Traditional Needlework & Modern Technology

Editors' note: We've invited Kathy Mallo, PieceWork's editorial assistant, to tell you about our newest CD collection.

PieceWork magazine feeds my need for spending time contemplating and appreciating the past. I was delighted to learn that CD collections are available, and the newest combines all of the 1999 issues on one disk!

William Morris's Artichoke panel inspired Ann Caswell's counted-thread embroidery pillow.

This 1999 CD collection offers some extraordinary stories while focusing on needlework’s amazingly rich historical context. Here are two special people from the 1999 issues that touched me:

It is the year 1844. A boy of about 10 is riding his pony through the forest by his home, wearing the suit of armor that his father gave him, and having the time of his life. He has already devoured the novels of Sir Walter Scott and knows all about the legends of King Arthur. The boy is named William, but in his mind he is Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe and he is on a wild adventure! While William is gleefully playing out his fantasies, something else is happening. A curiosity of nature is forming: the wondrous beauty in the detail of a bird’s tiny body, the uniqueness of each wild flower, leaf and vine. Do you know who this young man is? It’s British design genius William Morris. The January/February issue explores the life of this amazingly talented individual who transformed the natural world into romantic elegant design.

Among the delights in the March/April issue is a very personal peek into the life of Jennie Mae Olsen. From her 1908 dairy, we explore her daily life in a shack (as she called it) on a 160-acre homestead claim on the North Dakota plains  where she cared for her two babies alone while her husband was necessarily absent. This young woman’s needlework served to provide warmth for her children and lasting beauty to admire. The accompanying project is a sweet example of her exquisite needle-tatting skills and a contradiction of the primitive life she lived on the claim.

Jude Daurelle adapted this crocheted bag from one made by Jennie Mae Olsen.

There are many more gifted needleworkers profiled in these 1999 issues and an array of projects—monograms, mittens and gloves, tea cozies, granny-squares, pillows, samplers, and more. Techniques include stitching on perforated paper, counted thread embroidery on fabric, beaded crochet and embroidery, needle tatting, knitting, appliqué, crewel embroidery, cross-stitch, and Mayan-style knotting.

I loved exploring the personal stories of traditional makers—what inspired them and how they made their creations. On this PieceWork 1999 CD collection, each comes alive for today’s knitters, embroiderers, lacemakers, crocheters, and quilters. So pop the CD into your laptop or computer and enjoy!

Take care,

P.S. Collection CDs are also available with all issues of PieceWork from 2000 to 2010. They’re all portable, searchable, printable, and alleviate the storage problem many of us face!