— Guest post by designer Irene Kellins —
Recreating the Tidy Chair Back has been a most interesting and enjoyable adventure. Beginning as a chat about the historical needlework collection at the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol, in Goderich, Ontario, Canada, the project evolved into recreating one of these works—specifically, the Tidy Chair Back, made in 1880 by six-year-old Ann Rath of East Wawanosh Township, near Belgrave, Ontario.
The original was completed with fine crochet cotton and consists of a motif strip joined by a chain. After comparing test swatches to the original, I recreated the doily using size 20 cotton thread and a size 7 (1.5 mm) steel crochet hook.
While working on this piece, I couldn’t help imagining the life and circumstances of the little girl who created the original. I am impressed by the quality of her work and the fact that it has endured for so long. I am also impressed by how simple the pattern actually is, when broken down to the basic components: a strip of pattern and a joining. These two simple steps lend themselves to a wide variety of other projects.
One could create a simple choker, a cowl, an afghan, or a jacket. The possibilities are endless. As a result of this crocheting adventure, I have developed an interest in exploring other samples of needlework from long ago, looking to the past to create for the future.