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Mini-review - Findings: The Material Culture of Needlework and Sewing

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  • gianottadallafiora
    This book, published by Yale University Press in 2006 and written by Mary C. Beaudry, examines archaeological evidence of sewing implements (straight pins,
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 8, 2009
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      This book, published by Yale University Press in 2006 and written by Mary C. Beaudry, examines archaeological evidence of sewing implements (straight pins, needles, needlecases, scissors, etc.), and has a lot of information about things in our period of interest such as the manufacture of straight pins in medieval and Elizabethan England and medieval France. Apparently Henry VIII had made a decree about how straight pins should be manufactured. And straight pins were made the same handmade way from the middle of the 16th century right up until 1830. Who knew?

      Anyway, I recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of needlework and history of how the implements used were manufactured and used, from pre-history to the 19th century.

      YIS,
      Adelisa di Salerno
    • Chris Laning
      ... A note of caution, however -- I ve seen at least one review by a medievalist that was less than enthusiastic. It was enough to make me cross this book off
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 8, 2009
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        On Dec 8, 2009, at 8:27 AM, gianottadallafiora wrote:

        > This book, published by Yale University Press in 2006 and written by
        > Mary C. Beaudry, examines archaeological evidence of sewing
        > implements (straight pins, needles, needlecases, scissors, etc.),
        > and has a lot of information about things in our period of interest
        > such as the manufacture of straight pins in medieval and Elizabethan
        > England and medieval France. Apparently Henry VIII had made a decree
        > about how straight pins should be manufactured. And straight pins
        > were made the same handmade way from the middle of the 16th century
        > right up until 1830. Who knew?
        >
        > Anyway, I recommend this book for anyone interested in the history
        > of needlework and history of how the implements used were
        > manufactured and used, from pre-history to the 19th century.


        A note of caution, however -- I've seen at least one review by a
        medievalist that was less than enthusiastic. It was enough to make me
        cross this book off my want list -- I'd be interested to hear whether
        others who have seen the book agree with this review:
        http://togs-from-bogs.blogspot.com/2009/10/book-talk-mary-c-beaudry-findings.html
        ____________________________________________________________

        O (Dame) Christian de Holacombe, OL - Shire of Windy Meads
        + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
        http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
        ____________________________________________________________
      • Quokkaqueen
        ... As mentioned in Katrin s Togs from Bogs review, and Adelisa pointed out too, it depends what time period you are interested in. From what I remember
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 9, 2009
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          > I'd be interested to hear whether
          > others who have seen the book agree with this review:
          >

          As mentioned in Katrin's Togs from Bogs review, and Adelisa pointed out too, it depends what time period you are interested in.

          From what I remember reading, it was very strongly focused on early modern and modern evidence, and is really disappointing if you're interested in time periods before 1500 or so. And organised in a chronological sequence instead of a more precise item type.

          I did like the chapter on thimbles, (mostly because it mentions Viking-age stuff, which is where my interest lies) although it would have been much better to have illustrations or even line drawings showing the differences in shapes and design that she mentions in the text.

          As mentioned by Katrin, the way items are grouped together is far too broad. Big, decorative cloak pins mixed in with petite 'dress' pins, (or at least, that's what seems to be happening. See for example page 12 in the preview below. She jumps from Elizabethan 'skewers' to 14-15th century pins, and I don't think it's clear she is probably referring to finer, dress pins there.)

          I suspect it's a problem of viewpoint-- we might see the difference between a veil pin and a cloak pin because we wear them, and have to dress ourselves with these items. If they're just all 'pins' then the chronological narrative matters more than the fact they are pins for different uses.

          If people want to make up their own minds, GoogleBooks has a preview version that should give you a rough idea: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=rvT_aYLCKfIC

          It is a handy book if it's in a nearby library and you want to flick through it, but I wouldn't spend the money on it for myself.

          ~Asfridhr
          (who is an early period/Viking age sort of person, so will probably have a different view to people with later-period interests.)
        • Catherine Olanich Raymond
          ... [snip] ... That s my impression too, based on what Katrin said in her review. (from yet other early period/VIking Age sort of person). :-) -- Cathy
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 9, 2009
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            On Wednesday 09 December 2009 6:08:22 pm Quokkaqueen wrote:
            > > I'd be interested to hear whether
            > > others who have seen the book agree with this review:

            [snip]

            > It is a handy book if it's in a nearby library and you want to flick
            > through it, but I wouldn't spend the money on it for myself.

            That's my impression too, based on what Katrin said in her review.

            (from yet other early period/VIking Age sort of person). :-)

            --

            Cathy Raymond <cathy@...>

            "No one can make as disastrous a bad choice as a smart person, because they
            sell it to themselves really well."--Tobias Buckell




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