My PieceWork Story

knitted sweater piecework

Samantha’s daughter, Ellie, wearing the yellow sweater that Samantha’s grandmother had knitted decades before.

We asked Samantha Wranosky, PieceWork’s associate art director, to share her thoughts about needlework connections. Here’s Samantha! –Jeane

When my sister and I were young, my grandmother sewed a lot of our clothes and knitted sweaters for us to wear. When knitting the sweaters, she used the same pattern–whether it was for her or for us. I can still remember sitting on her couch when I was a child clicking the knitting needles together pretending that I was knitting (and probably dropping some stitches and driving her crazy!). They were simple sweaters, but when I picture her in my mind to this day, she’s wearing one of those sweaters.

piecework magazine

Betty Jane Skinner, Samantha’s grandmother. Circa 1942.

Now, as a mom myself, I think about my grandmother’s life as a young mom and wish I knew more about her knitting projects and what was going on when she worked on her projects. Last year when my daughter was one year old, she wore one of the yellow sweaters that my grandmother had knitted 30+ years prior. It was such a sweet connection that we had a piece of my grandmother with us that day.

And that is what is so incredible about knitting and needlework. The handmade pieces live on beyond the years of their maker. Crafting is such an amazing way to leave our mark on this earth. And that is why PieceWork Magazine continues to pique my interest with every issue. The stories are endless and there is such meaning and history to discover about the people behind the craft.

knitted sweater piecework

Betty Jane Skinner, Samantha’s grandmother, wearing one of her knitted sweaters. Circa 1985.

In the most recent issue (May/June 2015), Nancy Ann Haffner and Andrea Jurgrau tell a story of five generations of women connected by lace. Nancy recalls her first discoveries of lace, photos, newspaper clippings, and old letters in a trunk her parents had left to her. Her discoveries, along with family photos and details of the amazing lace work are documented in the article.

The pages of PieceWork are filled with documentation and images all the way from museums around the world to your neighbor’s basement. The stories are endless and each is so unique and interesting. And to top it all off, it was written by passionate crafters, and in many cases, they have created a new project based on the historical one they write about. Not only can you read about the history, you can create your own history and make something that fits your world today!