The Smithsonian Institution is Created

August 10, 1846 The Smithsonian Institution is Created One of the world’s greatest repositories of treasures was given to the United States by a little-known English scientist James Lewis Macie. Born circa 1765, he was the illegitimate son of Hugh Smithson, who later would become England’s first Duke of Northumberland. Macie’s mother was Elizabeth Keate […]

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July 18, 1867: Margaret (“Maggie”) Brown, known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” is born Here’s the needlework connection: Among the images selected to illustrate Kax Wilson’s engrossing article, “Irish Crochet: When Famine Ravaged in Ireland,” in the March/April 1993 issue of PieceWork is a photograph of “Molly Brown.” The caption reads: “Molly Brown, the ‘unsinkable’ […]

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Modern Victorian Knitting

Is the term “modern Victorian knitting” an oxymoron? It may seem so to our twenty-first-century ears and eyes, but modern Victorian knitting isn’t an oxymoron. Lots of knitters are using Victorian patterns as jumping-off points for some spectacular designs. A case in point is Katrina King’s knitted scarf in the March/April 2017 issue of PieceWork. […]

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Daniel Defoe

April 24, 1731: English journalist and acclaimed author Daniel Defoe dies Here’s the needlework connection to this date: Both a prolific and acclaimed author, Daniel Defoe’s literary career began with writing about politics. Unfortunately, this led to his political foes managing to have him sent to prison on various occasions. He changed course, and published […]

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Needlework for Weddings

I wrote the following in my editorial for the May/June 2004 issue of PieceWork, “Weddings, in one form or another, are part of every culture, have existed for eons, include all manner of traditions, have caused wars, have been of religious, military, and/or economic significance, and reflect the hopes and dreams of millions of people […]

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American Revolution

April 19, 1775: The first shots were fired in the American Revolution Here’s the needlework connection to this date: “On Thursday afternoon, April 20, 1775, after a messenger rode into the small town of Enfield, Connecticut, tavern keeper Isaac Kibbe (1731–1779) immediately procured a drum for Thomas Abbe (1731–1811). Abbe’s long drum roll interrupted the […]

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A Treasured Knitted-Lace Sampler Book

Wearing white gloves is a requirement as one respectfully opens the time-worn browning pages of this fragile book. Within, handknitted lace patterns are carefully recorded stitch by stitch and have been preserved for over eighty years. The penmanship remains clear, conveying the step-by-step instructions to replicate the treasured samples attached with decaying adhesive. Mary Elizabeth […]

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Embroidery Patents

April 10, 1790: The U.S. patent system is established Here’s the needlework connection to this date: Intrigue. Depositions. Embroidery. Yes! Three embroiderers working in New York City in the 1880s, including the well-known mother of the Society of Decorative Art, Candace Wheeler, filed for patents to protect embroidery stitches each had devised. The other two […]

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Arriving at the North Pole

April 6, 1909: Robert Peary reaches what he determined to be the North Pole. Here’s the needlework connection to this date: Kathy Augustine introduces us to a very special woman in her article on Josephine Peary (1863–1955) in the Spring 2015 issue of PieceWork’s special publication Knitting Traditions. In “Josephine Peary: Icebreaker of the Arctic,” […]

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The Tudor Rose

March 29, 1461 Duke Edward of York defeats the Lancastrian army of King Henry VI at the Battle of Towton, one of many battles in England’s Wars of the Roses. Here’s the needlework connection to this date: “The Tudor rose, seen on so many British embroideries from the late fifteenth century to the present, is […]

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