|early 1800's patchwork quilt|
Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. A lifelong dream came true with a trip to England where she was able to combine sightseeing and theater with research for her novels. Today she’s here to tell us about colonial crafts and her latest book. Learn more about Linda at her website and blog.
This is the second stop of Linda’s Rogue's Hostage Blog Tour, and she's offering a great giveaway to a lucky reader who comments during the tour. Leave a comment with your email address to be entered for a $10.00 gift certificate of the winner's choice: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, etc. Contest ends March 3. -- AP
Crafts are considered hobbies nowadays, but in Colonial America they were necessities of life. Farm women, in particular, had to know how to sew, knit, and quilt, for shops were often far away and seldom visited. Little girls learned their stitches at the same time they learned their letters, sewing samplers made of different kinds of stitches. Knitting was useful for scarves and even stockings.
Quilting was especially important, given the cold winters in America. Warm covers were needed for beds, and the layers in the quilt helped to keep in body heat. Quilted curtains hung at windows and over doors to keep out the drafts. Scraps left over from the sewing of garments were used for quilting and almost all quilts of the period were patchwork. Clothing was also quilted, including petticoats, hoods and capes as well as waistcoats for men.
Quilting bees provided an excuse for a social event. When the women were finished, the men showed up for supper and dancing. In The Seasonal Hearth: The Woman at Home in Early America by Adelaide Hechtlinger, I found a diary entry from a Virginia housewife:
April 28, 1772 - Invited to a quilting party at Martha Washington's… I have many pieces to be exchanged for other cotton goods. However, I have been doing some samplers and Susan, although only 7, has made two this winter.
Pretty nice invitation!
In my historical romance, Rogue’s Hostage, my heroine Mara finds comfort in the homely task of knitting after being taken captive and dragged far from her home.
In 1758 the Pennsylvania frontier is wild, primitive and dangerous, where safety often lies at the end of a gun. Mara Dupré's life crumbles when a French and Indian war party attacks her cabin, kills her husband, and takes her captive. Marching through the wilderness strengthens her resolve to flee, but she doesn't count on her captor teaching her the meaning of courage and the tempting call of desire.
French lieutenant Jacques Corbeau's desire for his captive threatens what little honor he has left. But when Mara desperately offers herself to him in exchange for her freedom, he finds the strength to refuse and reclaims his lost self-respect. As the shadows of his past catch up to him, Jacques realizes that Mara, despite the odds, is the one true key to reclaiming his soul and banishing his past misdeeds forever.