Fancywork. It means fancy needlework or crochet, even tatting, that is decorative. It was popular during the Victorian era and brought us all sorts of neat things like tatted lace edgings and crochet doilies and such. For anyone interested in textile arts, fancywork comes up in the lineage of our art even if what we do now is ultra-modern.
Interweave Press, the popular publisher of many different kinds of textile arts books, magazines, DVDs, and sites (Knitting Daily is inspiring even if you’re an occasional knitter), re-released the historic needlework collection, Weldon’s Practical Needlework. What I found fascinating about the collection is its emphasis on figuring it out oneself. There’s a lot of knowledge that’s assumed, that for modern craftspersons isn’t necessarily part of the repertoire.
And then came Jane Sowerby, with Victorian Lace Today. She looks at several historical sources, including Weldon’s, and reinterprets them for modern artists. While the book focuses on knitting, it gives a fascinating look into historical craft and gives modern interpretations that are sure to have you reaching for your needles.