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.
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.
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.