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My parents visited this past week and as usual, we enjoyed many conversations revolving around our UFOs (unfinished objects), current projects, and things we will get to one of these days. Mom patrols used book stores and thrift shops and came across some old Piecework magazines. This is a wonderful publication, covering every kind of needlework from around the world and giving the history to go with the projects. When she finished with these back issues, she passed them along to me.

Piecework Magazine Jan/Feb 1996 (left) and Nov/Dec 2004 (right)

Piecework Magazine Jan/Feb 1996 (left) and Nov/Dec 2004 (right)

I was delighted to see articles on tatting to follow up on my recent exploration of that craft. One even describes threading small beads into the tatting—now there’s something I have got to try!

But something else is intriguing in these back issues. Since I started reading the magazine, knitting has featured prominently in the projects—knitted lace, knitted mittens, knitted sweaters. These older issues do have knitting, but counted cross stitch is a central technique—embroidered yokes, embroidered ornaments, embroidered samplers—and more quilting than appears now.

Handwork is fluid. Crafts ebb and flow in popularity. When my grandmother told me that tatting was a dying art, little did she suspect that within 20 years, it would experience a resurgence. In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, weaving and spinning were very popular. Many of us who are weaving now, learned then. In the past 10 years, though, it seems like there are fewer of us actively weaving and fewer weaving publications. Give it time though. Weaving is an ancient skill and those of us still weaving keep sharing what we know so that future generations can join the web in their own time.

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