Friday, 22 August 2014

A Stitch In Time

I treated myself to two new books this holiday – from Charity Shops, naturally – and pleased with the £3 I spent. Both are books about the history of needlework. The first is a 1970’s retro classic

needleworker's dictionary

Pamela Clabburn was “Keeper of Social History” at Norwich Museum until the mid 70s – and this book is a real treasury of information for anybody interested in needlework, with 2000 alphabetically arranged entries, covering the most important stitches, history of needlework and textiles worldwide, materials, techniques and tools, people who have influenced the genre, and lists some of the places and museums where collections can be seen. I have already spent quite a bit of time flicking through the pages muttering random words to myself [fustian, barme-clothe, tabby-weave, thummel, bewpers…]

sew retro The second is much newer – published in 2010 – and this one is by an American author, Judith Ketteler. This book was in pristine condition – the pocket at the back holding the pattern sheets has never been unsealed! The book documents the history of the sewing revolution from 1800 until today.

Do check the book out here and here. Admittedly the book is written from a USA perspective – so the pictures and characters mentioned are mostly [but not all] from across the pond. But it is enormous fun


The projects are good fun too – I like this 1920’s Flapper Apron.

flapper apronI feel much more knowledgeable about sewing now, even after a fairly quick read of these two purchases. I mentioned on Wednesday that September is “The Month of the Guitar” – but it seems that in 1982, Ronald Reagan declared September to be “National Sewing Month” in the USA, in recognition of the importance of Home Sewing to the American people. Who knew?

I have borrowed some craftbooks from Dereham Library too – which have pattern sheets at the back. What is the etiquette about these? Having borrowed the book, I cannot actually use the pattern, because if I cut it out to my size, that means the next person [larger or smaller] may be unable to use it.

I suppose that if I really  wanted to make up a garment from the library book, I should have to either trace the pattern onto fresh paper, or go out and buy my own copy of the book!

Oh, one final thing – that teaser photo from Wednesday



It’s our new sink plunger!

It is very different from the black rubber, wooden handled one we have in Leicester – but remarkably sturdy and efficient.

I think it looks like a school bell, and I keep swinging it and saying “Playtime’s over, back to work, children!”

We bought it in Machine Mart.


  1. The books look very interesting will have to see if my library can get them. I would trace the pattern in your library book.
    A sink plunger! looks much nicer than the usual rubber cone thing on a stick.

  2. Ha! So that's what it is! X

  3. But you can't dress up as a dalek!

  4. I would never have guessed that!
    Love from Mum

  5. I always wonder why people cut their patterns to size when all you need to do is fold them over to the size you want? Nice books. I hardly ever buy brand new books. I utilise my local libraries to the max and a local charity shop sells their books for £1.25 each! I just bought 'The Goldfinch' - the new 'must read' on the go at the moment - bargain!Have a great weekend, Angela. x


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