Tuesday, 22 July 2014

De Handwerken Op Het Eiland Marken (Marken Embroidery) * £15 €22 $45 Shipping Included

This softback book of 1960 is in Dutch. It has 76 pages and is in good used condition.
This is a comprehensive history of the distinctive needlework on what was once the Isle of Marken situated in the once undefended Ijsselmeer open to the rages of the North Sea. Now Marken is connected via a causeway to the mainland, just a bus ride away from central Amsterdam, and there is a barrage across the Ijsselmeer to prevent devastation by floods and storms.
This very traditional fishing community had its own customs and ways of life. Marker men never wore coats - even in the depth of winter - so anyone not from Marken was called a Coat.
The women wore and continue to wear embroidered headbands - the patterns of which were passed down from mother to daughter. The headbands are usually covered by a fine linen cap as you can see in the picture above.
Frequently these bands incorporated the three Christian virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity. Because Marker houses were very small, the women could finish their housework quickly - especially with their husbands away at sea, fishing, so they had much time for embroidery and knitting.
Marken women also wear very decorative embroidered bodices - as young girls the bodices are worn with the fastenings down the back. There is a rite of passage when a young girl reaches a certain age, the bodice is turned round so that the fastenings are  in front.
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Boutis Fantaisie * £18 €27 $60 Shipping Included (New Zealand and Australia $65)

Having spent many winters in the South of France now, I am accustomed to seeing examples of fine boutis everywhere - and not just in museums. It is as integral to Provencal life as Bouillebaisse.
Maybe the examples I saw, covers for beds, quilted skirts, were always too large for me to ever consider I could make anything myself. Then I went to see the Tristan Quilt at the V&A - certainly not in my skills bracket! - but there was an introductory workshop, which I decided to attend to discover the how one would go about making such a piece in practice. With a little guidance I made a rather nice small pin-cushion - and then I realised I was hooked. I had the confidence to try larger projects.
And this super book was a stepping stone in that journey. It is replete with easy to make yet interesting pieces such as lamp-shades, napkin rings, tea-pot cosies and so on. The Book is in French, but the diagrams are clear.
Here you can see some of those small projects - lovely for elegant needle-case covers - très raffinées!
The technique is simply defining pattern areas using back stitch or running stitch and then the pattern areas or channels are puffed by drawing thick cotton thread through with a bodkin - the type of cotton you might knit into a dishcloth. It really is that simple!
Below you can see one of the clear pattern templates with arrows showing the direction of drawing the cotton through. This book is in mint condition. It is hardback and has 96 pages with 19 easy to achieve projects.
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Monday, 21 July 2014

European Textiles in the Keir Collection * £28 €42 $105 Including Shipping (Australia & New Zealand $115)

Originally priced at £75 this hardbacked, jacketed, slip-cased book of 312 pages is in mint condition.
This is a book for serious textile-lovers. Donald King was former Keeper of Textiles at the V&A Museum in London  and was an expert of the old school. His opinion on all matters relating to textiles was always widely sought.
The Keir Collection itself is one of the most widely ranging and comprehensive textile collections gathered together in any country.
There is a chapter relating to embroidered items, but not all items are embroidered and not all images are in colour. Some are in black and white.
These small pattern velvets remind me of the patterns for cross-stitch embroidery in Rosina Furst's embroidery book of 16th century Nuremberg and demonstrates the cross-over of influences as well as the democratization of design and decoration at that time.
The date range of the items in the collection is from the early days of textiles in 4000BCE up to 1800CE.
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SOLD Bygdemonster * £22 €33 $55 Including Shipping

Published in 1930 this extremely rare and very difficult to obtain Swedish softback pattern book in very good condition has 8 A4 pages of charted Dalarna patterns for Bridegrooms' shirts including 4 hearts and an alphabet. The shirts were traditionally embroidered by the bride or her mother. Few of these shirts survive as it was also the custom that a married man would be buried in his bridegroom's shirt...