Flora Klickmann (1867-1958)
Although Flora Klickmann is probably best known for her "Flower Patch" series,
I first became interested in her after coming across "The Home Art Crochet Book" on eBay while searching for older crochet books.
The book is full of patterns for lace borders and filet crochet.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that this was only the first in a series of fascinating books.
The designs in all of these books are elegant and intricate.
They can be adapted to today's lifestyle which makes each design timeless and well worth the time and effort to produce a crocheted masterpiece.
Emily Flora Klickmann was born in London on January 26th, 1867.
She had graduated in music when she was a girl and wanted to be a concert pianist, but a due to a heart weakness was advised to give up her plans.
She began work as a music teacher at the age of 21.
A move into music journalism started her long career as a journalist, author and editor.
In 1908, Flora was appointed editor of the Girl's Own Paper
(later known as The Girl's Own Paper And Woman's Magazine) - a highly successful periodical aimed at girls and young women.
Flora replaced Mr. Charles Peters, who had been the editor since the first issue.
She was very innovative and introduced new themes such as careers advice for girls, advice on style and dress, photography competitions and crafts,
all of which proved popular with the readers.
In 1912 Flora suffered a breakdown through overwork and stress.
While remaining as editor, she spent a period of convalescence at a rented cottage close to
Brockweir in the Wye Valley,
an area in which her grandparents had lived.
But no improvement meant that she was taken to London, where she was operated on in 1913, entirely successfully.
However Flora was starting to spend a lot more time at her retreat, and by the late 1920's was essentially a long distance editor.
Flora married Ebenezer Henderson Smith, in 1913.
He was one of the executives at the Religious Tract Society
who had been instrumental in getting the 'The Girls Own Paper' up and running.
Her married name was Emily Flora Henderson Smith.
Although she had lived mainly in South London, Flora had rented cottages in Brockweir over the years.
As a wedding present, Ebenezer purchased 'Sylvan View', a house in Brockweir.
In 1916 she published the first of a series of books of written sketches of life in her country cottage at Brockweir.
These were based on articles which she had originally written for the Girl's Own Paper.
In later years the stories grew to involve her household and the local people, combining nature description, anecdote, autobiography, religion, and humour.
In all, seven Flower Patch books were published, over 32 years.
Flora also published novels, advice books, children's stories and non-fiction on many topics including gardening, cooking, and needlework techniques,
some of which have been republished in recent years.
Ebenezer died in 1937 and was buried in the Moravian Churchyard in Brockweir.
Flora joined him on November 20th 1958, aged 91.
The "Home Art" series
The "Home Art" series of books were published while Flora was editor for "The Girl's Own Paper and Women's Magazine".
"Stitchery" was a quarterly paper published as a supplement to The Girl's Own Paper".
This was consequently published in annuals containing the four issues.
The Home Art Crochet Book was published 1912.
The front cover says, "Containing entirely new designs for Lingerie, Edgings & Insertions, Borders for Tray Cloths
& D'oileys, Deep Laces for Table Cloths & Valences, Motifs for Inlet Work & Irish Lace."
For anybody interested in thread crochet, this book is full of delightful inspiration.
The first section is for the "Average Worker".
However, the average worker at that time was far more accomplished than the average worker now.
The instructions for the "Rosette Edging" look very complicated in my view.
We have to remember that girls were taught to be accomplished needle workers at a young age.
Today’s crocheter would think that half of the patterns are missing - as can be seen from this section of filet pattern for a Boat.
This is how patterns were written then, in a way which reflected the way girls were taught.
Nowadays, we expect every single action to be explicitly detailed for us.
In Victorian times, women instinctively knew how to turn at the end of the row and how many chain were needed to turn.
The second book in the series is "The Home Art Book Of Fancy Stitchery", also published in 1912 and
“With new ideas for applying Crochet to lingerie and napery bead-work and fancy stitches for dress trimmings, Feather-stitching,
Smocking, Hardangerwork, Darned Filet Crochet, Knitting, Macrame Work, Darned net, Cross-stitch, Irish Crochet, Embroidery on Flannel.”
Although this book is not dedicated to crochet, there are some more fascinating patterns in there.
This "Venetian Crochet Centre" is one of my favourites.
It is made with Cleavers "Grass-bleached" Linen and Hicks, Bullick and Co’s No.42 Irish Lace Thread, with a No. 6 (0.60mm) crochet hook.
There are detailed instructions for the centre motif and those around the edge.
In the third book of the series “The Craft of the Crochet Hook”, again published in 1912, we are actually given some lessons in both Irish crochet and "Plain Crochet".
Flora suggests a "rather course hook - No. 4 will suit" for these lessons.
I rather think her idea of "course" is some what different from ours.
The "No. 4" which she suggests is a 1.00mm in metric.
It is described as “A Book of New Ideas in Crochet Work of Various Kinds
showing Novel Methods of Applying them to Personal and Household Linen and Home Decoration.”
This book is the best yet for intricate patterns.
The "Flower basket" is a pretty motif which has a variety of uses.
The Irish Crochet motifs are among the best I have ever seen.
Ten more books followed between 1913 and 1921, although only another four
are dedicated to crochet. They all give a unique insight into the
craft work of the era.
The series is listed below in the order in which they were published.
The ones I have managed to collect have accompanying scans of the front covers
in colour. The monochrome pictures are taken from adverts within these books.
All of the pictures used are scans from the original books which are now
in the public domain. If you are interested in seeing more, or brave
enough to attempt some of these patterns, a few of the books can be downloaded
from the Antique Pattern Library.
The Home Art Crochet Book
Containing Entirely New Designs for Lingerie, Edgings & Insertions, Borders for Tray Cloths & D'oileys,
Deep Laces for Table Cloths & Valances, Motifs for Inlet Work & Irish Lace.
With New Ideas for applying Crochet to Lingerie and Napery Bead-work and Fancy Stitches for Dress Trimmings, Feather-Stitching, Smocking, Hardanger Work,
Darned Filet Crochet, Knitting, Macramé Work, Darned Net, Cross-stitch, Irish Crochet, Embroidery on Flannel.
The Craft of the Crochet Hook
A Book of New Ideas in Crochet Work of Various Kinds showing Novel Methods of Applying them to Personal and Household Linen and Home Decoration.
The Modern Crochet Book
Containing Original Ideas for combining Crochet with Embroidery and with Fancy Braids,
together with new and Unusual Designs for use on Household Linen, on Underwear and as Dress Trimmings.
containing - Novel Beadings, Insertions and Edgings suitable for Underwear and Dress trimmings, Exquisite Floral Designs in Irish Crochet,
also Practical Suggestions, both simple and advanced, for Tea-Cloths and Bedspreads.
The Cult of the Needle
Giving directions for Bulgarian, Catalan, Hungarian and Baro Embroidery, Amager Work, Hemstitching, Netting,
Wool-work, Bohemian, Carrickma-cross, Innishmacsaint and Reticella Lace, and other forms of Needlecraft.
The Modern Knitting Book
A Book of Ideas for Knitted Underwear, Coats and Wraps, Caps and Hoods,
Babies' and Childrens' Garments, Socks and Stockings, Also New Patterns in Fancy Knitting.
Beautiful Crochet on Household Linen
showing - Table Cloths, Toilet Covers, Curtain Tops, Towel Ends, Sideboard
Cloths, Tea Cosies, Dressing Tale Runners and other items.
Hardanger and Cross-Stitch
Showing Handsome Hardanger Borders and Corners, also Natural Designs in Cross-Stitch for Violets, Cyclamen,
Creeping Jenny, Nasturtiums, Daisies, Roses, Fern, Daffodils, Clover, Cherries, Wild Birds, with Butterflies in Hardanger.
A book of Making and Mending with Oddments and Scraps.
Preface: War is a hard, stern teacher, and its lessons are bitter in the learning; yet some of its teaching we badly needed -
and not the least important of its many lessons is the one it inculcated on the criminality of waste.
showing - Edgings, Insertions, Inlets, Corner Triangles & Camisole Tops in English,
Irish Venetian & Filet Crochet with Beautiful Designs of Natural Birds and Flowers.
Pillow Lace & Hand-worked Trimmings
Containing Directions for Making Brussels Duchesse Lace, Cluny Lace,
Torchon Lace, Maltese Lace, and a Variety of Designs for Decorative Embroidery stitches.
The Popular Knitting Book
Two “Jolly Little Books” for Little Girls
The Little Girls Sewing Book
The Little Girls Knitting and Crochet Book
The Stitchery Annual
Published from 1913
“Stitchery” was published quarterly as a supplement to “The Girl's own Paper and Women's Magazine”.
Each annual contains 4 issues of “Stitchery".
I have numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 12. I am working on collecting the others.
Although there are no dates printed in any of the annuals, they can estimated based on the advertisements.
No.1 has an advert for “The Home Art Crochet Book”, “Fancy Stitchery”, “The Mistress of the Little House”
and “The Craft of the Crochet Hook” all of which were published in 1912.
Next to this we are informed that “The October Number of the Girl's Own Paper and Women's Magazine begins a New Volume”.
“The Modern Crochet Book”, published in 1913, is not mentioned until No.5.