6. via Troveopen access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Death of Mary Card" Weekly Times (26 October 1940): 21. via Troveopen access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Gilbert Witte, Mary Card Crochet Company List of Publications (spreadsheet, 2007).
  10. ^ The Technique of Filet Crochet with Mary Card Designs and Methods (Ballantyne 2004). ISBN 9780958023511
  11. ^ Barbara Ballantyne, Mary Card's Crochet Lace: Flower Designs (Ballantyne 2009). ISBN 9780958023559
  12. ^ Barbara Ballantyne, Mary Card: Australian Crochet Lace Designer (Ballantyne 2002). ISBN 0958023506

External links[edit]