Victorian Hieroglyphics

Now that I examine the image at right more closely, maybe I’m wrong about the hieroglyphics—now 12-29-15 a1 copyit looks like some stargazer’s chart of the night sky. No, wait, now it looks like the map to the hidden treasure!

What it actually is a very practical rendering that appeared in a very practical book: Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 10. The ingenious editors and illustrators who put together this particular volume of Weldon’s figured out how to get the patterns for 13 pincushions on one page…in full working size.

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The Folly Pincushion

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The Cream-Jug Pincushion

The vast majority of print publications are bound by physical constraints: the number of pages, the size of the pages, the weight and content of the paper, etc. Weldon’s was not an exception. All of their volumes consist of 12 different “series”; these can be a combination of multiple series for a technique (First and Second Series of Weldon’s Practical Knitter, for example) or various stand-alone series (the Third Series of Weldon’s Practical Smocking or the First Series of Weldon’s Practical Beadwork). The reason is quite straightforward. The volumes of Weldon’s are simply just 12 of the individual newsletters (the ”series”) the company had already published.

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The Bridal Pincushion

This does account for some very eclectic companions in any given volume: knitting, crochet, macramé lace, and Mountmellick embroidery in Volume 4; crinkled paper work, knitting, ivory embroidery, and Japanese curtain work in Volume 7; and crochet, knitting, leather work, ribbon plaiting, and pincushions in Volume 10. Regardless of content, each volume is a fascinating study in Victorian needlework, Victorian life, and Victorian publishing. And this leads me back to this wonderful engraving and the pincushions in this volume. Having trouble envisioning The Folly Pincushion (B on the engraving)? The illustration for it from Weldon’s is here.

In all, Volume 10 of Weldon’s features instructions for making a total of 26 pincushions. Two that didn’t need to be accompanied by a pattern are the Cream-Jug and the Bridal (“This novel little pincushion receives its name from the orange blossom which forms the main part of its decoration…”).

All 26 pincushions and the amazing rendering with the 13 patterns are included in our newest PieceWork eBook: Weldon’s Practical Pincushions (First Series) How to Make Pincushions for Bazaars and Decorative Purposes.

I do hope your enjoy our latest foray into Victorian life!
Editor, PieceWork