A booke of curious and strange inventions

These scans are taken from printouts which are taken from microfilm reproductions of the original book. There are some dark spots and other irregularities in the printing that I was unable to avoid, but for which I nonetheless apologise.

The "medium" scans should be reasonably comfortable to view on-screen, with perhaps a little scrolling depending on the size and resolution of your monitor, while the "large" ones are really too big to view comfortably but do provide more detail. The "large" scans are about 1MB each.

Enjoy. -- K.

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A Booke of Curious and strange Inventions, called the first part of Needleworkes, containing many singuler and fine sorts of Cut-workes, Raisde-workes, Stiches, and open Cutworke, verie easie to be learned by the dilligent practisers, that shall follow the direction herein contained.

Newlie augmented.

First imprinted in Venice, and now againe newly printed in more exquisite sort fo the profit and delight o the Gentlewomen of England.

For William Barley. 1596

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To the Right Honourable and Vertuous good Ladie Isabell Dowager of Rutland all health and happines with increase of Honourable dignitie.

Understanding Right Honourable and most vertuous Lady the singuler vertue wherewith God hath graced you, and therewithall the excellent knowledge you have in Needleworkes, having at this present a Booke to come foorth, importing the singularity of the same Arte, I could not be perswaded of a more sufficient Patronesse than your Honour, whose excellent skill in curious Needleworks is made known by many other personages, & seeing it is a thing not only requisite but also in great request among the gentry of our land, I am bold to shroud the same under your honorable protection, hoping your Ladyship will esteem thereof (if not for the worthines, yet for the good will of him that presents it) which at his great cost and charges hath caused it to bee published for the benifit of his countrie & increase of the well disposed in the same Arte, being the only ornament in a woman, wherfore if I shal perceve the same accepted of your Honor, I have the end of my desire, & will set out the second parte with as much expedition as may be, resting at your Ladyships direction to do you al the service I may, with hartie praier unto God for the continuance of your Honorable and happie estate.

Your Honours most humble to command: William Barley

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The wit of man by divers thinges is tride
Some for the soule do bend their study still:
Some on the seaes do search the world so wide,
In Alcomie some other tries their skill:
Some other love the liberall Arts to learne,
The ground of knowledge thereby to decearne.

But farre unfit for tender women kinde,
Such toylesome studies altogether be:
Although their wits most sharp & swift we finde
Yet with their strength these things do not agree
Their milke white hands the needle finer fits,
With silke & gold to prove their pregnant wit.

In needle works there doth great knowledg rest.
A fine conceit thereby full soone is showne:
A drowsie braine this skill cannot digest,
Paines spent on such, in vaine awaie is throne:
They must be carefull, diligent and wise,
In needleworkes that beare away, the prise.

This worke beseemth Queenes of great renowne,
And Noble Ladies of a high degree:
Yet not exempt for maids of any Towne,
For all may learne that thereto willing be:
Come then sweet gyrles and hereby learne the way,
With good report to live another day.

For many maidens but of base degree,
By their fine knowledge in this curious thing:
With Noble Ladies oft companions be,
Sometimes they teach the daughter of a King:
Thus by their knowledge, fame and good report,
They are esteemd among the noble sort.

Then prettie maidens view this prettie booke,
Marke well the works that you therein doe finde:
Sitting at worke cast not aside your looke,
They profit small that have a gazing minde:
Keepe cleane your Samplers, sleepe not as you sit,
For sluggishnes doth spoile the rarest wit.

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© 1998-2003 Kirrily Robert (SCA Katherine Rowberd), All Rights Reserved
This page was last updated Thursday, 19-Sep-2002 00:26:48 EDT