Sunday, June 22, 2014

Needlework Fiction--The Bedspread

The Bedspread Sylvia Fair (1982)

*** 3/5 stars Check out GoodReads for more reviews of this book.

Books about knitting are rampant, but books about embroidery are harder to come by, which is why I searched all over for this out-of-print picture book about two very, very old sisters who live in a very, very big bed and one day decide that they need to embroider their very, very boring white bedspread together. Each sister embroiders the house that they grew up in, but instead of being symmetrical, one is stitched with gorgeous stitches and precision, while the other is a crazy mix of color and memories. The vocabulary would need to be explained to youngsters or even young readers, so it would be a perfect book for a grandmother to read to her grandchild--especially if that grandchild showed any inclination for needlework. I can see all sorts of needlework lessons inspired by this book, for example showing a child how to do some of Maud's fancy stitches, or allowing him or her time to explore Amelia's sense of design while stitching their own house. I especially liked Amelia's peacocks perched on the roof of the family home. Although the picture book was not written by an embroiderer, both the text and the illustrations capture the duality of needlework--creativity and precision--without judging one better than the other. Indeed, when the sisters die at age 103, their bedspread is displayed in a museum, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday hung to show Maud's work and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to show Amelia's.