Collectors’ Bookmarks

Stitching for Literacy, Don's bookmark, "Sweet Rest in Heaven"Don, our bookmark-collecting friend, shares another hand-embroidered bookmark with us today. You can see much of his collection on his donmervin flickr pages.

When I began the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy program, I looked into the history of embroidered bookmarks and discovered they had a heyday in the mid-1800s in Victorian England. They were called “bookmarkers,” and it was trendy to stitch them on perforated paper or “punch paper” with holes punched by a mechanical press. Patterns were printed in popular ladies magazines of the time, like Godey’s Ladies Magazine and Peterson’s magazine.

Don has a number of antique perforated paper bookmarks in his collection. I find it amazing to think how old they are. In the one we see today, the pattern is printed on the paper, and the embroiderer stitched over the pattern. If you look closely, you can see the printed blue lines: the border around the edge and some lines peeking out from some of the letters.

Stamped embroidery. This remains a way we stitch today!

Stitching for Literacy, Don's bookmark, "Sweet Rest in Heaven"

We can also still use perforated paper, although I’m not familiar with any stamped patterns on perf paper. Are you? I’m not sure if we have a wider variety of perf paper today or not. Wichelt Imports, Inc. offers an assortment of colors and patterns.

Stitching for Literacy, perforated paper for embroidery from Wichelt Imports, Inc.

And Gayle at Accents, Inc. offers perforated paper pre-cut for bookmarks along with a protective vinyl sleeve and a card for backing.

We even have fancy die-cut shapes. Tokens & Trifles sewing cards are reinterpretations of Victorian perforated paper products. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are available through Kreinik Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Stitching for Literacy, Tokens & Trifles sewing cards from Kreinik

We, Funk & Weber Designs, used the star card for the Going, Going, Gone! baseball bookmark pattern to celebrate the partnership between Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy and Stitch N’ Pitch, a program sponsored by The National NeedleArts Association.

Funk & Weber Designs: Going, Going, Gone! baseball bookmark pattern

The Going, Going, Gone! pattern was available only as a kit until last week. Now, the pattern is also available all by itself as a digital download.

Don points out a great article about the history of perforated paper needlework written by Diana Matthews and available on the Victoriana website. Check it out.

Do you stitch on perforated paper? I do, and I really like the paper look and feel. In a hundred years will another Diana Matthews write an article about the revival of perforated paper bookmarks in the early 2000s because of a program called Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy?

Edited for Shelly and others who want to figure out what Don’s bookmark says. It took me a while to get it. I’m putting the answer in white text under the image. When you’re ready to peek, highlight the space under the image to see the text.

Stitching for Literacy, Don's Sweet Rest bookmark

Sweet Rest in Heaven

Categories: Needlework

2 replies »