Rare needlework books are sought after by both crafters and collectors alike. Whether you love to needlepoint or need a historically correct pattern for a chair restoration, these old books are full of valuable patterns and information. They aren't hard to find, and many are very reasonably priced.
What Makes a Rare Needlepoint Book?
All books share the same definition when it comes to rare books. According to the museum division of the National Parks Service, a book is rare simply because it has information that is deemed important and there are not many copies of it.
Needlework books of all sorts are helpful to costume designers, set designers, historians, and others who need an accurate portrayal of a certain time period. Whether the books are twenty or two hundred years old doesn't matter. It is also important to note that just because a book is rare does not mean that it is valuable.
Finding Rare Needlepoint Books
There are many different places you can look for rare needlepoint books, but you might not be able to determine how rare a book is until you can search for that particular title online and see how many other people are selling it (or looking for it.)
Here are some places you'll want to check out in your quest for rare needlepoint books:
- Used bookstores
- Online used bookstores
- Antique stores
- Garage sales and estate sales
- Your local library's sale room
- Older relatives and neighbors
- Other organizations' book sales
A lot of people who aren't interested in needlepoint or other crafts end up inheriting a relative's stash of books and then want to get rid of it all. These books sell for low prices just to get rid of them. That's one reason eBay is such a great option, because you can often find large lots of needlepoint books (some may be rare, some not) for very low prices.
Specialized Needlework Book Searches
Some websites and search engines specialize in out-of-print and rare needlework and craft books, and these are also a great place to hunt, especially if you love to browse. Here are some sites worth checking out:
- Needlework Books has a huge number of categories to browse leading to out-of-print books and magazines. Not all categories have entries at any given time.
- UK Book World has many used and rare needlepoint books from sellers across that country.
- Joslin Hall has an excellent collection of rare needlepoint books, and you'll pay the price for rarity as well.
- New Needlepoint stocks a variety of books including the hard to find Glorafilia books.
- Antique Pattern Library has a variety of books that have been scanned online and the patterns available for free. There are a variety of needle arts represented.
Caring for Rare Needlework Books
Because most needlework books were used by their original owners, it is rare to find these books in pristine shape. As mentioned above, pattern books often have covers that are torn or missing, and crafters using patterns often mark up the pages. Sometimes you will find books in good condition, and these generally are worth the higher price you will pay for them. If you are collecting out of a love for the craft more than an interest in monetary gain, you'll probably love those books that look like they have been used even more than you would the rare pristine ones that look like they belonged to someone who never stitched.
To keep books from deteriorating further, it's a good idea to store small booklets in plastic sleeves like you would comic books and keep them away from light and humidity. Needlepoint books should be cared for like any other rare book and stored in a place of consistent humidity.
Enjoy Your Hobby
Having a collection of rare needlework books can ensure that the items you create are unique and unusual. By creating patterns from these old tomes you bring history to life and allow others to enjoy something that would otherwise be lost to time.