March 25, 2009

Old Fashioned Needlework

Corgyncombe Library Notes: "Piecework" Magazine
Trying out the basketweave pattern to test the gauge for the sontag that is featured in "Piecework".

The reporters at The Corgyncombe Courant are extremely pleased with the March/April 2009 issue of "Piecework" magazine. It has many old fashioned needlework articles of quality, some with patterns. There are not many magazines out there that The Corgyncombe Courant finds so interesting. The Corgyncombe Courant prefers magazines with old fashioned things, rather than the abundance of modern, trendy magazines that all look just the same.

This issue of "Piecework" has articles about making Lucet braids, embroidering monograms on handkerchiefs, an article called "Commend Me to a Knitting Wife, Knitting during the American Civil War", "Carriage Boots Stitch Pattern", a knitted sontag pattern in basketweave, knitting Civil War Union and Confederate socks and patterns, embroidered "pinkeep" pattern, 17th century knitted undershirt pattern, and smocking.

Here is a link to: "Piecework" Magazine

The title of the article about Civil War era knitting reflects the words in a letter written by a gentleman to the "American Agriculturist". The letter is partially quoted in the article. The gentleman's desire above all, if he ever was to find a wife, was to find a wife that excelled in knitting, as he found knitting the most admirable of skills.

Here is a link to the: Letter published in the "American Agriculturalist"

In the above photograph, The Corgyncombe Courant reporter Diane Shepard Johnson added to the little sample that she had previously started of seed stitch and a wildflower pattern and continued on to try out the gauge for the basketweave pattern of the sontag. The yarn is Diane's two-ply handspun wool that Diane dyed with black walnuts, mordented with alum. Perhaps an edging of dark green goldenrod dyed handspun yarn would go well with the walnut dyed basketweave pattern.

"Piecework" also includes a "Carriage Boots Stitch Pattern" and a picture of some antique knitted carriage boots. The reporters at The Corgyncombe Courant are fortunate to have a pair of children's boots similar to the carriage boots featured in the "Piecework" article. In the photograph below are the children's boots that were handed down in the Scandinavian family of the husband and father, respectively, of the reporters at The Corgyncombe Courant. The knitted boots have leather soles with fleece on the inside.

The "Piecework" article on Civil War Union and Confederate socks includes patterns. It says that the needles used to knit socks were very small and that fine plied yarn was used. The resulting items were strong, long lasting socks.

One antique pair of socks featured in the article was appraised on "Antiques Roadshow" and can be seen on the PBS web site.

Here is a link to: The "Antiques Roadshow" appraisal on PBS that was mentioned in the "Piecework" article

Whilst on the subject of long lasting socks, The Corgyncombe Courant reporter Diane Shepard Johnson has these fond remembrances: Tasha Tudor was delighted when I gave her some of my handspun two-ply wool yarn. My handspun wool yarn was knit into socks and Tasha wrote me later that she daily wore them. Tasha wrote of the socks: "Every morning and every evening I put them on when I go to milk my goats. They wear like iron."

The next issue of "Piecework" will highlight lace. The Corgyncombe Courant can't wait!!!


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