Recording Stories and Patterns

We asked Sheila Derrington, Interweave's fulfillment manager, to tell us what she thinks of the new March/April issue of PieceWork.

I was born in the 70s; 1971 to be exact. Growing up, my family always read books and poetry together while my parents recorded us on an 8-track tape to play back later. I remember those days well, but any times prior to the “Sheila Decade” would have been comprised of visuals simply created in my head from TV shows such as Happy Days, I Love Lucy, or Little House on the Prairie. While shows like these entertained us, they didn’t fully depict the reality of the eras they represented. Stories that my grandfather told trumped those TV shows! I only wish someone had thought to record Grandpa’s stories, preserve them for the future like TV shows and the recordings my parents made. I miss Grandpa. . . and his stories.

Red-embroidered ritual towels hang from floor to ceiling on the interior walls of the Rushnyk Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. Photo © Pavlo Boyko and Olena Kondratyuk;

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to better appreciate the history of my family and the stories I’ve been told. When I read PieceWork, that’s what I think of. Stories of times before the “Sheila Decade,” recorded, preserved, and shared within the pages of this beautiful treasure we call PieceWork.

Mary Polityka Bush's "Belarusian Breadcloth to Embroider."

As I perused the pages of the March/April issue, I found it intriguing to learn where people find red dye in nature, the significance of the color red used in Slavic ritual cloths and ancient Egyptian mythology, and the use of red in fashion (who doesn’t love a classy twinset?). It’s not just the stories that intrigue me but also the patterns that accompany them.  Being a cross-stitcher, I’m a bit partial to the”Belarusian Breadcloth to Embroider” project inspired by the embroidered Slavic ritual cloths. Nonetheless, the knitted lace shawl on the cover looks so soft and delicate. And I love the knitted gloves adapted from a pattern for nineteenth-century Swedish mittens. A twinset, shawl, gloves, embroidered shoes. . . You can almost make an entire outfit from the patterns in this issue!

PieceWork is filled with historical needlework projects and the wonderful stories that inspire them. It’s like taking a trip through time and discovering those stories someone was lucky enough to record. My mother and mother-in-law each have a subscription to PieceWork, so I asked them to share what the magazine means to them.

Vicki Square's "A Timeless Twinset to Knit."

My mother, Darlene: “When PieceWork magazine comes in the mail, the first thing I do is admire the cover. Then, when I sit down with it, I delve into the historical articles. I find the history of needlework of great interest, how it is unique in different countries.  The article in the March/April issue on the twinset brought back fond memories. And then there are the red dyes!!

My mother-in-law, Geraldine: “I marvel at the personal touch PieceWork adds to its stories. And the patterns. . . these are something people used to just remember and pass along. How wonderful to have them recorded here. Even at my age, I learn a lot. The magazine is awesome!”

You, too, can be inspired by the stories and projects captured in every issue of PieceWork.