70's sensibility

Cerise and I had a great time hanging out Saturday afternoon. Among our adventures was a pleasant hour camped out in front of the crafts section at Twice Sold Tales on Broadway. I picked up two gloriously kitschy 1970’s needlecraft books, as well as an action-packed compendium of Martha Stewart’s Good Things (don’t even mess with me about the Martha – the ideas are good and the price was right). Best of all, since most of my purchases were covered by my credit for getting rid of some books last month, I’m guilt-free!

I thought you might enjoy a couple images. Here’s a selection of groovy crewel embroidery projects from Creative Needlework by Solweig Hedin & Jo Springer. Note the white plastic glasses with pink lenses peeking out of the embroidered eyeglass case.

crewel embroidered tray, napkins, glasses case, and eyeglass case

And from Embroidery Step-by-Step I give you this hideous brown-on-brown skirt with a fascinating border design billed as “a bold tree motif.” Sure looks like wacky mushrooms to me. I think it (the embroidery design, not the skirt) could actually be pretty with different color choices.

tree (a.k.a. mushroom) skirt

One thing I love about older books like these is that they tend to assume a lot of recycled crafting just because it’s sensible and frugal. For example, the little pincushion is stuffed with cut-up old nylon stockings. In contrast, most crafting books today are very specific about everything you should use, right down to the brand name and color. The idea is to make it easy for newbies, but it encourages spending rather than thinking, reproduction rather than creation.

The older sensibility is more attuned with how I like to view crafting. I want it to be normalized and incorporated into every day life as something that can help me minimize consumption and enjoy what I have, rather than being an indulgence that just leads to more and more purchases to support a crafting habit. Sure, I’ve bought expensive yarn and fabric here and there, but it’s so much more satisfying when I can invent something new out of materials I already have around.

2 thoughts on “70's sensibility

  1. I’m with you on your crafting views – I guess that’s why knitting and sewing stuck with me – as opposed to rubber stamping, scrapbooking, etc. I just can’t justify those purchases (although I do seem to justify the yarn just fine…) Growing up we reused everything we could (farmer’s mentality). One thing we reused were old nylons to separate our bulk onions. We would shove onions down the legs and use fabric scraps to make ties between each onion to separate them. Then we would hang them down in the basement and they would stay good all winter. If one would start to turn it wouldn’t affect the whole batch. When my friends saw all these hanging onions in the nylons they thought my family was wack! Not crafty, but useful! Here’s a link to my latest somewhat recycled project: http://knittlesticks.blogspot.com/2007/03/rainy-day-project.html#links

    I love those mushrooms too!

  2. Yay! you posted the mushrooms!

    I’m so glad you bought those two books – I too thought they were divine, and bought my own, if you recall. Honestly, if the U.S. get all post-nuclear or whatever, those of us that can muck around in the textile arts (and those of us with yarn/embroidery floss/fabric stashes) will be sitting pretty. I’d rather forgo the bombs and do it for fun, though…


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