Stitches and Stories and a Sonnet, Too

Aug 28, 2012

What do Jane Eyre, Like Water for Chocolate, and the Bayeux Tapestry have in common with nursery-rhyme buttons and French émigrés? Quite a few things, actually. For one, they live at that glorious intersection where literature meets handwork, and for another, you’ll find articles about all of them in PieceWork’s September/October literary issue.

Fleur-de-Lis Needle Case by Barbara Jackson
We’ve included a diverse range of literature and needlework in this issue: The classics, contemporary novels, children’s literature, and original poetry as well as embroidery, crochet, knitting, and even a bit of drawn threadwork. Here’s just a peek:

Tita's Kaleidoscope Bedspread by Abbi Byrd
Marika Simon takes an in-depth look at Bronte’s classic, Jane Eyre, and discovers a social hierarchy of needlecraft; inspired by Tita’s famous crocheted bedspread from Like Water for Chocolate, Abbi Byrd provides instructions for making her beautiful version; Sarah Bower’s sizzling novel, The Needle in the Blood, about the making of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest, is the source for our Bayeux-stitched embroidery project; Jane Austen, Fanny Burney, and Charlotte Smith are all authors who worked the plight (and needlework) of French émigrés into their novels and gave Barbara Jackson an opportunity to design a sweet fleur-de-lis needle case to embroider.

Miss Terwilliger's Skirt by Joanna Johnson
In this issue, we look with a critical eye at some of the chestnuts and discover something new; we present poignant and personal stories connecting women’s lives and family to handwork and literature; we make it fun by introducing you to Ertle and Lura Stonebreaker and their amazing nursery-rhyme button collection and by including an article about Robert McCloskey’s children’s story “Mystery Yarn,” then follow it up with instructions for a striking skirt to knit inspired by the wardrobe of the main character, Miss Terwilliger.

It’s been so satisfying to gather together literature from across the centuries and to study the ways in which handwork is portrayed in it, often crucial to the development of both narrative and character. We hope you’ll enjoy this issue as much as we have putting it together. 

I love that I can read about political events of the eleventh century, social history of the eighteenth century, and, of course, the Victorians, on my iPad or through a digital subscription. That’s an equally glorious intersection: needlework history and twenty-first-century technology.

Enjoy,

Also in this issue, discover the Grand-Prize Winner of PieceWork’s Excellence in Needle Arts Pin Cushion contest as well as all the category winners and honorable mentions.


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