Though it was common for women of the 18th and 19th centuries to keep personal albums of their own needlework designs, few of these hand-drawn pattern books survive intact. This rare volume, signed and dated 1815 by Elizabeth M. Townshend, appears to be just such a collection ? an authentic treasury of embroidery designs dating from the early days of the Republic.
Brimming with nearly 200 timeless, functional designs, this priceless sourcebook ranges from highly stylized repeat patterns, to more realistic floral bouquets, to traditional patterns for cutwork edgings, to large-scale motifs suitable for crewel embroidery. You'll find miniature baskets (a popular motif of the day) and dainty leaf patterns, planned perhaps for a petticoat or waistcoat. Other lovely designs are ideal for embellishing the collar or cuffs of a favorite dress, adding an elegant touch to linens, curtains, undergarments, tablecloths, etc.
While most of the patterns are small in scale and probably intended for use with silk threads, several are particularly effective worked in wool. The stitches Elizabeth Townshend would have used are the same stitches we use today ? seed stitch, outline, and stem stitches, chain stitch, loop stitch, and herringbone stitch ? making these appealing designs as accessible to modern embroidery enthusiasts as they were to the nation's first needle artists.
Early American Embroidery Designs is not only a treasury of needlework inspiration; it's an authentic slice of Americana. Use it to create your own "heirlooms" and add antique charm to a myriad of wardrobes and household and gift items.