We invited Toni Rexroat, the online editor of CrochetMe, to share her thoughts on Weldon's Practical Crochet.
Standing in line at a big box yarn and fabric store, I browse the rows of magazines offered as the perfect impulse purchase. There are stacks of knitting, crochet, sewing, and needlework options. I can find the perfect magazine to learn how to knit with easy patterns or pick up a volume full of intricate embroidery designs.
I know that I take this abundance of options for granted. I, like many of you, was not the first in my family to knit and crochet. My great-grandmothers created both utilitarian garments and gorgeous home decor pieces. Many of the patterns they used were memorized or designed as they went and never written down.
In the late 1800s, Weldon’s began publishing entire publications devoted solely to needlework. These patterns were not as detailed as the patterns we now enjoy; some might even describe them as guidelines. I see them as adventures!
Here is a little more information about how Weldon’s began.
Weldon’s Practical Needlework
The time is the turn of the twentieth century and the place is London, England. In an effort to bring needlework to a then emerging middle class, several companies in the late 1800s in London began publishing patterns and instructions for various needlework projects. Unlike other magazines available at the time, which ran one or two needlework projects in an issue filled with other editorial (including fiction, recipes, and housekeeping hints), these new publications were devoted solely to needlework.
In approximately 1885, Weldon’s began publishing monthly newsletters, available by subscription, featuring patterns and instructions for projects. Each fourteen-page newsletter was devoted to one technique and cost 2 pence. . . .
—the PieceWork Staff
If you haven’t worked from historical patterns before, I encourage you to jump in and enjoy the journey as you create your own vintage projects. Take a look at the first 12 series of Weldon’s Practical Crochet!