History, Needlework & the Digital Age

One of the main reasons I completely adore working on PieceWork is the historical component it brings to needlework. Taking a stroll down memory lane is something I relish. And now I can do it digitally! We have nine years—that's 54 issues—of PieceWork available on CD, beginning with 2010 and going back to 2002. The 2001 issue is coming next.  Almost all of these issues are no longer available in print form.

While I do love going through the actual pages of past issues, there's just something magical about popping a CD in my laptop and having all of the amazing stories, the glorious photography, the step-by-step projects, and fascinating techniques from one of these issues unfold on my screen. And they do bring back very fond memories. So here are a few of my most favorite things from some of these issues. 

Poetry Mittens—I really had no idea what poetry mittens actually were until we included them in the January/February 2008 issue. Susanna Springer has a poetry mitten in her collection; tucked inside the mitten were a newspaper clipping and a handwritten note that date the mitten to about 1780. The Smithsonian has a pair of the mittens in its National Museum of American History Collection that date to the early 1800s. Both Susanna's and the Smithsonian's mittens have the words to a poem titled "Trouble" knitted into them. Those inspired our "Poetry Mittens to Knit" project.


Orenburg Warm Shawl—What could be better than this puff of knitted lace from Galina Khmeleva? Galina, who has been teaching the art of Orenburg lacemaking to U.S. knitters since 1996, shared the pattern and chart for this stunning example in the September/October 2002 issue.

Our 10th Anniversary Issue—This issue, September/October 2003, will always have a special place in my heart, not only for the milestone but also for the generosity of our readers who shared their own anniversary stories and projects. Two examples: Nancy Bush's "Anniversary Socks to Knit" that she designed to commemorate the occasion are spectacular; the richly embroidered silk-on-silk suzani (a traditional dowry cloth) from Uzbekistan is completely stunning.

 I'm really thrilled that these and the other 50 back issues or PieceWork are available on CD. In addition to the convenience, I love, love, love the fact that they are searchable (my memory can be sketchy at times)!




Jeane Hutchins