Busy time of year for Santa’s Helpers

For the last month, the Periodicals Department has been full of students working hard on final projects.  We’ve had students working on fashion illustration, packaging design, interiors, papers, and who knows what else.  But now that the dust has settled, most have gone home, and it’s time for the last minute gift panic.  For those of you (us) who celebrate either Christmas, or Kwanza or Channukah, this is the time of year for running around with lists and parcels, and wrapping paper and shopping.

For those of us with more taste than money, the holidays mean several consecutive months of busily making presents for our loved ones.

This year, I was inspired by the Therese de Dillmont’sEncyclopedia of Needlework to make a handkerchief for my Dad.  (TT 750 .D572 copies both on 5 Main and in Art Ref) He’s the only person I know who still uses cloth ones, but it makes that a nice gift possibility.

I’m going to pull 2 or 3 threads about a half inch in from the edge.  Then as I hem it, I’ll use one of the drawn-thread hems from this page:

Two pages a facsimile edition of de Dillmont’s “Encyclopedia of Needlework”, originally published in English in 1886

I’ll probably use blue DMC floss, a couple strands, for the hemming threads.  Blue is his favorite color, and DMC is readily available and easy to use.  Plus, since it’s boil-fast, it can hold up to anything my Dad can dish out.  DMC has been around since the 1880s, because Mme. de Dillmont refers to it as well.

And, because I’m easily side-tracked, I found this awesome book that has just some of the needlework projects from Godey’s Lady’s BookA Treasury of Needlework Projects from Godey’s Lady’s Book edited and compiled by Arlene Zeger Wiczyk.  (Art Ref TT 753 .W53).  Not a lot of projects there are useful for my purposes, but some have contemporary carry-over.  Some.

Christmas gift project from Godey’s Lady’s Book
The “how-to” for the above picture

I love “flipping” through Godey’s Lady’s Book.  We have it in the Periodicals & Electronic Resources Services on microfilm.  The microfilm format is a bit odd, but it’s so much fun to see nineteenth-century ads and house plans and to read the kinds of projects that were “normal” to the editors at that time.  Which is probably pretty similar to what’s “normal” to Martha Stewart, but one hundred years or so earlier.  (Speaking of which, the FIT PERS also has Martha Stewart Living.  As well as Marie Claire 100 Idees, the French craftacular magazine.)





The last few years have seen an increase in interest in making things with one’s own hands.  Since FIT is essentially all about making things, we’ve added a lot of relevant new magazine titles and books to our holdings.  Besides 100 Idees (it’s French), we also now subscribe to a more, er, unisex?  title called Make.



This title is a bit more Home-Depot oriented and rather less Michael’s or Joanne Fabrics.  Which is good and we want to encourage well-roundedness.  But the Power Ranger-sort of beast on the front maybe makes this point a bit more strongly than necessary?  Fortunately, I know a lot of women who like Power Rangers and Transformers and can frequently be found in Home Depots.   We can’t accuse anyone of sexism because the point is that we should all have choices, right?  So here, learn how to setup traps and recycle your gray water right here…


Myself, I’m better with needle crafts than power tools, however.  And am making rather more traditional Christmas presents than one might find in Make.   For my Mom,  (working the Victorian theme here), I began a pair of socks sometime last year.  They’re from this book,Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.  We just got this book here in the library.  It’s on the 5th floor: Main Stacks TT825 .J647 2009.  I’ve begun accumulating hand dyed sock yarn because it’s so beautifully colored.

Here is my stash:

If all Beth’s yarn were laid out on the sofa, it would still all be green, blue or purple!

And here’s the sock I’m making for Mom.  I’m agonizing over the instructions for turning the heel because I’ve never done it, but I WILL FIGURE IT OUT! Thank you to Wendy Johnson for her awesome patterns and her wonderful, helpful blog:


“Riding on the Metro” socks from Wendy Johnson’s “Socks from the Toe Up”

Both socks will get done for Christmas, because I’m on vacation as of Friday (tomorrow, actually).  I had no idea that socks were so, er sort-of easy.




Here is the sock I’m working on for my Mom.  The yarn is a beautiful variegated blues-to-greens yarn.  And I don’t want to completely finish it off before I actually *see* my Mom, because I need her foot to double-check the sizing.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

My work this time. The pattern isn’t coming out nearly as well as the sample. It was ever thus.





One of the reasons knitting has always scared me is that a sweater seems like an AWFULLY Large project.  But socks, well, one could play with a new lace or cable pattern and get it done before one was thoroughly bored with the whole project.  Or so I am hoping.




Then why, I hear you ask, are you trying to make a SWEATER for your housemate?  I’m glad you asked :)  Well, you see, I have a big drafty old house, and my housemate seems disinclined to buy herself a warm sweater.  And she just made herself a whole new work wardrobe in grays and blacks and pinks.  That completely sounds like someone who needs a funky new sweater in burgundy shades, doesn’t it?

So here is the sweater I’m attempting:


Note that Ravelry is one of the best-designed websites I’ve come across and seems to do exactly every list sort of thing I ever thought of.  You can find it here:


The yarn I’ve chosen is 80% merino, 20% silk from Spirit Trail Fiberworks:


I’m still plugging away at it, even though I started in October, right after the Sheep & Wool Festival.  But I might have to get her another present to go with this one, and a very nice promissory note.  Hmm.  I foresee a lot of knitting in my next week…


The most recent issue of Interweave Knits

There are a lot of cool places to get patterns out there.  I’ve been surprised to find knitting patterns in some of our regular staple magazines, like Vogue Knitting and even Elle France.  But we have just subscribed to another gem, Interweave Knits. My friends have recommended this one for years, so it’s an exciting acquisition here in the Periodicals & Electronic Resources Services area!  In fact, the last few issues will be my Christmas holiday reading, so I can plan summer presents.  Because I better get started soon.

So to all of you from all of us at PERS, here at the Library at FIT, we wish you the happiest of holidays, whatever you do, and whichever you celebrate!  Have a great break!










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