PieceWork Summer 2021

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

Textiles can carry complicated histories, sometimes marking a birth or death, memories of war or diaspora, moments of pride or honor. They can endure long after their makers, and many of these objects—both humble and exquisite examples—take on new histories as they pass between generations of caretakers. We add our own interpretations and meanings like fingerprints. Cloth can also lose its original meaning or be assigned meaning wholly unrelated to the intentions of the original maker. The pain of poverty might run through every stitch of a quilt created with small scraps of cloth and energy. Several generations later, we might only see diligence, skill, and beauty. These are complicated, very human narratives, and equally complicated are the decisions about safekeeping. Do you use Great-grandmother’s shawl or keep it forever tucked safely…

1 min
by post

I was fascinated by your web post on the Spanish Flu pandemic [“Protect Your Jaws from Septic Paws: Making Masks During the Spanish Flu” by Christina Garton, pieceworkmagazine.com/protect-your-jaws-from-septic-paws-making-masks-during-the-spanish-flu] and was inspired by the slogan discussed [“Obey the Law. Wear the Gauze. Protect Your Jaws from Septic Paws.”], so I printed it onto one of the many masks I sewed. When someone asks me what the words mean, I love to tell them what I learned from the story you shared. It is reassuring to know we have been here before and weathered the experience as a country and as a world. Alice Cannon Via email Maker’s Memento I was so touched by the recent article on darning eggs [“The Egg and I: Tools for Darning” by Franklin Habit, PieceWork Fall 2020]. My husband…

1 min

Bargello Needlepoint: A Pattern Directory for Dramatic Creations Laura Angell and Lynsey Angell Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2020. Softbound, 160 pages, $22.95. ISBN 9780486842912. Keepers of the Sheep: Knitting in Morocco’s High Atlas and Beyond Irene Waggener Houston, Texas: 106 Meters from the Road, 2020. Softbound, 146 pages, $40. ISBN 9780578758107. Available from 106metersfromtheroad.com. Marking Time: Objects, People, and Their Lives, 1500–1800 Edited by Edward Town and Angela McShane New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2020. Hardbound, 512 pages, $65. ISBN 9780300254105. Textile Travels Anne Kelly London: Batsford, 2020. Hardbound, 128 pages, $22.95. ISBN 9781849945646. Cloth That Changed the World: The Art and Fashion of Indian Chintz Edited by Sarah Fee New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2020. Hardbound, 312 pages, $50. ISBN 9780300246797.…

1 min

Thread Tamer Wrap your floss around French General’s Thread Winders to keep your embroidery project organized in style. The reusable, shapely strand managers are cut from Baltic birch and come in sets of four. frenchgeneral.com Summertime Shawlette Knit an elegant wrap for long summer evenings spent outdoors. Lisa Souza hand-dyes each skein of her 100% bombyx fingering-weight Sylvie Silk. The yarn’s two-ply construction aids in opening up airy lace patterns. Shown in Seaglass. lisaknit.com Repair and Reuse Holes be gone! Visibly repair handknitted socks and more with Katrinkles’ Darning & Mending Loom. The kit includes everything needed except the garment and yarn. The loom helps you stitch a warp and then hold it steady as you needle-weave a patch. katrinkles.com Botanical Hues Upcycle Stitches hand-dyes its sashiko threads in small batches using natural dyes. The plies of…

3 min
the long thread

Dawn Cook Ronningen, Historian, Needleworker, and Needlework Tool Collector How did you become a needleworker? When I was about seven years old, my grandmother gave me a dime-store hoop, embroidery floss, and a stamped dresser scarf to embroider. I remember being just as intrigued with the threads and colors as I was by the stitches she taught me. She also gave me a set of crochet hooks and taught me to crochet. She insisted I learn to read a pattern. Using yarn and following a doily pattern, I created my first crochet piece. I think learning to follow the crochet code in the written instructions also encouraged my love of numbers. In college, I worked part-time at a needlework shop. I became interested in historic embroidery and reproducing the stitches. My favorite projects…

8 min
conservation at work

Whether because of use, pests, or neglect, artworks degrade over time if unprotected. Art conservators are the professionals who prevent and repair damage to the wide-ranging objects in museums and private collections. Textile conservators are the specialists who focus on the particular needs of objects such as tapestries, clothing, banners, archaeological fragments, and more. This work is a dynamic mix of science, ethics, and cultural understanding. I am a recent graduate of the University of Glasgow’s master of philosophy (MPhil) program in textile conservation. At the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, students from around the world learn the causes of damage, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from reoccurring. This includes studying the chemistry of fibers and how they are damaged by light, changes in…