Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Little Girl's Fancy Work

Sorting out my studio space, I 've been able to unpack lots of my old books and thought it would be fun to share this one with you. 

I love old needlework books, and this is one of my treasured possessions.  It was given to me when I was about 6 by a very kind neighbour,  when she found out about my love of embroidery and making things. The 'Little Girl's Fancy Work', edited by Flora Klickmann.

It's inscribed to Dorothy Williams, Christmas 1924, almost 80 years ago.

How times have changed!  Have a look at this note at the beginning of the book....

Wonderful stuff! It might be old fashioned, but  I can't help thinking that we'd all be a bit better off if these skills were valued as much today.

The illustrations are just lovely - and look at these fabulous advertisements for threads on the endpapers. I remember Peri-Lusta from when I was small, but sadly all my supplies are long used. 

The detail and projects are really charming and so well written, they cover cross stitch on hardanger fabric, drawn thread work, freestyle embroidery,  crochet and  knitting - everything a little girl could possibly want to learn to become a well rounded young lady!

 (Underneath the sampler it says 'Whenever you learn a new fancy stitch, work a little piece on a sampler in coloured thread, then you will not forget it!)

The book helped me to make my first embroidered needle case! If anyone would like to  see  one of the projects, let me know and I will post some more pictures.


  1. Oh,I love old stitching books like this - what a beautiful thing to own and treasure.

  2. Sure, post some projects - esp your needlecase!

    I love that it says that it's a 'natural, healthy desire to beautify ... surroundings'. I often worry about those who seem to feel that they should live in sparse conditions and consider others to put too much emphasis on things like clothes etc. OK, some do, but most don't.

    We were designed by Someone who loves beauty in his own image, so it is indeed normal and healthy.=)

  3. I love old books of any kind but especially needlework and art books. And of course, we'd love to see your projects, especially your needlecase.

  4. Hi Jules,
    As you know, I love old books and your needlework book is a real treasure with wonderful illustrations!
    I agree with you and think life would be a little bit better if we went back to some of the old ways, like learning needlework skills again in schools.

    The sampler pages in the book reminds me of when I was at junior school, when we used to do sawing classes. I did little embroidery pieces with different stitches... Happy memories!

    Have a great creative week,
    Jo. xxx

  5. What a truly gorgeous book. Yes they really did know how to encourage and inspire. I agree, it seems a profound shame that such skills, accomplishments and curiosity is not nurtured as much now as it was then.
    I have a wonderful 'sewing crafts' book belonging to my Nanna - she gave it to me just before she died when I was only 10 years old. Unlike your little 'gem' it is written for women and encompasses a wide range of skills: from netting, different 'types' of embroidery and stitchery, tatting, crochet, tassel-making etc. The pictures are divine... so detailed and intricate... quite mind-blowing really! But I also love the adverts on the 'end plates' too! Sigh.... how I pine for that golden age when creativity and craftmanship was cultivated and esteemed.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful treasure.
    Hugs xxxx

  6. What a wonderful little book. When I was in junior high school we all (girls and boys) had to take piano, art, wood shop, metal shop, cooking, and sewing. Unfortunately, budget cuts have long done away with that...

  7. What a fantastic book Jules. Such a treasure. Your blog looks wonderful my friend.

  8. Hey! I can finally get comments posted!
    I love old books too. I have an early Australian 'home maker' guide. Everything handmade was treasured.


If you have time please leave me a comment. I love to hear what you think.x