ArtLiterally Inspired!

Headshot Today’s newsletter is a guest editorial from Jeane Hutchins, editor of PieceWork. If you’ve ever found your work being subtly (or not so subtly) influenced by the magical worlds in your current read, you’ll enjoy hearing about Jeane’s highlights from putting together the literature-inspired issue of PieceWork

As a fan of Jane Austen, I’m very interested in learning more about the project she mentions from Jane Austen’s Sewing Box by Jennifer Forest!



PW-cover-SepOct10 I read a lot—for work, of course, but also for pleasure. Reading is my stress reliever, my hobby, my joy. There’s at least one book in every room in my house as well as others in the car and in my briefcase (I never know when I may be trapped somewhere!). One of my fondest childhood memories is of the day my grandmother took me to the public library to get my very own library card. I’ve had a library card ever since.

With that history, I just knew that I was going to enjoy putting together PieceWork’s September/October 2010 issue, our first issue dedicated to needlework in literature. And I did! Here are some highlights:

  Linen with needlework typical of that done by the characters in Colleen McCullough’s The Ladies of Missalonghi

• Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple sat in a corner knitting so she could eavesdrop and no one would know. Miss Marple’s spirit lives on in many of today’s knitting mysteries.

• If you know a child (from toddler to teen), check out Julia Baratta’s “Needlework in Children’s Literature” annotated list. Who would ever guess that the hero of Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball would be a knitter! The books span many time periods and cultures, and each is a delight.

firebird scarf  
The Firebird Feather Scarf, a tribute to the centuries-old Russian fairy tale about the magnificent Firebird.  

• Discover the unique technique of netting in an excerpt from Jennifer Forest’s delightful book, Jane Austen’s Sewing Box: Craft Projects & Stories from Jane Austen’s Novels.

• Knitting has a double meaning in the title of Elizabeth Cobbe’s article, “Knitting Gloves in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa,” referring not only to the role that this activity plays in the lives of the characters in a play but also to the way in which it is accomplished, performance after performance, onstage.

• Plus 10-literary inspired projects to net, knit, crochet and stitch!

  child bookmarks
  Bookmarks to knit, cross-stitch, and crochet by Margaret Sies and Julia Baratta.

In addition to the literary works containing needlework references that we included in this issue, here are some of my other favorites: A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (especially lyrical are the passages about a silk rebozo), William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, and Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. Do you know of others? I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these highlights from one of my all-time favorite issues of PieceWork. Click here for a free copy of this issue to see for yourself!


Jeane Hutchins Signature

All Photographs by Joe Coca




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