A couple of weeks ago my mom gave me two vintage issues of Needlecraft Magazine dated July 1925 and September 1926. She found them in an antique shop in Michigan.
The magazine covers a wide variety of topics. Not only does it discuss embroidery, but it also features articles and patterns for knitting, crochet, lace-making, and other needlearts. Plus, the magazine includes recipes and other “home economics” topics.
I had never heard of this publication before. The closest equivalent today might be something like PieceWork.
Since receiving the issues, however, I have been trying to find out more about the publication. The librarian in me went into research mode.
This is what I have found so far.
First, the magazine was published in Augusta, Maine at a time when Augusta was a fairly popular publishing center. In fact, a local history site created at the University of Maine states that from 1869-1942 “Augusta was known as the mail-order magazine publishing capital of the country.” And, most of these publications were aimed at women. Other titles published during this period in Augusta included American Woman, Hearth and Home, and Practical Housekeeper.
A number of libraries and museums in the U.S. have at least some issues in their archives or special collections. The WorldCat library catalog lists many of the libraries that own some issues of Needlecraft.
From what I can tell, it looks like the magazine began publication around 1909-1910 and ceased publication in 1935.
Issues seems to pop up on ebay every now and then, but you can also download a couple of full issues of Needlecraft Magazine for free at the Antique Pattern Library.
The Antique Pattern Library also has a couple dozen individual patterns from the magazine which also can be downloaded as PDFs at the link above.
Most of the designs are advanced, intricate work. I did not see anything I would be willing to attempt at my current skill level, although there is a hardanger pattern from the January 1916 issue that would be ambitious, but maybe doable.
Here is an example embroidery article from one of the issues I have:
This is typical of the type and layout of the pages. Lots of dense, tiny text, and the articles are definitely written for an audience of needleworkers who know what they are doing. This is not for beginners.
Finally, you can see more covers from the magazine at MagazineArt.org.
Thank you, Mom, for this great find!
What a wonderful treasure!! I am in Michigan and would be interested to know which antique shop she found them in.
I forgot to ask my mom which antique store it was. I know they were in SW Michigan in the Sawyer & Baroda, MI areas. But, if I find out exactly, I’ll let you know!
Thanks. I am in the SE area. But thought if I was close I would check out the shop. Sounds like it is on the other side of the state from me. What a great find.
Thanks, that was great fun to look at. Interesting research you did.