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The Dictionary of Needlework – a gift for our library

October 4, 2012

I am always happy to see our students.  Last week, I was surprised to see Enid drive here from Canada to see me at the Barn. It had been a long time.   I was even more surprised of the gifts she was bearing: 6 editions of The Dictionary of Needlework an Encylopeadia of Artistic, Plain and Fancy Needlework – second edition – 1885 with upwards of 1200 wood engravings and colored plates – authors: S.F.A. Caulfield and Blanche C. Saward. I believe that the first edition was around 1882 as the preface to the first edition is in Book 1. Here’s a short quotation from the authors on the preface page: John Taylor, in Queen Elizabeth’s time wrote a poem entirely in praise of needlework: we in a less romantic age, do not publish a poem, but a dictionary, not in praise, but in practice of, the Art.

I opened the last edition or as it is called Division 6 – Tat to Zul and took a few photos. The single flower is described as Oriental Embroidery where it is tells how to work all of the thick parts of the pattern with very close herringbone stitch.  Work with purse silks of rich Oriental shades.

Fretwork Embroidery is shown as red leaf patterns over a blue background and tells how to do it:  Work over the outlines in Buttonhole Stitch with crimson purse silk.  Work the corded bars at the same time as the Buttonhole lines, and cut away the linen beneath them.

Fascinating historical descriptions and illustrations of embroidery and lace from an age that has passed, remind us how differently we live today.  This series of books has been published in a facsimile edition again in one large volume by the same name and published by Blaketon Hall Limited in 1989. If you have had a look at this Dictionary, let me know what you think of it. Thank you, Enid, this set of important embroidery books will be at home in our new library in the Barn. Now to find Medieval Embroidery by Grace Christie      Gail Harker

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Lenarz permalink
    October 4, 2012 4:46 pm

    Wow! What a find! Great job Enid!

  2. October 4, 2012 5:07 pm

    Wow – that’s a wonderful addition to the library!

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