Melancholy Drawer of Unfinished Masterpieces

What a title for a blog post! No, I am not talking about my own work here. (I keep my unfinished work out in the open, all the better to flog myself with.) But Olivia Pass uses that line in her opening paragraphs of Dorset Feather Stitchery, in the context of  "Dorset stitchery is so pleasant and quick to do it will never end up in the melancholy drawer of unfinished masterpieces."
I found this sweet little book several years ago and never read it. Hah!! There's a clue! I suspect Ms. Pass would have some sage advice for me about dealing with my bookshelves full of unread but promising books. Anyway, I took it down from the shelf last night for some mysterious reason and the book fell open on that page. Such a charming line could not be wasted, so I decided to do a little book review in advance of the Glorious Final Stitches of the latest Codex Canadensis piece (due later this week).

The book was in print through several editions, and was promoted through the Women's Institutes, so it's not too hard to find through used booksellers. I like AbeBooks myself.
Dorset feather stitchery uses very simple stitches that are then whipped to create a more textured, intricate look.
The piece of waxed paper was used to trace the design by the book's previous owner, and she thoughtfully left it between the pages.
 The book has clearly drawn patterns for projects ranging from aprons to hats to sewing kits (hussifs).

The Dorset button instructions bring back fond memories of the workshop I took with Jean Betts.

It looks like my copy of the book was well used, as these scraps of paper interleaved within the pages show.
I love her acknowledgements, especially "together we made things and sent them around the world as gifts". I think she would have been a blogger - if only she had been born fifty years later!

Projects by Jane  reviewed the book last year. Do check out the link, she has some great pictures. She used her sampler to make a colourful doll quilt.

I am tempted to try a small project or two myself. Maybe as a little holiday when I'm done the Codex (so close my heart is beating faster just thinking about it.

Well, back to the hoop. See you soon!


  1. OOO, those first two pages!!!!!!!! Thrilling! Sometimes i (we?)get so locked into using only a few and with few variations, that it's nice to be jogged like that. Shall be testing and using those! Thanks for sharing, Sweetie!

  2. Ah, so good to know that you too have several (but promising) unread books. I am feeling less guilty now!

  3. I love where she says it's for "those who love using their hands but are not very good needlewomen"! Hah! Looks good to me. ;)

  4. Anonymous10:06 AM

    ah, how times have changed. My Mom handstitched aprons (does anyone wear one now?) and pillowcases and my petticoats. sweet memories. I love books with scraps of other peoples lives slipped in between the pages.


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