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How about The Needle in the Blood (making of the Bayeux tapestry)?


Yes! I'd completely forgotten about that one, Harriet, and it's even sitting right behind me (still unread) as I type, but that's just the sort of thing I had in mind.

adele geras

And "Things to Make and Mend" by Ruth Thomas. Also(apologies for self-advertisement) my own 'Apricots at midnight' which isabout a patchwork quilt, 'The Fantora Family files' ( even has a pattern in the back) and Ithaka (weaving of course!) You will see that needleworks of all kind are a bit of an obsession!


The wife in the wonderful Carol Shields' novel Happenstance is an expert quilter and I remember that patchwork is lovingly described in her writing. My old copy has a picture of a quilt on the cover too.




Thankyou, Melody, that's another one for the wishlist!


'Frankie and Stankie' by Barbara Trapido has a lot of dressmaking in it.

Julie Fredericksen

"How to Make An American Quilt", Whitney Otto
"The Lady and the Unicorn" (tapestry weaving), Tracy Chevalier
The Friday Night Knitting Club novels, Kate Jacobs (I haven't read these)
"A Tale of Two Cities" (Mme. DeFarge knitting away at the guillotine)

Julie Fredericksen

I guess I should have read your question more carefully. "A Tale of Two Cities" is certainly not a domestic novel!


The Seamstress does have needlework and dressmaking in it but from the different perspectives of the two sisters. One is married to an outlaw and freedom fighter and her needlework is done with stolen thread and needles as she repairs and decorates the garments of the members of the outlaw band as they are on the run from the army. The other is married to the son of a well to do city dwelling family and becomes a fashionable dressmaker to society.
I found it fascinating as I knew very little about Brazil in the early 20th century so it was quite a different read but it is a big book and I ended up reading it in bits although it seemed to work for me.


Yes do read Needle in the Blood - simply stunning book. There are a series of books all about quilting by an American author, Jennifer Chiaverini and isn't there a Margaret Atwood book which has a quilting link at the start of each chapter? Alias Grace, I think

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