We asked Marcy Smith, editor of PieceWork’s sister magazines Interweave Crochet, Love of Crochet, and Crochetscene to share her thoughts on PieceWork’s newest eBook, Weldon’s Practical Crochet, Series Seventeen–Twenty. Here’s Marcy!
I adore old writings. And I adore crochet. Thus nothing enchants me more than old writings about crochet. So when Jeane Hutchins, editor of the esteemed PieceWork, asked me to review the newest release of Weldon’s Practical Crochet Series Seventeen–Twenty, I demurred barely an instant.
Published in England in the late nineteenth century, Weldon’s encompasses a surprising range of crochet techniques in an array of delightful projects perhaps best suited to the turn of the 20th century. In fact, at first blush, you might not see a place for an antimacassar in your 21st century world. However, as you peruse and cogitate, you may be able to envision the intricate crochet reworked in different fiber to create a wall hanging, the current rage on Pinterest.
But the true joy of Weldon’s is immersing yourself in this late Victorian splendour. Whilst poring over the pages of these combined issues, I grew increasingly smitten. The language delights, as in this introduction to the Utrecht Medallion: “An eight-sided medallion or star can be turned to account for an endless variety of purposes, and affords considerable scope for ingenuity in producing the most charming result with a moderate amount of labour.” Sweetness, even knowing that this is a “moderate amount of labour” only as compared with other, far more laborious, methods of producing the lace so immensely popular at the time. Immersed in the words, which wrap around engravings of crochet, the dear reader is neatly transported back 120 years or so.
As I leafed through the sixty pages of instruction and engravings, a refrain drifted and echoed in my brain. I tugged and found the phrase “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” The next natural step was to offer up an apology to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (who hearkened from earlier in the 19th century), and pen a sonnet to Weldon’s Practical Crochet.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
Of thy “Hat for a Baby Boy”, a sprite
Festooned with a dozen pompoms, Amaze!
I love thy antimacassars for chaise
(Tho not needed for my household delight)
I love thy cunning engravings despite
Their grainy nature, and I love thy spare
Instruction, for it shows faith in my skills
I love thy abundance of sleeping socks
And thy Fancy Articles that quite thrill:
Petticoats, window borders, girl’s frocks,
And Little Harold Boot; and, should hooks will,
I shall love thee as I fill my workbox.
Do not demur. Seek out your own enchantment in this collection of Weldon’s Practical Crochet. We look forward to your missives bearing engravings of your own interpretations of these crochet wonders.
Until then I remain
Yours in crochet,