In 2007 Adrienne Hood published her book, Fashioning Fabric: The Arts of Spinning and Weaving In Early Canada. Ninety-nine pages long, it gives a general overview of weaving from the the arrival of Europeans through the initial establishment of factories. It includes a list of functioning, period-farms across Canada today in the back. A nice bedtime read with lots of photos, it’s a nice addition to my library, and at $.97 plush shipping I can’t complain!
Domestic Textile Production in Colonial Quebec, 1608-1840
David- Thiery Ruddel
National Museum of Science and Technology
In the early twentieth century, ethnographers and economic historians showed an interest in a variety of themes including gender roles and the early evolution of textile production. Most work since then has been ethnographically and museologically based, drawing on historical sources, such as household inventories and marriage contracts but also on artifacts, a largely unknown phenomenon to most historians. While museum curators and specialists in Quebec ethnography have emphasized the material remains of household cloth and the various steps in its fabrication, most economic historians have been primarily interested in agricultural and industrial productivity. Colonial historians, for example, use information about wool, flax and hemp in their arguments concerning self-sufficiency and commercial agriculture and rarely explore the ways in which households were organized to meet their daily needs. These historians have, therefore, neglected the role of female labour in the countryside, as well as women’s participation in the rural marketplace. Although woman’s work and clothing are also within the sphere of social history, the lack of sources and the fact that these subjects are usually treated within larger contexts has meant that cloth making and use have yet to receive the attention they deserve. After surveying the historiography related to home-made textiles, the author discusses the role of the domestic production of fabric in Quebec, as well as the subject of gender in the making of household cloth.
Fashioning Fabric: The Arts of Spinning and Weaving in Early Canada
Beautiful full-colour photographs reveal the story of spinning and weaving in Canada.
Every spring in early Canada, fluffy sheep dotted the countryside, and in summer, blue flax flowers waved in the wind. By the fall harvest, they provided raw materials for the production of wool and linen, the focus of Fashioning Fabric: The Arts of Spinning and Weaving in Early Canada.
This engaging social history explores the methods, tools, and patterns used by early immigrants to create their homemade textiles. The Acadians, Quebecois, Scots, English, American Loyalists, and German Mennonites all brought with them traditions that were reflected in their beautiful handiwork. The process was laborious — it took a full day to spin a pound of wool — but also social and creative. As settlements prospered, spinningwheel makers opened shops and commercial weavers set up operations — until industrial mills moved the whole process out of the home.
Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs, this book explains all the stages in making fabric and offers striking examples of clothing, quilts, and coverlets. The photography highlights the work of historical interpreters at prominent sites, including Black Creek Pioneer Village, Upper Canada Village, Kings Landing, Lang Pioneer Village, Highland Village Museum of Nova Scotia, and Joseph Schneider Haus. Fashioning Fabric will appeal to any reader interested in the “fabric” of everyday nineteenth-century life.