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Books/Fiber/Knitting/History: No Idle Hands

Filed under: Folkcat's Craft Library — folkcat at 11:10 pm on Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Title: No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting
Author: Macdonald, Anne L.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Copyright: 1988

From the flap:

No Idle Hands presents an intriguing view of the role of women in American history, as uniquely represented through the art and craft of knitting. From Colonial times to the present, women have expressed their patriotism, creativity, fashion sense, and personal style in the private practice of this rich and varied practical art form. Historian Anne Macdonald sheds new light on women’s use of knitting as a representation of their changing historical roles, and puts into sharp perspective the fascinating legacy of the womanly art of knitting.”

This is an in-depth study of the subject of knitting throughout American history, replete with period photos, illustrations, and pages from knitting books and magazines from all ages. To give you an idea how thoroughly Ms. Macdonald has covered her subject – the main text of the book is 361 pages long, but there are also 57 pages of notes, and a 38-page bibliography.

I have only skimmed my copy so far, but it looks like a fascinating read. If you’re an avid knitter who also enjoys learning about what forces shape our world, I predict you’ll enjoy this one.

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