Thursday, May 23, 2013

with BOLD Needle & Thread - review by Dawn Forbes

with BOLD Needle & Thread
by Rosemary McLeod
RRP $55.00

Thank you Rosemary for such a wonderful book – informative, well-researched, nostalgic and handsome. 

It is a social history of a familiar way of life for many New Zealand women during 1920 – 1950 which included the austere war years, the subsequent difficulties of obtaining clothing and fabrics and the need for careful family spending.

The reproduction of sections of the magazines that were “ordered” weekly or monthly at the local bookshop will remind so many of where our patterns and ideas came from and the projects will be familiar.
Rosemary says the book is an invitation to stitch and has converted the project instructions into “now”  for those wanting to make them  including options and even a danger warning for each one; You need patience for assembling the flowers (Hessian cosy from 1930s – 1940s) and my favourite: None. This is a benign project (Floral tea cosy from Woman and Home, December 1950).

But it is not just all about needlework.  It is full of all sorts of nostalgia. There is a time-line with significant happenings, firsts and births; in 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first solo air crossing of the Atlantic; in 1938 teflon, ballpoint pens, shock treatment and instant coffee were introduced to the world; in 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific opened on Broadway; in 1952 Birdseye sold the first frozen peas; in 1954 Henri Matisse died; and in 1950 you could buy a copy of My Home for 10d, up from 6d in 1933.

There are old hints and tips:  from the Australian Needlework 16 January 1933 comes
“To keep your cuffs from soiling when working for a few moments in the kitchen, place elastic bands above the elbow and pull up the sleeves.  In this way they are not crushed by rubbing, and yet are out of the way”.  A reader of Wife and Home in February 1944 suggested: “if you are ironing and a visitor calls, switch off the electric current and cover the iron with a tea cosy.  It will still be beautifully hot when you wish to resume work.”

Enjoy the old painted covers of the magazines -  the advertisements, the clippings,  the captions and Rosemary’s own collections of memorabilia and supplies.
Start a stash and if you can’t sew already turn to page 468 and teach yourself how from the easy to follow diagrams.  And check out Cicero, the helper, on page 494.
You will love this big book.

Dawn Forbes is an Auckland reader – and needle-woman.

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