Pit Shields, Medieval Poetry, and PieceWork

We here at BeWeave It are very happy to announce that our friends at PieceWork, Handwoven’s sister publication, have finally gotten their own fan page on Facebook: Needlework Traditions.

“But wait!” I hear some of you say, “This is a weaving page, why should we care about a knitting magazine?” Why? Well, PieceWork is no ordinary knitting magazine, in fact it’s not really a knitting magazine because it has knitting, crochet, beading, embroidery, tatting, nalbinding, netting, and a number of other niche techniques you can’t find anywhere else. (Bobbin lace, anyone?)

Best of all, PieceWork is filled with wonderful heartwarming and sometimes downright weird stories of textiles past. For example, in the newest issue devoted to undergarments is a fabulous article about the history of bras. Not only does this article include a truly amazing illustration of Henry Lesher’s bra that had built in "arm pit shields" (at right), but also a fun little 15th century poem that we couldn't print in the newsletter for fear of triggering spam filters but (as promised in the newsletter) we'll print here.


This German poem is about the precursor to the bra and was written by an unknown author in 1400, and then translated by Terry Walsh. (If you are easily offended by the dirty jokes in Shakespeare's plays, you may want to skip the poem, otherwise enjoy.):


"Many a girl two breast pouches sews, with

which around the street she goes,

So that each young lad she meets, can see she

has pretty, little teats;

But the one who with big breasts slouches, she

makes tighter, snugger pouches,

So there is no talk about the town, that with big

ones she's endowed."

There's also an article entitled "Vicky's Knickers, or Queen Victoria's Secret," which is all about Victorian underthings including the ever popular (and as longtime BeWeave It readers know, sometimes deadly) crinoline and a great story about the royal undergarment stealing Boy Jones. 

This isn’t a fluke, either; every issue has something wonderful like this in it. In the upcoming Jan/Feb 2015 issue there is an excellent project for knit Tanumüits (truly fabulous Estonian bonnets) and an article about Mrs. Mary Rolandson who was kidnapped by Native Americans in 1676, but fortunately had knitting needles with her so she was able to keep herself busy and knit her entire time in captivity.

So if you love textiles and want to read in-depth stories about their history and makers, then go to Facebook and "like" the new Needlework Traditions page today so you can get the full lowdown on the stories behind the textiles. 

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