explores the personal stories of traditional makers, what they made, and how they made their creations, and investigates how specific objects were crafted and the stories behind them. People with a passion for traditional knitting, embellished clothing, and beautiful lacework—all made by hand—are our core audience. In-depth how-to techniques and step-by-step projects make the traditions come alive for today’s knitters, embroiderers, lacemakers, and crocheters.

Current Issue

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!

 

Recent Issues

  • 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.”

     

     

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

     

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  • 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

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  • 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

     

     

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  • Knitting Traditions, Spring 2013

    Knitting Traditions Spring 2013 brings together knitting traditions from around the world and across time. This issue features over 20 knitting patterns with inspiring and informative companion stories that frame the projects in cultural and historical context. Patterns include a vintage pucker-stitch knitted sweater, Orenburg lace scarves, gorgeous gloves and mittens, a miniature silk bag based on one from the 14th century, a sweet sweater and mitts for baby, and more! Plus, you'll find poignant stories about special knitters and a look at knitting schools in Elizabethan England.

    Learn about the history of the Jack Frost Yarn Company and its popular, now-vintage knitted pattern books. Enjoy photographs of early Jack Frost pattern booklets and create your own vintage baby cardigan with the Jack Frost Baby Cardigan knitting pattern. Join Galina Khmeleva in an exploration of different types of Russian knitting needles and create your own set with instructions for personalized knitting needles. Try your hand at the challenging Honeycomb lace motif with Galina's knitted scarf pattern. Learn about the history of Waldorf schools and their practice of teaching children to knit in the first grade to improve hand-eye coordination, concentration, and creativity in students. Create your own Waldorf-inspired knitted horse toys to foster creative and imaginative play for a child in your life.

     Editor of PieceWork

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  • PieceWork March/April 2013

    Until the invention by Johannes Gutenberg of automated movable type in A.D. 1452, the number of people worldwide who could read remained very small, the vast majority of them wealthy members of society or clergy. To communicate with nonreaders, pictures were used. These might be painted on canvas (the word "picture" comes from the Latin word pictus ("painted"), or, as you'll see in this March/April 2013 issue of PieceWork, executed in needlework. From among the countless possibilities, we've selected examples from seventeenth-century elaborate raised embroidery ("From Raised Embroidery to Stumpwork: Four Centuries of Dimensional Needlework"), motifs on a christening robe ("Exquisite Whitework: The Arbroath Robe"), some of the charted images used in filet crochet ("A History of Filet Crochet: Creating Pictorial Designs"), and the ubiquitous knitted eight-pointed star/flower/snowflake motif (One Knitted Motif, Many Names"). Projects include a sweet knitted cardigan for baby, a stumpwork dragon, and the knitted pincushion that received the grand-prize in PieceWork's 2012 Pincushion Contest.
    Motifs, symbols, drawings, secret messages--all are included in this March/April 2013 issue. The adage "One picture is worth a thousand words" continues to ring true. Enjoy!

     Editor of PieceWork

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  • PieceWork January/February 2013

    This is PieceWork’s seventh annual Historical Knitting issue! A few highlights: Working with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts was a dream come true. Both of us are indebted to the Martin Fellows Hatch family for lending us the stunning Armenian sock (circa 1840–1860) for study and photography. Priscilla’s colorful adaptation of the original graces our cover; complete instructions and charts are provided. I’d always wondered about polka jackets. Were they named for the dance? Who wore them? When? All these questions and more are answered in Helen Bonney’s article on the polka knitting craze. By 1849, a polka jacket, a tiny waist, and a voluminous skirt covering layers of crinolines were the pinnacle of fashion. Helen transcribed instructions for a knitted polka jacket from an 1849 pattern. Carol Rhoades rewrote the instructions for today’s knitters and knitted our sample. Galina Khmeleva once again shares her extensive knowledge of and love for Orenburg knitting, this time with traditional mittens for men and boys. And when we learned of the adventures of the English Captain Burnaby on his unauthorized trip to Russia and his encounter with Orenburg knitting in 1875, we knew we had to include it here. There’s much more. Each article and project in this issue adds to knitting’s illustrious history. Have a glorious time discovering it. I certainly did!

         Editor of PieceWork

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  • PieceWork November/December 2012

    This November/December 2012 issue of PieceWork turns to the stories of people from many cultures who immigrated to the United States and brought their needlework traditions with them. Veronica Patterson sums up the experiences of many of them in her article “A Beloved Part of a Life That Was Lost”: “[F]or many who came to this country as immigrants, the few pieces of cloth that they brought with them became a bridge between the old life and the new.”

    Here are just a few highlights: When Helen Znamierowski arrived in the United States from Poland in 1931, she brought a cutwork tablecloth that she finished after arriving; lace-knitter Hazel Carter took a more circuitous route—from England to Africa to England to Wisconsin; two pieces of crocheted lace came from Wales to what is now Oklahoma; Anna Anderson’s mother gave her all the supplies she would need to make a Hardanger tablecloth when Anna left Norway for America; and one author writing in an early-1930s needlecraft magazine championed the needlework of the nation’s newcomers.

    Projects in this jam-packed issue include a Shetland stole to knit that tells the story of Cinderella, a crocheted lace edging, a coaster worked in Hardanger embroidery, and a traditional African banner to appliqué. Delve into the needlework your ancestors may have brought to this country in PieceWork’s November/December 2012 issue!

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  • Knitting Traditions, Fall 2012: A PieceWork Magazine Special Issue

    Here's a glimpse of what's in Knitting Traditions Fall 2012.  This is the 5th edition of this special issue from the editors of PieceWork.

    Jeremina Robertson Colvin left her home in the Shetland Islands in 1885 for Cowichan Station in British Columbia, Canada. When Jeremina met Mary Edwards, a Cowichan, the two women formed a bond that remained steadfast throughout their lives: knitting played a major role in their friendship.
    Jeremina and Mary's story is just one of many compelling accounts in this fifth edition of PieceWork's Knitting Traditions. Other passionate knitters whom you'll meet include Cornelia Mee, a nineteenth-century English author of knitting books and certainly one of the first knitting entrepreneurs, and the American poet and knitter Virginia Woods Bellamy, who received a patent for her "Number Knitting" in 1948.
    You'll also learn how the surprise discovery in an antiquarian bookshop of a color illustration from a nineteenth-century French book led a designer to develop her Bavarian Leg Warmers project. Our nine vintage patterns (six sweaters, a hat and scarf set, and pair of mittens) were knitted using the original instructions from vintage magazines. They are reproduced here exactly as they originally appeared.

    It seems that knitting traditions and connections are everywhere, sometimes in the most unlikely places.

     

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  • 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!

     

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