This Week in History

November 28, 1582
William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway marry

Here’s the needlework connection to this date:

Frequent PieceWork contributor Christopher John Brooke Phillips quotes lines from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in his fascinating article, “Spinsters, Free Maids, Tells, and Shakespeare,” which ran in the May/June 2013 issue:

The spinsters and knitters in the sun
And free maids that weave their thread with bones. . . .
Christopher continues, “Clearly, spinsters, knitters, and free maids . . . were familiar to the playwright and his audience. Spinsters referred to anyone, man or woman, who spun yarn. Free maids were lacemakers, who were predominantly female. Bones referred either to bobbins turned and carved from beef shinbones or to fish bones or other small sharp bones with heads fashioned from sealing wax that those who could not afford handmade metal pins at one old British penny each used when making bobbin lace. (A common name for bobbin lace was bone lace.)”
Shakespeare and bobbin lace—how interesting!

Oops—in my glee about our new website and being able to communicate with you more frequently, I wrote this for last week, but there just wasn’t enough time to get it scheduled. I promise next week will cover an actual event of that week, but I just love the above tidbit.

So hope you enjoy!
—Jeane Hutchins


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