Social Fabric

August 24, 2010

I am a visual learner which fits well with my love of needlework. It also serves me well since I spend a great deal of time in front of a computer. Very recently I found Social Fabric on the Textile Museum of Canada website. It’s an on-line community where visitors to the virtual and physical museum can share stories, information and ask questions related to textiles. Pieces from the museum’s permananet collection are used as prompts. It’s super easy to participate, fun and educational! Click here to get started.


More Molas

August 19, 2010

I found this video on YouTube that documents life on Kuna Yala. There are several shots of the Indian women sewing molas. I think you’ll really enjoy watching it. (Please note that in the video is a shot of the Kuna Yala flag which features a prominent swastika. I checked several websites and learned that this is an ancient Kuna cultural symbol. Over the years there have been attempts to “de-Nazify” it.)

Quaker Gone Tropic

August 9, 2010

Photo courtesy of Michelle Ink Designs

I saw the chart for this sampler the other day in my local needlework shop. The purist in me thought it bordered on sacrilege! The more I thought about it, though, I decided the essence of Ackworth combined with the colors and motifs of the tropics might be just the thing to help today’s youth embrace the needlearts.

Within the world of Facebook I am a wallflower. I have a total of 27 friends…seriously. Of course, I have a strict criteria that I follow when deciding if I want to be someone’s friend. I must know the person for a minimum of 30 years or be related by blood or marriage; all of which means I’m pretty tight with my 27 friends.

Since I don’t spend a lot of time keeping up with everyone’s activities of daily living I do have time to keep up with some of my favorite websites that also support Facebook pages. For example, I receive all the latest news about The Textile Museum and Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles. It’s a quick and easy way of keeping up with what’s going on which, afterall,  is the point of Facebook whether you have lots of friends or just 27!

New Month New Beginnings

August 1, 2010

You’re probably expecting to see the usual “first of the month” post since it is the first of the month; but, I decided to shake things up a bit…to keep you (and me) on our respective toes. Today I début a slightly different version of This Needlework of Mine. It occurred to me that, while  I’ve spent the last 13 months bringing you information about antique and vintage needlework, I’ve never really connected it to the present or the future. Now it’s time to connect those dots. You will still see the book reviews and needlework exhibit posts but also look for more posts like the ones on Jennifer Cecere and World of Good and Liberty of London fabrics. And, of course I will post regularly on the projects I’m working on.

I will also post things I’ve found on Facebook and YouTube. You would be surprised what’s out there. I know I was! I’m still passionate about the history of needlework and how it has shaped us but it’s time I take that rich history, bring it to the present and move it towards the future.

Enjoy y’all!!

I recently joined International Old Lacers, Inc. It’s a interesting name for a wonderful organization whose mission is making, studying and collecting antique lace. Check out their informative website here.

The Antique Pattern Library (click on the catalog tab on the right) is an ongoing project to preserve needlework pattern books in the public domain. Right now the library holds hundreds of scanned pattern books for cross stitch, knitting, crocheting and other needle arts. They range from the 19th through the early 20th centuries. This digital library, started in December 2005, is regularly updated by anyone who has a pattern to share. I was very pleased to see several more books from the DMC Library as well as several beautiful books from Italy; the charts from which are just lovely! Also included on the website, links to other on-line vintage pattern books and the opportunity to join a Yahoo discussion group to converse with others interested in preserving these pieces of needlework history. Take a look. It’s well worth it!

Check out Jennifer Cecere’s website. This New York based artist creates amazing pieces using lace and doilies. You can find her website at where you will see photographs of her work along with several YouTube videos; one of which I’ve included here in which she explains her artistic process. Enjoy! 

A headline from today’s news? Another drug bust? No and no. This headline came from the July 3, 1877 New York Times and the contraband was…lace and silk. Those arrested were a steamship purser and a dock clerk. Apparently the purser obtained the silk and lace while in England, smuggled it aboard the ship on which he worked then delivered the goods to another person once the ship docked in New York. The dock clerk simply looked the other way. According to the newspaper, “smuggling of this character is said to have been going on since 1869, during which period it is estimated that nearly $1,000,000 worth of silks and laces have been thus surreptitiously brought into this port, most of which have been sold at auction at 30 percent below what they could have been imported for but giving the smugglers a handsome profit, the duty being 60 percent.”

Thirteen months later on August 29, 1878, the New York Times reported another incident of lace smuggling. A Customs officer discovered that a “well-known” person attempted to smuggle “18 pieces of costly hand-made lace” into this country. The smuggler aroused suspicion because his trunks were heavy and “appeared to be packed closely.” Once opened, officials discovered that “at the bottom of each trunk-folded very carelessly, so that some less costly material to which it was attached should take the shape of curtains-lay the valuable lace. The owner of the trunks said that it was poor stuff and not worth bothering about. It was taken to the Custom House, however, where it was said to be real lace.”

Interesting what the supply of and demand for “real” lace would make a person do.

That is the headline for a thought-provoking article in the March 19, 1913 edition of the New York Times written by Dr. Jane Robbins. An instructor in obstetrics at the Women’s Medical College of New York, Dr. Robbins was also heavily involved in settlement work; an approach to social reform which called for serving the poor in urban areas by living among them. When Dr. Robbins wrote this article she was the Head Worker of the Little Italy Neighborhood House and director of the Society for Italian Immigrants. To her credit she recognized the importance of the Italian needlework she saw around her. By the way, ten years before this, Dr. Robbins implemented a plan to educate the immigrant population on the merits of good housekeeping and hygiene to prevent a cholera outbreak. Click on the link to read the article. I thought it was very interesting.newyorktimes