Friday 27 May 2011

Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts - embroidery designs freebie

Where it all began...

This year is flying past so quickly, I can't believe how little I've blogged! And I don't even have a particularly good excuse for not doing so either. What HAVE I been doing? I must have just been existing really...

Well, I want to put that straight RIGHT NOW! So I'm going to share with you all something from my childhood...

They like their embroidered tops, don't they?
 One of my elder sisters used to collect a part-work magazine called "The Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts", published by Marshall Cavendish, in 1975. I was only two years old at the time, but my sister was about 15. I don't think she collected the whole set of 98 issues, but it was near enough. The magazines lived in a cardboard box, and when she had done with them, I "appropriated" them for myself.

Embroidered dress
I LOVED those magazines! They were full of such wonders as macrame, pottery, enamelling, basketry, needlepoint, crochet, making stuff with old tin cans, paint effects like stencilling, embroidery, woodwork, beadwork, weaving, glasswork... the list just goes on and on... you name it, most crafts were probably covered. Although I only attempted a couple of projects (most of it was outside of my capability and level of confidence at the time), I read and re-read these magazines from cover to cover, many many times. And pored over the pictures for literally hours and hours.

They don't make dresses like that anymore... cute embroidery though!

Oh! The pictures! To me, they are the very essence of the 70s... a mixture of really good design, and terrible fashion sense! Or was it really good fashion sense?

Anyway, she claimed them back from me after I'd left home, so I hadn't seen them for about 20 years, until now! I think I saw someone's pictures of them on Flickr or on a blog which piqued my interest again, but I hadn't forgotten them. Then when I found a set of a few on eBay, from a UK seller, I just had to bid for them! And they arrived yesterday! Hurrah!

Don't look so fed-up love... the embroidery is pretty, but the puffy sleeves... well, they're something else! :D
So looking at them now, they just bring back so many happy memories. To me, they are far more than the sum of their parts. Unfortunately I only have the first 16 (it was sold as issues 1 - 17, but issue three is missing...booo!), but I hope to obtain them ALL at some point... 
Do you think her hair is meant to look like those ice-cream embroideries? Aw bless...

To start us off then, I'm going to share with you this collection of embroidery designs. Aren't they cute? These pictures and the embroidery designs are all from part 10.  Just click on the picture below to get the full-size image.

The embroidery designs - click to bring up the full-size version
I'm going to post other snippets from the magazines too, because I think they deserve to be aired after all these years in hiding! So watch this space if your appetite for some "retro crafting" has been whetted!
Best wishes
Joey xx


  1. Wow, I remember this! My mum used to get it and I still have a few of her old copies!

  2. Hi there Vixie! Well, you know what to do... dig them out, scan in something good and post it to the new Flickr group, Golden Hands Crafts - For Everyone! It would be fab to see them, what issue numbers are they?

    Best wishes

  3. hey Joey! I don't remember Golden Hands at all (a young'un like me!!) but it's fab to see these snippets. They really are so dated aren't they! I love that front cover with the apple print! hahaa it looks so primitive. i will def keep an eye out for any copies in charity shops and stuff for you! love J. xx

  4. I was trying to figure out why all the pics looked SO familiar, and I hunted down my book "The Complete Book of Knitting, Crochet, and Embroidery" ... edited by Pam Dawson, published by Marshall Cavendish. The same pictures are right there at the beginning of the embroidery section. My mother got me this book from some rummage store or yard sale when I was still a kid so I imagine that it contains a lot of the same pleasant memories for me that your magazines do for you. :)

    I wonder if it contains the entirety of the magazines? It's quite an inspirational book.


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