Inside Some Amazing Collections

Colorado's floods have receded and the cleanup is ongoing, but the fear and devastation that the area suffered is still at the forefront of our memories. PieceWork Editor Jeane Hutchins experienced the flooding first-hand, as did so many of my colleagues, and it guided her Notions piece from the November/December issue, which is all about collections.

You all know I'm an avid collector, and I love taking a peek at others' collections, too. Here's Jeane to tell you more:

Sara Lamb's reproduction of her Great-aunt Gladys's washcloth; she used size 10 crochet cotton. This is a handy travel accessory and a great gift idea.
Mary Lycan's re-creation of the beautifully engineered mittens originally knitted for Clara Barrows about 1875.

The Collections Issue: Hidden Treasures from Antiquity to Today

As I write this in mid-September, the devastation from flooding that began a week ago in our corner of the world continues to unfold. Residents of some 130 square miles (209 km²) of Colorado have been affected. The part of downtown Loveland where the Interweave office is located was spared, but so many others were not as fortunate.

At least eight people have died, more than 3,000 others had to be evacuated from flooded areas, and thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. It's estimated that repairing bridges and roads will take up to eighteen months. For many Colorado residents, it could take that long until they can return to their homes and possessions, or what is left of them.

In this context, this issue has taken on a poignant tone. It's all about collecting and collections and about myriad treasure hidden everywhere, from museums to attics, whether located two blocks away or as far away as India.

Here are some highlights:

—Author Mary Lycan's search on a historical society's website resulted in the discovery of Clara Barrows's mittens, knitted about 1875; she recounts her sleuthing in "The Roosters in the Gore: A Connecticut Mitten Mystery in Two Museums."

—Lily Chin introduces her family's traditional Chinese baby carrier (mei tai) and provides instructions for knitting your own in "Chinese Silk Baby Carrier to Knit."

—A reader told us about a small museum on the Greek island of Lefkada that contains numerous embroidered pieces from the 1920s. We asked Mary Bush to find out more; read about what she discovered in "Maria Stavraka and the Embroidery of Karya."

—Reading an out-of-date Lonely Planet travel guide to India set Cynthia Harvey Baker on a quest to locate the "oldest piece of cotton cloth in the world." She describes her efforts in "The Archaeology of Cotton: A Quest."

A Chinese baby carrier (mei tai) in use. (Watercolor drawing by Ann Swanson)

—A young couple of German descent living in the Volga region of the Soviet Union arrived at Ellis Island on August 22, 1922; they eventually settled in Colorado. Their daughter donated a shawl and a quilt to the Loveland Museum/Gallery; Veronica Patterson recounts the family story in "New World, Old Fear: The Story behind a Family's Shawl and Quilt."

—Many people collect vintage needlework publications, and, through the generosity of some of our readers, PieceWork has its own very nice collection. Mary Dickinson Bird explores how two of these magazines encouraged young girls to learn needlework skills in "Big Lessons from Little Stitches: Needlework Magazines and the Education of Young Girls in the Early Twentieth Century."

And there's much more. Get your issue of PieceWork today and enjoy our look at these "hidden treasures."

To each of you, my wishes for a safe holiday season and a new year filled with promise and joy.

P.S. Does your needlework, crochet, or knitting help you through hard times? Tell us about it in the comments.

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