A Stitch In Time
“Learn the sound qualities of all useful stuffs and make everything of the best you can get, whatever its Price, and then, every day, make some little piece of useful clothing, sewn with your own fingers as strongly as it can be stitched, and embroider it or otherwise beautify it moderately with fine needlework, such as a girl may be proud of having done.” — JOHN RUSKIN
One of the bizarre traits that I possess as a result of my history fanaticism is a “hands-on” approach to doing a lot of things. For example, I love to make bread from scratch, detest electric hand mixers and have taken a fondness to knitting, sewing and home preservation.
When I took up knitting, within a month I was expirimenting writing my own patterns and in a few short weeks I was pricing spinning wheels. After all, in Ireland in the 1800s when women were making their husbands traditional Irish Fishing Sweaters, they did not go to the JoAnn Fabrics to stock up on prespun wool. No. They sheered the sheep and spun the yarn and then got to the knitting. Hey! Now there is an idea! Where could I keep a sheep in Eagan?
So, you see my strange quirk leads me to spend hours (or even months sometimes) doing menial tasks that would take any normal person ten minutes (or a meer trip to the store for their husband’s christmas sweater).
So when I found this website I was elated! It has an amazing wealth of resources as far as historical sewing goes. This particular book School Needlework was published in 1893, written by Olive C. Hapgood it was used in Boston Public schools around the turn of the century and was touted for its concise instructive directions.
I love the section on “Ornamental Stitches” because of the beautiful diagrams, however, the book also contains a section on pattern drafting which is incredibly interesting!
Chain-stitching is a method of embroidering, by which the stitches resemble a chain.
Materials— An embroidery needle, embroidery silk, and a strip of cloth.
1. Work towards you, holding the cloth over the left forefinger.
2. Draw the needle through from underneath at the upper end, a short distance from the edge.
3. Holding the thread to the left with the thumb, insert the needle where the thread comes out, and bring it through one-eighth of an inch below, and over the thread to form the loop.
4. Continue in this manner, always inserting the needle inside the loop of the last stitch, and being careful to take the same number of threads on the needle for each stitch.
Suggestion— Chain-stitching is often used for outlining a pattern.
I hope I haven’t put any of you off with my strange affinity for doing things the old-fashioned way. Do you have anything that you do the “old” way? If so I’d love to hear about it!