Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A beautiful secret.

I've been spending so much time with my lovely old books lately because my arthritic thumb has packed it in and I'm trying not to overwork the poor thing. It's nice to have an excuse to just look at a book and I thought you might like to see what I've found this time. The magazine that I've been reading is a copy of The Needlewoman, printed in 1922 and for sale at threepence quarterly.
This picture is that of a knitted tea cloth and according to the text with it, it was made "in secret by an old Irish lady using very fine sewing cotton. The old lady took a great pride in this piece of work, and would allow no one to watch her knitting it, having done the tea-cloth entirely in the privacy of her own room."
Can you imagine the time it must have taken? I haven't even tried to count the number of stitches she would have cast on, but there are 16 medalions knitted in a sort of feather stitch, joined together to make the large square with the borders added later. Of course there is no pattern for the cloth.
I am seriously impressed. I wonder what condition her thumbs were in, not to mention her eyesight, neck and shoulders.
Just for fun I found a reel of sewing cotton which is about as thick as a number 80 crochet thread, and tried a few stitches and I've gotta tell you the old lady will have no competition from me. About a number 20 is my limit.
If you click on the picture you might be able to get a closer look at the work in the cloth.
Must go now. I hope you will have a happy weekend. Bye for now until next time.


  1. Sorry you can't knit or crochet at the moment, but aren't those books a treasure indeed :))
    How would the squares be joined ??
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful mags.. :))

  2. Incredible! She'll have no competition from me either!

  3. The is so amazing!! I cannot imagine doing anything so intricate as this! Thanks for sharing, I love old books!! hugs, K

  4. Wow..you are so right..her eyesight must have been better than mine..

  5. I'm really enjoying my old books, Pat. I'm guessing those medalions were sewn together.

    Minding my own - a daunting prospect I think.

    Kerrie even when I doubled the thread it was still very fine to work with.

    Vikki, I'll bet she wouldn't have had a magnifying glass either.

  6. There is absolutely no way I could work with thread that thin. The baby 4ply is causing me enough trouble.
    But oh that is one special project. Gorgeous

  7. Cheers Maria, The baby 4ply is for a special project too. I'm sure I'd rather be doing that one.

  8. What fun pictures you've shared while letting your thumbs have a little rest. I'm tempted to say that we could never do work like that because we don't have the time they had, but I know that's not the case. They just didn't have the distractions we have. Hope those thumbs of yours start feeling better soon:)

  9. Thank you Caroline. I am really enjoying my books. At the risk of boring everyone I will share some more pictures soon.