Examining The History Of Ugliness Shows There Is No Such Thing (Article)

“There is no art in turning a goddess into a witch, a virgin into a whore, but the opposite operation, to give dignity to what has been scorned, to make the degraded desirable, that calls for art or for character.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


I have strong feelings about the concept of ugliness, appropriate because ugliness is a strong concept. I have a friend who once told me that, in his opinion, I was “All about the pretty” which is not quite right. Actually I am all about the beautiful which is  a much more powerful and challenging aesthetic. And ugliness is often beautiful. I encourage reading this impressive article.

…”Hag is not a nice word. Yet there comes a time in every woman’s life when nice is tedious, when nice is insipid, seeping into the soul like souring milk, warping the mind. Indeed, nice can, at times, be all that is offensive.”
~ Emma Restall Orr – Kissing the Hag.

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Finding Treasures

S0, as you Winnipegger’s may know, Wolsley’s Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe is closed (temporarily I am POSITIVE). I encourage action!

Anyway, I just read this wonderful post about finding fibre-love treasure in second-hand bookstores ad thought to share it with you.

Two of the best finds I ever made at the cafe were ‘Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850’ by Susan Burrows Swan (found last week!) and the ‘Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework’, by Rose Wilder Lane. (Yes, Laura’s daughter!) It still had it’s companion box of patterns too!

Have you made any amazing finds second-hand?

A good second-hand book store is a pearl beyond price.:-)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

I enjoy roaming the aisles of used book stores.  Over the years I have found some amazing HandweaversWorkbookbooks for very little money.  Recently I came across a 1956 edition of A Handweaver’s Workbook by Heather G. Thorpe (originally published 1936, reissued in 1974).  Not surprising given its age, the book is hardbound, and the pages are printed on heavy acid-free pages. It is also in perfect condition, nary a pencil mark! What a find!

Browsing through it, I was impressed by its thorough yet not overwhelming approach to introducing weaving.  I learned some interesting facts I’ve not seen newer weaving survey books or learned in a weaving class.

Did you know (I didn’t!) that …

PorteeCrossThere are different names for crosses on warps made withe a paddle dependent upon their position:  The first cross at the end of a warp is called a porrey cross; the second cross is called…

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A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.

Tea and crochet is a thrifty pastime, but good hooks, (and books!) are worth the money.

Today was one of the 10 or so perfect days of the year here in Winnipeg. It wasn’t too hot or cold, there were no mosquitoes to speak of, the sun was out and the sky was beautiful. In short, a perfect day to walk down to my local second-hand book store and coffee shop, the Neighbourhood Cafe, with my crochet.

I found and bought a wonderful book, “Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850” by Susan Burrows Swan.

“Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850

It showed many of the tools our foremothers used, and it started me thinking about the tools that I use everyday.

Most of them are virtually identical. Any weaver from 1650 could sit down at my loom and be up and weaving in seconds. My spinning wheel may have a bike wheel instead of a wooden spoked one but it hasn’t changed in it’s essentials at all. And although my hoop, needles, threads and scissors are really wonderful, my very best needlework might be as fine as the average 17th century six year old’s!

Crochet in it’s present form is a very new type of needlework, only from the mid-1800’s, but people have been using hooks to pull loops of string through loops a lot longer. Netting is most likely crochet’s direct forebear. It really came into its own during Ireland’s Great Famine and then in North America, but that is a story for another day. Originally hooks were all very small, and were made of silver, pewter, bone, and ivory, and wood. A vintage hook is a real treasure today, but for everyday use, I prefer mine.

Continue reading “A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.”

Antique Pattern Library Catalog

Hundreds of years of needlework and yarncraft patterns, all for free!


Here are some of the wonderful free vintage publications from the awe-inspiring Antique Pattern Library Catalog. I can’t recommend this site highly enough. Do yourself a favour; put your feet up, grab a cup of tea, and settle in for a good rummage through the patterns.

Antique Pattern Library Catalog

If, like me you are a huge fan of both string and history then this site is a treasure trove. It’s like a really old second-hand bookstore; you might have to do a bit of hunting around to find the gems but it’s totally worth it.

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