The story behind the series...

The Lesson #1 of the
  Summer Schoolhouse ~ Lessons in Abecedarian has released and they are on their way to your local needlework shops, as I type.  

 I thought I would share the story behind this series,
 my inspiration...

The conception for the idea for the Summer Schoolhouse ~ Lessons in Abecedarian lies within the pages of this little old book from the 1940's.

The books title is,
A Little Pretty Pocket-Book.

It was the size of this book that intrigued me.  It is tiny, it would fit in a pocket of a child's dress or britches.  I tend to love miniature things! It is the small things in life that I gravitate towards.  I found this little book while antiquing.  It was calling me, I had to pick it up and see what was inside this tiny book, a book with no title on it's cover page...
I opened it up and began to read.
It reads...
Intended for the instruction and amusement of Little Master Tommy, and Pretty Miss Polly...and so on.
Then I read this...A ball and pincushion: the use of which will infallibly make Tommy a good boy and Polly a good girl.  A pincushion?  Did I just read pincushion?  My heart may have skipped a beat!

I needed to learn more about this little old book that talks of a pincushion.  I began to do some research. The original book was written in 1770, in London, by John Newbery, a prominent publisher of children's books.  The book was considered to be the first book specifically directed at children. Hold onto your britches & garter straps, my findings are about to get good!  The book was originally sold with free gifts.  Free gifts?  A ball for a boy and a pincushion for a girl. How cool is that?   I want to learn what the pincushion looked like, don't you??!!  To date, I haven't located any photos of the pincushion.  The original book was black on one side and red on the other and good deeds were to be marked by a pin stuck on the red side and bad ones by a pin in the black.  

The book is noteworthy for containing the first documented use of the word "baseball'.
It is the oldest children's book in the Library of Congress collection and is considered to be the first children's book in print.  If you happen to visit the Library of Congress, look this tiny book up!

My little book is a facsimile of the original which was issued by F.G. Melcher on the 10th of June, 1944, on the 200th anniversary of the book's first appearance.  The first American edition was published by Isaiah Thomas at Worcester, Massachusetts in 1744.  I wonder why the American publisher didn't go with the red and black cover as the original?

As you read, you will note the use of the letter f and double f's in place of the s, this is characteristic of 18th century handwriting.  Upper case letters were used to begin nouns as well as begin sentences.  The lower case s was written in long s (elongated form), at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, and written twice.  The elongated s can be mistaken for an f. 

 Little rhyming stories for the letters of the alphabet fill the pages of this tiny book. They read...Great A,B and C and tumble down D, the cat's a blind buff, and she cannot see. Great E, F, and G come here follow me, and we will jump over the Rosemary Tree.  It was these pages that got my creative juices flowing.  Wouldn't it be fun to do a series around the alphabet?  Learning the letters and stitching have long been associated, why not?  

There are 4 stories about the seasons in the book.  I decided I would base the series on a season and chose summer.  The motifs on all the projects are summer-themed.  The series released on the first day of summer, with the last of the series to finish at summers-end.  Maybe there will be a future series with stitched motifs that pertain to the the other 3 seasons...

I charted the alphabet to look similar to the alphabet font used in the pocket book.  Since the book is so small I wanted the Summer Schoolhouse series to be small, or tiny work ~ as I call it  The series is meant to be worked over 1 thread on 28 count fabric.   Many of you stitchers have emailed me just to let me know this is will be your first experience at working over 1.  Just like a student, learning something new...that's great!  Stitching over 1 thread on 28 count fabric looks more like a painting then stitching, it is extraordinarily wonderful!

Here you can get a perspective how tiny the book is with the use of the thimble and buttons for comparison.  The book measures 2 1/2" x 3 3/4".

One chapter is dedicated to rules for behaviour of children....
 Proverbs for children...

And there you have it. 
 Inspiration can come from strange places sometimes!

Are you a student of this series?  If not, there is still time!
Gather up your "school supplies" and come along!



gloriahanaway said...

Brenda, I just read your question about why wasn't the children's book printed in red and black like the original. It may be that in 1944, the United States was in the throws of WWII. Everything was being rationed and sacrificed for the war effort. My Father often told of an ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes. The ad line was "Lucky Strike" has gone to war! Their usual red accent package was replaced with green as red was in demand for the war effort. I'm sure black was in great demand too. Love the new designs! Hope you find a pic of that pincushion.

Charlene ♥ SC said...

Love your story! Signed up and ready to stitch!❤️

LaNelle said...

How wonderful....love reading the back story thanks for sharing Brenda so looking forward to this one and I need more practice on my over one....❤️

Margaret Kaltefleiter said...

Wow! The story has really intrigued me! I signed up as soon as you announced the series. Can't wait until I receive my first kit. Thank you so much for sharing the story of the little book. 💝

susan hemann said...

how wonderful! thank you for the history, I hope there will be kids left on the first of July

Shelly said...

How wonderful! That is quite a find. I may have to consider this. I've done 1 over on higher count but never on 28ct.

wichitastitcher said...

Wonderful find. Great story. I have signed up for the series.

Jill Werschin said...

I signed up for your new stitching series. Can't wait! Love the story behind your project. I sure hope you will consider working on projects for each season.

Cheryl WNC said...

Amazing! I love little books. Well, I love all books but I collect children's books. Old ones. This is lovely. Two of my favorite things: books and stitching. Thank you for this wonderful story.

Melanie said...

Thank you for sharing the inspiration behind the series, I am really looking to getting started, soon.

Judy said...

Oh, Brenda, such a treasure of history.

Three Sheep Studio said...

A beautiful and interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

Faye said...

I love the fascinating history behind this series Brenda! As a recently retired teacher, I relish in tidbits of history, such as this... I look forward to beginning this cute tiny stitch and each of the others coming... Thanks for sharing the story behind the piece and including photos of the inside of that tiny book~

Traci McKinney said...

Thanks for this design from a school teacher. Quick question...would it be possible to put all designs together on the 9 x 54 inch piece of 28 count? Can't explain why, but I'd like one long slim design.

Many thanks!
Traci McKinney

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