Books for Quilters!
More than 150 Titles, Most at a Discount, in the Planet Patchwork Quilters' Bookstore!

The Virtual Quilt, A

Newsletter for Computing Quilters

Number Twenty-Two * February 15, 1998

Classifieds | Table of Contents

Please allow entire page to load before clicking links.

The State of Knitting: Mary Frances and the Red Cross

The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book
By Jane Eayre Fryer
Originally Published in 1918 by The John C. Winston, Co. Philadelphia
Reprinted 1997 by Lacis, Berkeley, California

Reviewed by Lynn Holland

If my belief in Santa had ever faltered, you can be sure that my faith in the fabled elf was restored this Christmas when under the toe of my Christmas stocking was a reprint of The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book. Some of you may have read in TVQ #17 of my thirty-year quest to locate this long-lost favorite book and of my partial victory when a company named Lacis ( reprinted a companion volume (The Mary Francis Sewing Book) earlier this year. In this latest volume, Mary Frances has matured, and the accompanying illustrations seem more "grown-up" too.

The book was designed to instruct WWI - era children in basic knitting and crocheting with an amusing story format. As in the previous title, Mary Frances is about to embark on a series of lessons with an adult human, but is really schooled by tools who come to life to assist her with her efforts. This time it is CrowShay, the arrogant crochet hook who speaks in rhyme and is fond of word play; Knit and Knack, the knitting needles who always echo each other's words; Wooley Ball, the long-winded yarn authority and Yarn Baby, who oversees this sometimes unruly though good-natured bunch of characters.

There is also Fairly Flew, a fairy whose magic silver needle finishes work in a flash and Mary Marie, the doll who is featured in the Sewing Book. Although the book is intended for children, many of the exchanges in the book will entertain adults as well. The characters in this story display sharp wit, and the author is loath to pass up a good pun. Yarn Baby's scream is likened to a zephyr wind, and all the needles tell Wooley Ball that they "don't want to hear any more yarns." In this story, the doll Mary Marie comes to life as part of Mary Frances' lessons and provides commentary on the garments Mary Frances learns to make for her. For some reason, however, the incessant baby talk of the doll-brought-to-life got irritating after the first few times. If she's supposed to be in kindergarten, can't someone refer her to the speech pathologist or at the very least tell her it's no longer cute?

As in the Sewing Book, the projects Mary Frances makes are very specific to the World War I time frame and would no longer be seen as part of a stylish kindergartener's wardrobe. As my daughter says of hokey attire, "They would beat me up if I wore that." Nevertheless, for those of us who love dolls of bygone eras, (and divest ourselves of many adult dollars at Pleasant Company), Lacis now offers a Mary Marie doll for whom the clothing and knitware may be fashioned.

From my knowledge of children's literature, knitting was a part of the lives of many school children during that time, as those of you who read Rufus M., one of Eleanor Estes' Moffett series, may recall. Children in first and second grade were encouraged to knit wash cloths, and older children made scarves, socks and helmets as their part of the war effort. It is no surprise that the Mary Frances book contains the official Red Cross instructions for those children who wished to extend knitting doll clothes to helping the soldiers overseas. Aunt Maria's declaration that Mary Frances' mother was improperly raised because she doesn't know plain knitting from purling or "a star stitch from a coffee bean stitch" has application to our overall societal change. How many little girls of today are brought up to master basic needlearts as part of their home training?

Philosophical issues aside, this book is a beautiful and accurate reprint of a charming little book I have loved for most of my life, and finally finding it reassured me that dreams can come true. Thanks, Lacis.



The MINI DUST-IT. Genuine sheepskin duster on a 6" stick that is perfect for picking up dust and lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft, beautiful sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces. Picks up the lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them around. Prevents lint build-up. Inexpensive way to protect expensive sewing machines and sergers. Fun and handy to use. Also works great on the computer.

Price: $3.50 each including mailing.

To order send check to Silver Dollar Sheep Station, 5020 Winding Way, Sacramento, CA 95841. 800-887-8742. E-mail:

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER: Because we manufacture the Mini Dust-it to a very high standard, we currently have a supply of slightly imperfects. They may be thinner and not as pretty or have some other defect, but they still work great! And best of all we offer these to you for just $1, including postage. You can order them at the address above and enjoy this wonderful product at a bargain price!


DESIGN PLUS is giving away a new FREE BLOCK PATTERN each and every month in 1998. These patterns can be used with any size THANGLES. C'mon over to where we pay the postage to save you money!

Heidi Wurst, owner


P. O. Box 273, Esperance NY 12066

ANTIQUE QUILT & TEXTILE CONVENTION. May 21-23, 1998. Held in Lowell, MA, the birthplace of the American Textile Revolution. Features private tours of museums and conservation centers as well as lectures by noted curators, authors, appraisers and conservationists. For more information, write Hickory Hill Antique Quilts, Box 273, Esperance NY 12066 or see


Quilt Shop Service -- Discount Prices

**New: Save on Fabric!** PineTree is now discounting fabric! With more than 2000 bolts on the floor, more fabric goes on the website catalog each week, at prices 20% off retail. Don't miss PineTree's **New** Stash Stockers(tm), the exciting selections of six fat quarters from top manufacturers!

Shopping online for quilting supplies is now easier than ever! PineTree Quiltworks now offers a secure server for credit card transactions! Just scope out the website catalog at and place your credit card order from the ***new*** secure website order form. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are welcome.

PineTree's your source for discounted quilting supplies and books! PineTree offers attentive customer service and prompt shipping, along with website convenience and 20% discounts!

You'll find a huge selection of batting, from Quilter's Cotton fine cotton batts to the full lines of Hobbs' and Fairfield's cottons, blends, and polys. Look for tools to make applique easier and more fun; fabric and hand care products; pencils and markers; templates and template plastic; needlecraft gloves; rotary cutters and related supplies; rippers, clippers, snippers, and scissors; machine sewing needles; seven (!) brands of hand sewing needles -- including Jeana Kimball's renowned Foxglove Cottage needles; basting systems; thread, including Mettler and Gutermann cotton sewing and quilting, Tire silk sewing, and Sulky rayon, metallic, and sliver, and *new* Roxy 100% cotton thread on economical 1200-yard spools; patterns ... and more. There are many more books at PineTree than you'll find in the books listing online, so if you don't see what you want, ask for it! All books are discounted 20%.

Check out the catalog on the web at Free with each order: a hard copy of the catalog and a Mettler thread color card!

PineTree is online to answer questions about quilting products at


Gridded Geese(c) is a unique paper foundation method for mass-producing Flying Geese units up to 24 at once (no kidding!).

Schoolhouse Enterprises, inventors and manufacturers of this revolutionary product, offers both an on-line ( and printed version of their catalog. They search for items for quilters (and friends of quilters) which are unique and often overlooked by other catalogs you might connect with. Their newest catalog, hot off the press, offers such interesting items as Photos-to-Fabric(tm) photo transfer paper, Danforth Pewter jewelry and buttons, and the Ott Light... all at discounted prices!

And while you're visiting their web site, be sure to check out their on-line catalog for their Monthly $pecial$!! If you're not able to access their web page, just e-mail Schoolhouse Enterprises ( with your "snail mail" (post office) address for your FREE CATALOG and Sample of Gridded Geese(c)! (Sorry, but samples are only available in the printed catalogs.)


Perfect Square is a reusable iron on transfer used to make half square triangles quickly, easily and accurately. Each sheet can be used at least 10 times, usually more. For those of you who like to work small, there is the Mini Pack with finished sizes from 1/4" to 1 1/2". Perfect Square also comes in real sizes for anyone intimidated by the small stuff.E-mail for more info or check out the Perfect Square web site at


ARTFABR!K now carries a Color Card for their extraordinary hand-dyed perle cotton threads available in sizes 3, 5, 8 and the finest, size 12. Please send $7 plus $1 for shipping to ARTFABR!K, Laura Wasilowski, 324 Vincent Place, Elgin, IL 60123. E-mail


Beautiful hand Dyed Fabric perfect for piecing, applique and pictorial quilts. Colors range from a sunrise spectrum of mauves, pinks, and golds to deep purples, blues and teals. Available in the following convenient packages:

8 step color progression- fat eighth cuts- 1 yard $25.00
12 step color wheel- 6"x22"cuts 1 yard $25.00
24 step color wheel- 6"x22" cuts 2 yards $45.00
  10" squares 1.5 yards $35.00

Send a self addressed, stamped envelope for free samples and full price list or to order send check or money order to:

Jay Dee Designs
18640 South Lowrie Loop
Eagle River, Alaska 99577



Our advertisers, both here in the newsletter and at the Planet Patchwork website, have found TVQ to be an effective and economical way to reach thousands of online quilters. Ads in the newsletter are only $5 each (up to 100 words, inquire about longer ads) or 3 for $10, and there are also attractive packages available which combine newsletter and website ads. For more information e-mail or visit We specialize in helping small quilting-related businesses gain exposure on the internet.

In This Issue:

Following is a list of the rest of the stories in this issue of TVQ. In order to read them, you must be a subscriber. Subscribing online here and following up with the small subscription fee will entitle you to eight issues of TVQ, including this one. You will receive TVQ every six weeks by e-mail, and will be issued a password to access it here on the World Wide Quilting Page.

Subscribers: Please report any password problems to Rob Holland. Be sure to include your name & e-mail address. We will try to resolve all password problems within 24 hours. Thank you!

And here's what's inside!


Like any news publication, TVQ is always hungry for information about new developments in the area we are trying to cover. If you have an idea for a story, or want to tell the world about something you are doing which relates to computers and quilting, we'd like to hear about it.

We'd like news of new classes starting up to teach quilt design on computers, or new approaches to that teaching. New products, maillists, World Wide Web pages, etc., are all fair game, and we'd appreciate any tips you can provide. Send your tips by e-mail to

If you have a comment about an article, a complaint or a correction, we're glad to hear that, too, and may publish some comments as letters to the editor. Again, these may be sent to

Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland, Decatur, GA

1998 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This file may not be reproduced in any form except to be printed out for the personal use of its owner without the expressed, written consent of the copyright holder.


If you would like to see the rest of this newsletter here, and have it appear in your e-mail about every 6 weeks for the next year, all it requires is a small contribution of $5.00!

That buys you 8 issues (including this one) of news and in-depth features. We are now also offering a two-year subscription option, 16 issues for $9.00.

In upcoming issues you will find more in-depth reviews of quilt design software, more profiles of quilters, as well as profiles of online quilting communities. These features will be interspersed with news of developments in the quickly changing and expanding world of online quilting.

To receive a free sample of a recent issue, e-mail rholland@ and one will be sent to you.

To subscribe, fill out this form and send a check or money order for $5.00 made out to Robert Holland, to 140 Ridley Circle, Decatur, GA 30030-1117.

Back Issues  * Table of Contents * Planet Patchwork