Enchanted Amusements

Round Doyley #2 from Ladies' Needlework Crochet.

“It is said there is no such thing as magic in the world; but the assertion is disproved every day. . . .” So begins the “Enchantment of Life” section of PieceWork’s eBook, Ladies Needlework Crochet; Tales and Poetry: A Melange of Instruction and Amusement from the 1849 year’s volume of the Ladies Needlework Penny Magazine. “Enchantment of Life” clearly falls into the amusement category! You’ll find it in between “Designs in Bead Crochet” and the instructions for crocheting “Round Doyley #2.”

Beech Leaf pattern from Ladies' Needlework Knitting.

It’s these quirky morsels, in the Ladies’ Needlework eBooks (one for Knitting, one for Crochet), that make them irresistible to me. Sprinkled amidst the 22 crochet patterns and the 17 knitting patterns are enigmas, needlework hints, poems, charades, and my favorite, a “serio-comic legend” called The Needle:

I tell of a needle—a needle of mind,

Deserving to rank as the king of its kind. . . .

Glendower pattern from Ladies' Needlework Knitting.

A mélange it is! And adding to that mix, PieceWork’s editor Jeane Hutchins carefully researched the life of London in 1849; her detailed introduction for both eBooks opens a window onto the distinct and changing days of nineteenth-century Londoners and provides a great context for the assembly of gems in these eBooks.

Start the year off right with one or both of these fabulous eBooks. 

For 2013, I wish you many hours of needlework fun and enchanted days.

Happy New Year,