No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting

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Random House Publishing Group, Nov 17, 2010 - Crafts & Hobbies - 512 pages
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“Fascinating . . . What is remarkable about this book is that a history of knitting can function so well as a survey of the changes in women’s rolse over time.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
An historian and lifelong knitter, Anne Macdonald expertly guides readers on a revealing tour of the history of knitting in America. In No Idle Hands, Macdonald considers how the necessity—and the pleasure—of knitting has shaped women’s lives.
 
Here is the Colonial woman for whom idleness was a sin, and her Victorian counterpart, who enjoyed the pleasure of knitting while visiting with friends; the war wife eager to provide her man with warmth and comfort, and the modern woman busy creating fashionable handknits for herself and her family. Macdonald examines each phase of American history and gives us a clear and compelling look at life, then and now. And through it all, we see how knitting has played an important part in the way society has viewed women—and how women have viewed themselves.
 
Assembled from articles in magazines, knitting brochures, newspaper clippings and other primary sources, and featuring reproductions of advertisements, illustrations, and photographs from each period, No Idle Hands capture the texture of women’s domestic lives throughout history with great wit and insight.

“Colorful and revealing . . . vivid . . . This book will intrigue needlewomen and students of domestic history alike.”—The Washington Post Book World

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About the author (2010)

Anne L. Macdonald was for fifteen years chairperson of the history department of the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. She was the author of No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting and Feminine Ingenuity: Women and Invention in America. She died in 2016.

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