One of the joys of needlework is that there’s always something new to learn. Every issue of PieceWork illuminates the fascinating history of our favorite crafts. What author do you adore who waxes poetic about embroidery? Do you know something unusual about knitting’s past? Are you aware of a long-lost lace technique?
Our readers want to know more! Share your article and project ideas with PieceWork. To stimulate your creativity, here are a few of our favorites from issues past.
In the September/October 2012 issue of PieceWork, author Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell explores the role of French émigrés driven to England by the French Revolution (1789–1799), and who became an integral part the British fashion industry of the time, in her article, “Handwork in the Émigré Novel.” Well-known authors of the period, such as Jane Austen, made references to émigré-made goods in their work. Kimberly explains the types of work created by the émigrés:
“Émigrés specialized in making elegant accessories that did not require expert craftsmanship or expensive materials. Aristocrats with few marketable skills and little capital could set themselves up as milliners, seamstresses, and hairdressers. Artificial flowers, painted fans, embroidered chemise gowns and, especially, straw hats were émigré specialties and were recognized as such by foreign consumers. Although a few Frenchmen worked as tailors and shoemakers, aristocratic Frenchwomen dominated the émigré handwork industry, turning genteel female pastimes such as embroidery, knitting, tapestry, and lacemaking into life-sustaining income.”
Barbara Jackson’s lovely embroidered needle case is the companion project to Valerie’s article. It is inspired by the needlework of the French emigrés and is shown above. Complete instructions for making the needle case are included in the September/October 2012 issue.
The Poetry Mittens above were designed by PieceWork’s founding editor,Veronica Patterson, and Jane Fournier, crafts editor. They are based on similar mittens knitted in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The pattern and the companion article, “Unraveling Poetry Mittens” by Veronica Patterson, are available in the January/February 2008 issue of PieceWork, our 2nd annual Historical Knitting issue, and the project mittens feature a verse penned by Veronica:
Put on your coat,
scarf, gay mittens
knitted of sun and sky
to walk in white hills.
We won’t go in till
drifts erase our way.
When snow swirls
we begin to dream
of dancing firelight
and hasten gaily home,
and words to
Like so many of us, the lure of lace captivates contributor Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell. In the May/June 2011 issue of PieceWork, Kimberly shares the story of Alençon lace (point d’Alençon), which was nicknamed the “queen of lace.” Kimberly explains the special status symbol of this lace among the nobility in the following excerpt from her article, “Alençon: Queen of Lace, Lace of Queens”:
“At a time when lace was worn daily by men and women alike, Alençon lace was a status symbol, especially in court circles. Both the high headdress (frelange) worn by women of the period and the rectangular cravat worn by men were designed to show off fine lace. Because of its enormous expense, lace rarely was worn in large quantities. It was the talk of the town when Louis XIV’s mistress Madame de Montespan (1641–1707) appeared at court wearing a dress entirely covered in point de France. And only someone as wealthy as a king could afford the lavish set of household hangings trimmed with point de France that Louis XIV gave to the Prince de Conti (1664–1709) as a wedding gift.”
We’d love to hear your ideas! We are looking for compelling, well-researched, visually appealing, evocative content with in-depth needlework historical connections. The submission deadline for the Summer 2020 issue of PieceWork is fast approaching; submissions are due September 2, 2019.
Due Dates for Future Issues Are:
Summer 2020 Submissions 2 September 2019; all material to be received on or before 13 November 2019
Fall 2020 Submissions 4 December 2019; all material to be received on or before 5 February 2020
Winter 2020 Submissions 5 March 2020; all material to be received on or before 13 May 2020
For more information on submitting an article idea or project, please see our PieceWork Contributor Guidelines and the 2020 Editorial Calendar. Email submissions to [email protected] or mail to PieceWork, P.O. Box 2579, Loveland, CO 80539.
Help PieceWork honor needlework and its creators—those who have done and continue to do “all this by hand.”
—The PieceWork Staff
Featured Image: Barbara Jackson’s exquisitely stitched petite Fleur-de-Lis Needle Case from the September/October 2012 issue of PieceWork is inspired by the needlework of French émigrés who fled to Great Britain during the French Revolution (1789–1799). Mother-of-pearl antique scissors from the Grace Goss Collection, Loveland Museum/Gallery, Loveland, Colorado. Photo by Joe Coca.