PieceWork Spring 2020

PieceWork is the only magazine for those who love all things made by hand and the history behind them. Every issue explores the life and work of traditional needleworkers, takes an in-depth look at historical needlework techniques, and gives instructions for making heirloom-quality projects of your own.

United States
Long Thread Media LLC
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Expressions of the past. Textiles carry layer upon layer of history. The deeper you look, the more there is to learn. As a handspinner and shepherd, I find the threads, yarns, cloth, and colors of historic textiles endlessly fascinating. We can discover so much about makers and how they interacted with their environments and materials at hand if we look closely enough. Or we can step back and look at a textile and maker in the larger scope of history, adding the context of social constraints and political pressures. Techniques, materials, and the maker’s creative voice combine to produce stitches that can outlive the human hands that formed them. To me, this is the work that PieceWork has always done, connecting us to the human experience through the medium of needlework. In…

1 min
by post

Baltic Socks As a reader from the Baltic country of Latvia, I loved your articles about Baltic knitting (Fall 2019) and have a collection of Latvian gloves and socks. The article about the Estonian socks [“Billowing Stockings from Paistu and Tarvastu Parishes,” excerpted with permission from Estonian Knitting 2: Socks and Stockings by Anu Pink] was particularly interesting, for when I was a child, there was a framed picture of my mother wearing her Latvian costume (Rucava) and in knee-high socks that were stuffed to make the calves look larger. My mother told me that farmers seeking wives looked for muscular women who could do the heavy labor required of farm wives. In later years, the practice of stuffing the socks was discontinued. My mother, born in 1910, would have been…

1 min
from our readers’ hands

Inspired by Carolyn Wyborny’s Irish Lace Shawl [“Weldon’s Irish Lace Shawl to Knit,” Spring 2019], I decided earlier this year to tackle my first piece from the wonderful projects PieceWork offers in each issue. I completed my version in a pale green laceweight mohair from Debbie Bliss a few days ago whilst at anchor off Indonesian Borneo. Blocking was a challenge, but by raiding my clothes pegs and with a breezy tropical day, it was done in an hour or so using a clothesline strung from bow to mast!…

1 min

Classic Closure Secure your heirloom lace shawl with Hornvarefabrikken’s horn curl shawl pin. Made in Denmark and designed by Sara Brunn Buch, the handmade fasteners are made with natural horn molded into shape using hot oil. These one-of-a-kind pins add an old-world, rustic elegance to any outfit. www.hornvarefabrikken.com. Stylish Hooks Stunning String Studio’s Deco crochet hooks combine elegant Art Deco–inspired handles with ergonomic comfort. The handles of the hooks were designed to be longer so the decorative end won’t interfere with the grip area. The set includes eight hooks in metric sizes 2.5 mm to 6 mm. www.stunningstring.com. Crossing Cables Crafted from durable borosilicate glass, Fiber & Flame’s glass cable needle is a stylish addition to any knitter’s tool bag. At 3 inches (7.6 cm) long by 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, it is designed…

4 min
a stitch in time

The Sorbello or Sorbello knot stitch is a textured Italian embroidery stitch, originating in the small village of Sorbello, near Naples. It belongs to the knot/looped-stitch family and differs from the similar Palestrina and Basque knot stitches in that the first leg of the Sorbello stitch is horizontal, not diagonal. Traditionally, the Sorbello stitch was worked on a fairly thick, coarse linen fabric known as crash, which was either natural (unbleached) or colored, and was worked with an equally coarse white or brown thread. This stitch was used to decorate pillow covers, tablecloths, curtains, bags, and small mats with bands, monograms, or motifs. This knotted stitch (Figure 1) can be worked on either the preferred evenweave fabric or on a plain-weave fabric marked with parallel lines or a grid. Usually, the stitches are…

9 min
a most valuable fabric

Crepe paper is a ubiquitous, taken-for-granted craft material today, thought of largely in relation to party decorations. When it was first introduced in the 1890s, however, it was touted as a wondrous new cloth, suitable for costumes, household coverings, and many other uses. The Dennison Manufacturing Company, which was the first American manufacturer to produce this novelty material, boasted in one of its early instructional booklets, “Crepe Paper [is] one of the most valuable fabrics for decorative purposes yet placed upon the market.” Crepe paper takes its name from crêpe fabric, which is similarly characterized by a crinkled, wavy surface. The creping process adds strength and elasticity, and depending on the manufacturing treatment, a range of different effects can be achieved. It can be coated with a metallic surface, for example,…