HNW - Book find! And a question

Lynn Downward ldownward at
Wed Jan 17 15:43:58 PST 2001

Hi, Everyone,

I made a huge find on Friday and I had to crow about it.

I went into my neighborhood 2nd hand store and found three books I couldn't
leave there to the masses.  The first two were by the same author, Mary
Someone and published in 1930 and 1931.  One was the Art of Embroidery, I
think, and the second was the Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches.  Both
looked brand hardly used in spite of the age and yellowing of the pages. I
know I've seen the author's name on this list many times as being a darned
good resource.  I just wish I had brought her name and the titles of the
books with me today.

The third book, which I do have here at work, is "English Smocks with
directions for making them" by Alice Armes, Publishers: Dryad Press,
Leicester, copyright 1930, 4th Ed. 1961.  It came with many iron-on
transfers for the patterns and photographs of smocked shirts, one from the
first 1/2 of the 19th C and a couple from the V&A.  There are also
photographs of some of the patterns worked.  It gives a brief history,
talks about the patterns and gives tips for making the shirts up.  I didn't
realize that many different shires in England and Wales had different
patterns like Aryan knitting patterns, and that the woodsman had different
patterns from the shepherd down the road.  Ms. Armes roundly condemns the
use of transfers, but there they were in the pockets of the front and back

This is not a craft I ever was interested in before, so I don't know the
terminology.  I understand that the "tubes" are the pleats made by the
uniform gathered stitches, but what are the "reeds"?  "It is important that
in making up a smock the reeds should be kept true into the collar,
shoulder-straps and wrist-bands."

I can see myself getting involved in this beautiful type of needlework now,
when it looked too fussy for me before.  (After beading thousands of rice
pearls onto the forepart and sleeves of my Elizabethan court gown, smocking
can't be too fussy, right?)  Maybe not a full smock first off, maybe an
ornament or something with just a couple of the symbols/patterns to get me
into the swing of things.

Any suggestions on this term reeds?

Dreaming what I could do with two years of paid time off!
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