A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a good
friend's wedding reception. They wanted a homey feel, and so we gathered at local
home that is being maintained by a historical society. The rooms are still
furnished with original and early 20th century home decor.
|Bart Elwell's adaptation of the crocheted fan
edging sewn to a purchased baby pillow embellished with embroidery. PieceWork Nov/Dec
The pieces that really caught my attention were crocheted.
There were pillow shams, doilies, table runners, and full bedspreads, each with
a unique lace pattern. I am planning a return trip to study each delicate
pattern. I want to know not only the stitches that create each piece but also
the stories that they can tell about crocheters who came before me.
This fascination with not only crochet but its stories is
why I love PieceWork magazine. Each
issue is filled with stories of crocheters, embroidery artists, knitters,
beaders, tatters, and more who told their stories through the work of their
I am inspired by the delicate lace crochet pillow edgings of
Mary Rebecca Spagnola. Her daughter
remembers that she "would ask friends and neighbors the color of their
sofas and chairs and later would . . . incorporate those colors into lacy
doilies and antimacassars that quickly and skillfully spiraled off her crochet
hook." The fan edging pattern, adapted from Mary's edgings, is gorgeous. I
plan to soon add a bit of Mary's story to my own bedroom.
The latest issue of PieceWork
includes the sad story of Linda Ligon's family, filled with many of the common
hardships of the time. Like many families in the late 19th century,
they were soon divided by great distances as they went in search of a better
life. There are few physical heirlooms left to tell the story of some members
of these families besides a few pieces of lace. Linda says, "The lace
itself has lived in trunks, boxes, and drawers for almost a century. It serves
no useful purpose but to stand in mute testimony to scattered lives. And maybe
that is use enough."
Imagine the stories your crochet will tell to
future generations of crocheters. Discover the history of crochet, embroidery,
knitting, and more as well as historical techniques and patterns by subscribing to PieceWork