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Keeping Needlework Traditions Alive

Jun 29, 2011
    
A knitted scarf with macramé fringe
(Photo by Joe Coca)

Vintage knitted edgings (Photo by
Joe Coca)

A note from Kathleen: My great-gramma, my gramma and now my mom, sister, and I, were/are all "bi-craftual." My great-gramma was a crocheter, seamstress, and tatter; my gramma was an embroider and quilter (and she picked up knitting at age 90!); my mom is an amazing papercrafter, watercolorist, embroiderer, and seamstress. She had a brief stint as a knitter, but we've discovered that her knitting is so tight it's almost too hard to poke the needle through the stitches! My sister dabbles in knitting, but she is a truly talented beading artist. Even my brother is crafty in woodworking and model-making with his son. It's so delightful to be part of a family of crafty folk—it brings us together in so many ways.

All kinds of crafts have come in and out of our lives over the years, and one that I remember so fondly is macramé. My mom was a macramé expert and she taught my sister and me (and I seem to remember by brother being involved, too) to do some basic techniques. We had hours of fun knotting string and small rope and adorning it with big, colorful beads. We made all kinds of wall art and the ubiquitous plant holders, of course! Such fun.

The new issue of PieceWork brings back macramé in the form of a beautiful edging. Here's editor Jeane Hutchins to tell you more.

The new issue of PieceWork is filled with ribbons, trims, and edgings,
including some not typically included in these categories.

Take macramé: does the word immediately evoke those clunky plant holders and wall hangings churned out by the tens of thousands in the 1960s and 1970s? It did for me. But it turns out that the technique's use as a delicate and beautiful trim has deep roots in needlework history with several revivals over the centuries. We've included a scarf with macramé edging (photo above left), which is adapted from a stitch pattern in an 1882 needlework dictionary.

    
A ribbon bridal bouquet designed and assembled by Guido Fauro, Italy, 2009. (Photo by Rosalba Pepi for the Fiere di Parma  Italia Invita International Lace and Embroidery Forum 2009)
Have you ever thought about making your own ribbons? Step-by-step instructions to create the two beautiful ribbon designs, worked on 52-count linen fabric with embroidery floss. They are both unusual and stunning. The originals were included in a glorious bridal bouquet designed for a 2009 lace and embroidery forum in Italy (photo at right).

Recently, Barbara Cimiano sent us some vintage pattern books and a tatting sampler book that had belonged to her late mother, Betty Baker, with the request that we share them with PieceWork readers. We've done that and included instructions for four crocheted, two tatted, and seven knitted edgings (photo at left), along with a tatted medallion. We think Betty would be pleased.

These are just a few examples of what's in store for you in this issue. Subscribe to PieceWork magazine today so you won't miss any wonderful features like these, and enjoy!

P.S. PieceWork recently launched Traditions Today—Knitting, Crochet, and Needlework! This free weekly email newsletter allows us to share even more information about our passion for traditional knitting, embellished clothing, and beautiful lacework, all made by hand. Subscribers receive free projects, how-to tutorials, news about needlework from around the world, and much more!


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Comments

on Jun 30, 2011 8:02 AM

I love the simple little projects in Piecework, and I gravitate toward anything from the 1930s and 40s.I've save the Bestway gloves pattern for the day I actually do gloves. I'd love to see some millinery in Piecework, it's the kind of challenge that a lot of DIY types love.

Marny wrote
on Jun 29, 2011 10:21 AM

Yesterday I got my latest issue of PieceWork.  I am so glad that I subscribed and have resubscribed, too.

There are so many beautiful items in the new issue -- a few that I will attempt to use somehow - probably in a scarf or stole/shawl.

PieceWork is wonder-filled eye candy for me.