PieceWork September/October 2012

What could be better than a combination of books and needlework? Welcome to PieceWork's third annual literature-inspired issue!

Did you know that there's a historical novel that uses needlework in detail to tell the story? "Love, Needlework, and History in the Bayeux Tapestry" examines The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower. "A Camel to Embroider in Bayeux Stitch" provides step-by-step instructions for working the famous stitch.

Learn about the ties that the stunning crocheted bedspread on this issue's cover has to Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate. Make your own bedspread with the instructions in "Tita's Kaleidoscope Bedspread to Crochet."

The "Mystery Yarn" chapter in Robert McCloskey's Homer Price focuses on "one of the town's best-known and best-loved citizens," yarn shop owner Miss Terwilliger. "The Great Yarn Ball Contest" offers highlights from the book that has been delighting children and adults since its publication in 1943; a pattern for knitting your own Miss Terwilliger skirt follows.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) used the hierarchy of needlework to develop the characters and setting in Jane Eyre, first published in 1847. Plain sewing was at the lowest level; find out where your favorite technique placed in "Victorian Social and Needlecraft Hierarchies in Jane Eyre." PieceWork's salute to needlework in literature is full of more literary-inspired articles and projects. Enjoy!


Abbi Byrd

Mary Polityka Bush


Miss Terwilliger’s Skirt to Knit
Joanna Johnson
A Victorian Short Purse to Crochet
Marika Simon
The Lesley Jacket to Knit
Anna-Liza Armfield

A Bachelor’s Tea Cozy to Knit
Laurie Sundstrom



  • Notions: Letter from the editor
  • Calendar: Upcoming events
  • Abbreviations and Techniques, and Definitions

    Visit pieceworkmagazine.com for free projects and articles, the PieceWork index, back issues,
    recommended books, and much more.

Volume XX Number 5

PieceWork Magazine Presents: Excellence in Needle Arts Awards 2012 Pincushion Contest
The results are in! The winners of our 2012 contest are featured.

Like Handwork for Love by Karen Brock

Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate unfolds on the modest La Garza ranch in northern Mexico against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and in the family kitchen.

La Tela di Penelope by Marilyn Serraino
La Tela di Penelope is Italian for "the fabric of Penelope," Penelope being the wife of Odysseus, hero of the Greek epic The Odyssey.

Love, Needlework, and History in the Bayeux Tapestry by Mary Polityka Bush 
Rarely in novels is needlework almost a character in its own right or as crucial to the plot as it is in Sarah Bower's The Needle in the Blood.

Handwork in the Émigré Novel by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
Authors were inspired both by the romantic narrative possibilities of the French Revolution and exile and by their own personal encounters with émigrés.

The Great Yarn Ball Contest by Joanna Johnson A
mong the chapters in Robert McCloskey's children's book Homer Price is "Mystery Yarn."

Nursery Rhyme Buttons by Kathy Augustine
Ertle and Lura Stonebreaker were passionate button collectors.

Braids into Brushstrokes: An Artist Finds Her Medium by Janice Horton
Jessie Catherine Baker Kinsley created tapestries embellished with lines of poetry embroidered below the braided scenes.

Victorian Social and Needlecraft Hierarchies in Jane Eyre by Marika Simon
In Victorian England, needlework, like many other facets of daily life, had a clear social hierarchy.

Handwork in The Flowering Thorn by Ileana Grams-Moog 
Knitting plays a small but important role in Margery Sharp's 1933 novel.

Sonnet for Marie by Mary McGivern
A sampler worked in 1807 inspired this Elizabethan sonnet.



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