Sunday, 25 May 2014

Passionate Piecework and Miss Marple's Shawl

This magazine, Piecework, is another of my favourite needlework magazines.  Published bimonthly, it is always full of interesting articles and projects.  I like how it is international in scope so you can read about embroidery in Poland or tatting in Australia.  This issue, "September/October 2010" is one of their most popular.  It contained ten articles all featuring projects that were inspired by literature.  Crafts of all sorts have long been mentioned in novels of course and the women's 'work' frequently written about often took the form of fancy needlework or plain sewing of one form or another.  The articles in this issue include references to the work of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie,and Rose Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) among others.  I borrowed this copy from the library and it is well-worn; I'm going to look around to see if I can get my own for future use.
I did make a copy of a featured pattern to knit, advertised as a shawl of the type that Agatha Christie's Miss Marple would have knit.  The famous sleuth often used her knitting as a way to appear busy in public and yet be keeping an eye on some suspicious fellow or event unfolding.  I read the pattern with interest and though a lot of rows to track, seemed like something I could tackle successfully. The pattern uses stockinette stitch with a little openwork, sounds doable.  It was a reprint from Weldon's Practical Needlework, that wonderful series of books published in the late 1800's and still much in use today. Each volume featured knitting patterns for creating many garments of clothing for all members of the family.  They are a little like looking at history; I can't help but imagine all the women throughout the years who followed these patterns and knit a vest for their husband, or a bed jacket for themselves or socks for the whole family. 
Anyway, reprints of all the volumes are available on Amazon and the first one costs about twelve dollars.