TAGS: Knitting

  • PieceWork January/February 2015

    We embarked on devoting one issue per year to historical knitting with the January/February 2007 issue. In each issue so far, our contributors have taken us far and wide on the knitting spectrum.

    The tradition continues. In this issue, in “A Crown Prince, a Knitted Sweater, and Escape from Nazi Invasion,” Laura Ricketts tells the story of the “ski trip” that wasn’t for three-year-old Crown Prince Harald of Norway. Carol Huebscher Rhoades designed her project based on sweaters found in the Myrbergsgården Museum in Vörå, Finland (“Sweater Traditions from Finland: Vörå-Inspired Arm Warmers”), so that they “can serve as a wearable gauge swatch” for making a traditional Vörå sweater. And in “Fashion for All: Garments Knitted from Wool Yarn in Elizabethan England,” Lesley O’Connell Edwards cites a 1583 letter from Richard Hudsoun to Sir William Heyrick in which “Richard asks William to have a purse with a lock hinge made for him from a pair of worsted stockings.” Yes, the Elizabethans were into recycling! These are just a sampling of what’s in store for you in this issue.


  • PieceWork November/December 2014

    Oh my—it’s underwear! This often-overlooked element of textile history is the focus of this issue of PieceWork. For centuries, people have constructed all manner of underwear, using a variety of techniques. Compelling, often personal, stories go hand in hand with this specific element of dress. Projects bring the unmentionables out of the closet.

    Here are a few highlights:

    • Laura Ricketts details the discovery of four fifteenth-century bras in a vault in Lengberg Castle in Nikolsdorf, East Tyrol, Austria, in “The Case of the Medieval Bras.” She aptly calls them “the Dead Sea Scrolls of undergarments.” The fact that one of the bras incorporates needle- and sprang-lace work is icing on the cake.

    • In “The Well-Dressed Head,” Chris Laning explains: “Caps were essentially underwear for your head. A layer of plain undyed linen next to the skin was a routine part of clothing, worn to keep body oils and sweat off outer clothing.” Caps were ubiquitous from the early Middle Ages through the end of the Renaissance.

    • For “The Under Side of Weldon’s,” Karen Brock, our managing editor, writes, “No historical study of hand-stitched undergarments would be complete without a glimpse into the pages of Weldon’s Practical Needlework, one of England’s beloved resources for Victorian patterns.” And those Victorians certainly were intent on covering up everything—be it household objects or bodies. We are still puzzling over the “Lady’s Leggings or Riding Pants”: “These leggings can be used as riding pants, and also may be worn over the ordinary calico drawers whenever additional warmth is required. . . .”

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  • PieceWork September/October 2014

    Here is our fourth special issue combining two of my favorite things—literature and needlework. In the previous issues (September/October 2010, 2011, and 2012), we looked at knitting from the perspective of Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s brilliant sleuth; the sampler that Eliza, a double agent in the fictional world of Quicksilver, set in the time of Louis XIV and James II, cross-stitches; and the magnificent crocheted bedspread that plays a prominent role in the novel Like Water for Chocolate.

    For this issue, we have gone even further afield, ranging from plain sewing in Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders to rug hooking in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Pat of Silver Bush and knitting in Edith Wharton’s short story Roman Fever. And there’s much more.

    Now please find yourself a comfy chair and help me celebrate needlework in literature. Enjoy!

  • Knitting Traditions Fall 2014

    In PieceWork’s ninth edition of Knitting Traditions, we explore the practical and creative evolution of knitting. Beginning with a visit to the Orkney Islands, we learn how gansey and lace stitch designs evolved there both through everyday life and because of its particular geography. Then we sail to The Netherlands where, through the colorful lives of fisherfolk, ganseys and their stitch patterns developed into a rich Dutch tradition full of its own symbolism and history.

    And there are other sorts of adaptions in this issue. You will discover how one knitter used an eighteenth-century embroidery pattern as inspiration for a stunning colorwork mitten design. Another knitter translated a 1920s golf stocking pattern into a stylish, yet practical, liner for a pair of Wellington boots. And yet another knitter acquired an intriguing pair of slippers at a farmer’s market that were knitted in Iran with handspun yarn. She reverse engineered a sweet pattern perfectly connecting cultural tradition with contemporary design. Galina A. Khmeleva combined elements of Orenburg knitting with Scandinavian design to create the gorgeous shawl that graces our cover.

    In this issue, I hope that you’ll discover your own knitting connections through the people and their land, the culture, the history, and best of all, the beautiful knitwear.



  • PieceWork July/August 2014

    This issue of PieceWork is all about discovery. Imagine opening a trunk and finding your grandmother’s satin wedding gown as well as a special linen duster with lapels and cuffs worked in exquisite Irish crochet that belonged to your great-grandmother. That’s what happened to Laura Esther Ricketts, who tells her story in “Edith Graham Mayo’s Linen Duster with Irish Crochet Accents.”

    Bart Elwell discovered Yap Lace, an intriguing edging combining crochet and needle lace, in an 1874 issue of Peterson’s Magazine. Although he found it a “brain-teasing maze of parts that build upon each other,” he advises that “the results are well worth the effort.” And they (shown at left) certainly are.

    PieceWork’s ongoing exploration of needlework’s past is filled with new discoveries. Delve into this issue, discover more about needlework’s history, and satisfy (or further whet!) your own curiosity.

  • PieceWork May/June 2014

    In this issue, you’ll discover lace traditions from England, Ireland, Italy, Russia, India, America, and Japan. Articles and projects cover knitted, tatted (both needle and shuttle), crocheted, and bobbin lace.

    Isabella Campagnol’s “Invisible Lacemakers” takes you to Venetian monasteries in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, where nuns (and even some repenting prostitutes) produced exquisite lace. Isabella notes, “Monastic authorities encouraged the practice of needlework for the acclaim that it bestowed on the monastery, because it offered purpose to the nuns’ otherwise dull existence, and, not least, for the profits derived from the sale of its lace, which were essential in maintaining the monasteries.” Just one more illustration of the powers of lace.

    Lace as a means of survival is the focus of Christopher Phillips’s “Victoria’s Passion,” as he relates how the queen’s commissions for lace from localities that had fallen on hard time “often provided income that was much welcomed.” These royal commissions extended throughout the United Kingdom even as far as Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean that was part of the British Empire from 1800 to 1964. Whatever the form of lace—bobbin, needle, knitted, or crocheted— Victoria championed them all.

    Enjoy. I do hope this special issue will make you want to wrap yourself up in lace!


  • Knitting Traditions Spring 2014

    In PieceWork’s eighth edition of Knitting Traditions, we pay tribute to determined individuals and an array of cottage industries and cooperatives that have turned to knitting for income.

    In this issue, you will meet Ceceila, a Cowichan knitter in western Canada who recalls knitting into the early hours of the morning by candlelight, knowing the sweater she finishes for sale will keep her children from going hungry; and James Moar, an invalid in 1880s Shetland, who learned to knit from his sisters, so he could contribute to the family income. You will discover the powerhouse stocking knitting trade that flourished in Wales for over two hundred years and the knitting cottage industries of Macedonia that have thrived from the nineteenth century to the bustling markets of today. You also will meet the Swedish social reformer, Berta Borgström, who formed a knitting cooperative to help women in need and to preserve her country’s traditions. Enjoy their amazing stories and over 20 companion projects to knit!

  • PieceWork March/April 2014

    From time immemorial, red has played a role in the lives of people across the globe. Those roles and the lengths people have gone to produce the color red are fascinating.

    In “Red: The Universal Color,” Mary B. Kelly discusses the significance of red for the Estonian Setu. The women embroidered ritual cloths and clothing with red thread and “referred to their embroideries as ‘red scripts’ in reference to the symbols that covered them.” Irina Stepanova presents a traditional Russian towel stitched by her maternal grandmother, Tatiana D. Romanenkova, in 1929, when she was eight years old. Worked on handwoven linen, the towel has bands of red-and-gray cross-stitch. We owe a debt of gratitude to all needleworkers, past and present, who have chosen the color red, whether for its symbolic meanings or out of personal preference. Needlework, worked in red or not, is certainly a “tradition not to be forgotten.”



  • PieceWork January/February 2014: Historical Knitting

    PieceWork’s annual historical knitting issue includes knitting patterns for all skill levels. Find striped knitted socks based on ancient Andean artifacts, a sixteenth-century whaling cap, Sanquhar knitted gloves, Lithuanian beaded wristers, and more!

  • PieceWork November/December 2013

    This issue is all about collecting and collections and about myriad treasure hidden everywhere, from museums to attics, whether located two blocks away or as far away as India.
    Create your own treasures with our knitting, embroidery, crochet, and cross-stitch patterns!

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  • Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits

    Look through the eyes of Downton Abbey with this new special issue from PieceWork magazine. Enjoy knits inspired by the lavish sets and styling of the hugely popular television series, which tells the story of the Grantham clan and their servants at England’s Downton Abbey.

    This special issue will include:  Knitted garments and accessories—gloves, shawls, sweaters and vests, blouses, hats, purses, and more—for both those upstairs and downstairs. Learn about knitting for the troops during World War I and enjoy articles detailing aspects of the Downton eras:  fashion, history, and culture.

  • PieceWork September/October 2013

    Celebrate PieceWork’s twentieth anniversary with this collector's edition devoted to Treasured Bags. You’ll find eight projects, including a pouch based on an Egyptian textile fragment to knit and nalbind, a Turkish colorwork purse to knit, an embroidered alms purse, two sweet crocheted purses, and a button bag.

  • Knitting Traditions Fall 2013

    The seventh edition of PieceWork’s Knitting Traditions is all about lace—its magic and mystery and its ethereal quality—as expressed in knitting." —Jeane Hutchins, editor

    Enjoy 148 pages filled with knitted lace perfect to knit in the summer and fall months. Find stunning stoles, scarves, shawls, an entire section with lace patterns from Victorian England, and lacy edgings, doilies, socks, and more. In addition to new patterns designed for this edition, our archives yielded a selection of older lace patterns that are no longer widely available. Plus, indulge in the inspiring and informative companion stories that frame the knitted lace projects in historical context.


  • PieceWork July/August 2013

    Journey into the Embellished world in this issue of PieceWork magazine. Knit and embellish Scilly Isle socks, learn about collecting vintage buttons, knit Victorian beaded cuffs, explore raised filet crochet, discover coronation cord, meet Mrs. Embroidery, make silk Death Head buttons, and more!

    Editor of PieceWork

  • PieceWork May/June 2013


    Welcome to PieceWork’s annual look at the magical world of lace! This issue offers fascinating facts on lace—knitted, needle, bobbin, tatted, crocheted, and machine-made. You’ll discover some people who have been captivated by lace and others who spent long, grueling hours producing this ethereal fabric.

    Margaret Stove explores the history behind a “Shetland Knitter in New Zealand” and provides the pattern for her stunning knitted Shetland Scarf. Delve into the life of the children who created bobbin lace in the 17th century, and the chants they recited as they worked in “Spinsters, Free Maids, Tells, and Shakespeare.” Make your own exquisite needle-lace insert, using the same traditional stitches that students and teachers used to create an altar cloth for the Sacred Heart Sanctuary in 1927. For tatters, there are instructions for making an edging and a medallion, along with the inspiring story of Lily Mae Burley Patrick, who continued to be a master tatter although she was blind. For many Russian women, receiving a gift of a traditional Orenburg warm shawl was a highlight. Galina Khmeleva shares her pattern for this lacy labor of love. And there’s so much more to discover in this special issue all about lace. There is just something about lace!

     Editor of PieceWork