06 November 2013

Stitches, and book production, from the 1930s

Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches has been mentioned before (here, in relation to cross stitch). The book is still in print (latest edition 1998), but much altered.  I love my 1934 edition, with the quirky little pictures - here are some pages with those caricatures, along with some stitches you might want to try sometime (click on image to enlarge) -
Parisian stitch, Pearl stitch tricky!], Pekinese stitch, Petal stitch
Pekinese stitching
Square ground stitch, Star filling, Star stitch, and some star and stem gazing
The stitch diagrams are clear - drawn in a pre-digital time, of course. They number 305, and were first stitched by Miss Dorothy Goslett, then drawn by Miss Margaret Agutter, who also did the charming vignettes - I haven't counted them, but there are certainly over 100. Laying out the page around them may have stretched some compositor's ingenuity (or patience) in the typesetting. The canvas stitches, each with its background of double threads, were drawn by Miss Kay Kohler, who may have got very tired of drawing and re-drawing that grid for each one, back in the days when each illustration had to be presented to the printer in a pristine format - no quick digital printouts incorporating the latest revision!

The book was "Made and Printed in Great Britain by The Camelot Press, London and Southampton" - The Camelot Press (not to be confused with the Camelot Press in Chicago, started by typographer Frederic Goudy in the 1894) was still going in 1974, a quick search shows. The book was published, though, by Hodder & Stoughton - who started the "Teach Yourself..." series, which included this -

1 comment:

Felicity said...

I have this book (both the original and updated editions) and love it! I consult it regularly and had it out just yesterday looking up rococo stitch. Very clear explanations and diagrams. I have Mary Thomas' Book of Knitting Patterns too, which is also excellent.