I was really excited when I came across this book a couple of days ago. It has such beautiful patterns in it.
"The Young Ladies' Journal Complete guide to the work-table : containing instructions in Berlin work, crochet, drawn-thread work, embroidery, knitting, knotting or macrame, lace, netting, poonah painting, & tatting, with numerous illustrations and coloured designs"
Like many people I know, I love doing crafts. My Mom would go south for the winter, learn new crafts, then show us when she came home in the summer. I also like woodwork. One year when my daughter was in grade 6 they were having a craft day at school. Parents were to go to the class and teach a craft. My daughter kindly volunteered me to teach woodburning. What?? She had a set she got for Christmas one year, but I had never done it before. Now I had to learn... fast! I remembered my brother had a woodburning set and he did the projects that came with it, but I didn't really like those. So I got some easy pictures from colouring books and used those and carbon paper to make designs on the wood for the kids. They had to bring in any size smooth pieces of wood. I then used food colouring (and some paints) to add colour to the projects. The kids loved them, and those that didn't sign up for my class wished they had.
I also enjoy doing needlework - embroidery, crewel etc as well as macramé, knitting and crochet. I used my great aunt's knitting pattern book to make mittens every winter for my girls when they were small. I liked that pattern because they were tight knit and went right up to their elbows.
These are placemats I made sometime in the late 1980's (one of Mom's projects from the south) with a mesh material and natural cord, and I have lately been trying to find the materials to make more. There are some nice patterns in the book for doing this craft.
When we lived in an upper duplex our downstairs Greek neighbor was never without some kind of needlework in her hands. My house was full of doilies by the time we moved from there. "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" is a saying every ancestor as a child heard from their parents. When stuck indoors most girls and women practiced their craft.
I remember my mother-in-law had a few coverlets that were made by her mother and grandmother. They were quite colourfully made of woven rags and called Catalogne pour lit. These heavy coverlets kept a person quite warm on a cold winter night in Quebec.
What kinds of crafts would your ancestors have done? Are there any surviving family heirlooms?
There are several issues of The Complete Guide to the Work Table.