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Victorian Needlework explores these ubiquitous pastimes—their practice and their meaning in women's lives. Covering the period from 1837–1901, the book looks specifically at the crafts themselves examining quilting, embroidery, crochet, knitting, and more. It discusses required skills and the techniques women used as well as the technological innovations that influenced needlework during this period of rapid industrialization.

This book is unique in its comprehensive treatment of the topic ranging across class, time, and technique. Readers will learn what needlework meant to "ladies," for whom it was a hobby reflecting refinement and femininity, and discover what such skills could mean as a "suitable" way for a woman to make a living, often through grueling labor. Such insights are illustrated throughout with examples from women's periodicals, needlework guides, pattern books, and personal memoirs that bring the period to life for the modern reader.

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