May 21, 2018
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What stitchers read in a 1911 newspaper

By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

Newspapers, including the one you are reading, have long understood how to appeal to those who enjoy creating things by hand. Newspapers in days of yore offered articles about fashion trends, were the portal through which to order patterns for making clothing, and published information for knitters, stitchers and crocheters. For example, the following information was published in the April 21, 1911, edition of the Bangor Daily News:

For Embroiders

One reason why embroidered articles often are not completed is that a woman gets a stamped piece and a lot of embroidery silk, takes them home and works a little bit. Then when she takes up the work again she has forgotten all about the design scheme or the color arrangement. She may make a trip back to the store for the purpose of inspecting the sample piece, only to find that it has been sold.

One very simple, inexpensive and practical way to overcome circumstances of this kind is for her, as soon as she buys a stamped article and the silk, to take crayons of corresponding colors and mark the different portions of the stamped pattern to correspond with the finished piece. Then there is no danger of forgetting the colors of the design.

To amuse the little ones

On a wet afternoon great fun may be had by making toys from potatoes. All you need are a few raw, peeled potatoes and a bone or fruit knife to carve them with (a steel knife causes them to stain your hands). You can make all kinds of funny animals and things, for it is very easy to cut the potatoes to the right shape. For instance, a little pig is made by cutting the body and head from the potato, four matches make the legs and and a piece of string the tail. The eyes may be marked with a pencil.

Learn to use tools, girls

A knowledge of easy carpentry is a great asset to the tidy girl who objects to see[ing] her room littered. A light wooden frame covered with paper to match her walls will hold three or four hatboxes and is very simple to construct. It is made of strips of wood about 1¼ inches thick. A solid board painted with white enamel paint fills in the top and forms a useful resting place for books. The open side is draped with a light curtain of art muslin.

Screen made with wildflowers

A dainty screen which adorns the home of Mr. Andrew Carnegie in New York City is of two panes of glass between which gay colored flowers of Scotland have been pressed and then painted in oil in their natural colors. These ornaments are common in Scotland and making them is often the only means of livelihood of invalid women in the highlands.

The screened placed where the light shines through is wonderfully beautiful and is one of the joys of Margaret Carnegie, Mr. Carnegie’s young daughter, who watched the making of the screen and plucked the flowers for the artist.

The process of painting flowers from nature on glass has rare possibilities, and as it becomes more known, it will be taken up as a means of livelihood by women with artistic tastes.


The bell hat, except with a turned up brim, is passing.

Among the new colors gray is very prominent. A liking for veiling in emerald green with sable colored chiffon is evinced by many fashionably dressed women. Variations of violet are in demand.

The favorite length of coats is “finger length,” which means that the tips of the fingers when the arm is hanging reach to the lower edge of the coat. Collars are large and sometimes edged with marabou, and a crossover in the Russian way is still dominating the coat world.

An attempt is being made to introduce a fancy slipper for evening wear so distinct in itself that it need not match the gown. These shoes are exceedingly smart and are made of changeable tissues. Silver and blue, gold and rose, and violet are some of the most striking shadings. For street wear, patent leather boots with white tops are the latest.

New hatpins

Some of the hilts suggest a dagger; some have birds’ and animals’ heads atop. Lapis lazuli figures in many — indeed, accompanies pebbles of all hues. Turquoise and the like are pressed into service.

No doubt, after reading such news, the ladies of Bangor hopped aboard the trolley and made a beeline for Freese’s department store where they were sure to find those wondrous shoes and hatpins that let their friends know they were in style.


Master ash and sweetgrass basketmaker Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot, will lead a workshop on making an ash and sweetgrass basket 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, in the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. Participants will learn how to weave brown ash to make a small basket with a handle, no experience is necessary. Sockbeson also will teach participants how to make decorative curls on their baskets.

Ash and sweetgrass baskets have been made by the native people of Maine for generations, and are an important cultural tradition that is being carried on by young Wabanaki artists, such as Sockbeson.

Sockbeson is an accomplished basketmaker, often incorporating unique features to her baskets, including bone and antler handles, and hand-painted birch bark panels to the lids. Her work is getting national attention from collectors for its quality. This program has limited space, so reservations are required. For more information about the workshop and participation costs, or to make a reservation, call Raney Bench at 288-3519.

• • •

Orono Quilters will hold a quilt show 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at United Methodist Church, 744 Stillwater Ave, Old Town. Featured quilter will be Ardis Abbott. The event also will include a quilt raffle, a “penny” raffle, vendors, a lunch counter and gently used magazines and books available for purchase.

Donation to Project Linus will be accepted in memory of Mark Sanborn.

Admission is $3.

• • •

Beads, Baubles and Fleece Downeast will take place Oct. 14-15 and will feature 50 vendors. The show is open to fiber artists, spinners and dyers who create yarn, fleece and roving. It will offer for sale finished work and beading supplies. The show also is open to lampwork bead makers and others who create or sell beads and buttons. Jewelers working in the beading medium also may participate. For more information, e-mail Christina Heiniger at
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or e-mail 

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