- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (30 Nov. 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486225178
- ISBN-13: 978-0486225173
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.2 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,420,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Old-Time Tools & Toys of Needlework Paperback – 30 Nov 1971
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Top Customer Reviews
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This book can stand on its own merits as an outdated beginners guide to the subject.
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".
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
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.
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!