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Old-Time Tools & Toys of Needlework [Kindle Edition]

Gertrude Whiting
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.57
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Book Description

Identifies and describes the function and development of nearly all the paraphernalia, accoutrements, appliances, accessories associated with all yarn and thread handicrafts. More than 200 illustrations of hoops, frames, pins, pincushions, punches, bobbins, bodkins, shuttles, spinning wheels, sewing machines, and more from a wide array of cultures. Index.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 23711 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (5 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A73IN54
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,486,315 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fills in a Few Gaps 4 Mar. 2012
By heretic666 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Being a reprint of a book published nearly a century ago will always be the main weakness here, but what was there to compare it with on the subject?
The Lady Bracknell Guide to Sewing Accoutrements might have been a more accurate title due to the arch prose. The book promises more than it delivers. On the blurb on the back was a description of a freench pair of scissors that had more uses than a swisss army knife but the object was not inside anywhere.
Quality sewing and embroidery related objects are some of the few collectables and antiques that seem to have seen a steady growth in price without the highs and lows associated with other antiques. That alone makes any book on the subject useful within certain limits. Only three dozen thimbles and a similar number of lace bobbins would be almost impossible to get published in these times. No colour and all the plates are indifferent photos printed just as badly as the original archaic volume.
This book can stand on its own merits as an outdated beginners guide to the subject.
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By Martha
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm glad I bought it and the sheer amount of content justifies the price. Like another reviewer, I found the blurry black and white photos frustrating. For me, some chapters seemed superficial but others were bursting with information which I had to stop and absorb. I have really enjoyed the little stories about sewing matters and it sparked useful ideas about equipment and projects.
However, it's not a comprehensive book about sewing tools over the centuries and sometimes feels like the author is drifting into her travel memoirs. The language is heavy flowery prose which may not be to everyone's taste and you have to be prepared for her naïve use of expressions like "the yellow people" and "Red Indians".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a strong work 22 Aug. 2000
By Jill McAlester - Published on
Gertrude Whiting's work, originally published in the early 1920's, isn't what I would call a great work of historical documentation. While there are many wonderful pictures of antique needlework tools, there are rarely any specific dates or time periods (other than "ancient" or "old") assigned to many of them. One item is actually mis-identified...she includes a photo of a lucet (a two-pronged tool used to weave stout cords from yarn), and the caption describes it as a thread winder!
Mrs. Whiting's writing style is very similar to that of other books I have read from that time period. Her prose is flowery, and it reflects a very imerialistic mindset. She describes her adventures in the Far East with a very patronizing attitude. Her descriptions of Eastern needlework methods are adequate, but she sometimes does not differentiate between modern and historical techniques.
If you're really in to researching antique needlework tools, get this book for the pictures, but don't rely too heavily on the text for information!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like this a little better than the other reviewer 5 Feb. 2015
By Jane in Milwaukee - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just to have 338 illustrations in a 1928 book is pretty amazing. When I first picked up this book, I didn't find it very accessible. But upon further reading, I see that this woman's passion for all things needlework gadget-wise is infectious. I googled Gertrude Whiting and looked for more info regarding the statement that she was an Honorary Fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fellow of the Institute Professional Neuchatelois de Dentelles: prestigious museum associations in two countries! I don't know if this link will "stick" here but when I clicked on "Gertrude Whiting | Sampler | European | The Metropolitan ..." (, I found a gorgeous article of bobbin lace with 116 panels of different laces. She made this between 1912-1917 and it was donated to the Museum upon her death in 1951. Miss Whiting was the Founder and First President, 1916-1923, of the Needle and Bobbin Club and Bulletin.

There is a pretty bobbin pictured on page 207 of this book. It's No. 3 and just labeled "English (Buckinghamshire), walnut" but that's about the handle. This is the famous Johnstone "spangle bobbin" that Miss Whiting hunted down for study and donation to the Museum. A .pdf file displays the wildly colorful spangle in which the article's author carefully identifies 14 different types of glass and semi-precious stone beads.

I appreciate the intricate details which bespeak Miss Whiting's adoration of all her collection. Rather than marry and have a family as would have been presumed for her a century ago, she devoted her energy to artistic endeavors all culminating in this book. I love all the quotes, poems, contemporary paintings and the writings on the various tools pictured. From page 210, one bobbin says:

"My mind is fixt
I cannot rainge,
I love my choice
Too well to change."

How amusing! I don't care that she was unable to drill down to the exact place and date of origin all the time. With the sheer number of items included, she did an amazing job of groundbreaking research.

This book would be immeasurably more enjoyable if all--or at least some--of the illustrations were in color and a little more sharp in detail. But we'd have to travel to the Met to see them in such detail.

Give credit to the ubiquitous Dover Publications for providing new editions of this great book.
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