Saturday, November 5, 2016

Spared and Shared: Sewing and Cricket Coverings

Sewing, ironing, cleaning and other women's work
About 1910
Letter from Mary Ann (Arnold) Stevens to Olivia (Arnold) Hitchcock
Westminster West [Vermont]
August 31, 1846
"I suppose if you were here, you would inquire what I find to busy myself about? It is true I have an easy time comparatively speaking. I am released from those domestic cares which I used to take when at fathers. Yet you know that a minister’s wife is not entirely free from care. More is expected of her than of a doctor’s wife, or farmer’s wife. A great responsibility rests upon her and if she feels interested as she ought, she fill find enough to do.
Sewing Society about 1875
"The sewing society meets once in two weeks. They are now preparing to send a box away, not dreaded, when they meet here this week. They have quilted four bedquilts since I have been here. Miss Sawyer & her scholars pieced & quilted one."
Sewing Group 
About 1900
"How does your society flourish? I suppose you have not been able to meet with them. They are expecting a fair in the other parish in a few weeks.
I have made my traveling bag into cricket coverings. Mr. Briggs of Hun made them — charged $2.25. They are handsome but rather dear."
Mary Turley Robinson
Nantucket Ottomans, Crickets and Quilt 1938
Nantucket Historical Association

At first I assumed cricket coverings are to protect the garden plants. Or was some game of Cricket going on in Vermont?
Then I stumbled upon a print of ottomans and crickets and now I see a cricket is a subcategory of what we around here call footstools.

$2.25 was indeed a lot of money for upholstery services!

Historians love the minutiae of everyday life---the small details whether it's crickets or patchwork.
I found these two letters on Spared & Shared, a blog "Rescuing History from Old Letters One Page at a Time. "

Do a search. You might find someone you know.

Another letter from New England about upholstery:

Nashua, [New Hampshire]
January 26, 1848: Anne Eliza Shepard to Maria Leavitt (Burns) Mack
"have commenced some black patchwork of silk & velvet for chair seats. Mrs. Crosby of Lowell told me that those old fashioned chairs of which grandmother had a half dozen would be very suitable to cover & she would think that each of the sisters would like two of them.... Mrs. Crosby has an old chair fitted up & covered with some patchwork that Frances made...."


Suzanne A said...

Glory Be! The quilt behind the crickets in the 1938 photo has to be a Catharine Hummel Markey Garnhart quilt!! Any idea where that photo was taken? Where did you find it, LoC?

Suzanne A said...

I might add also that I want the top picture for my sewing room/library wall. It's fabulous, those witty girls! I wonder if they thought they had something in common with trained dogs? Love the child's enthusissm for sewing. That photo says it all, thanks for passing it along.

Jacqueline said...

Your posts are always entertaining and informative.

Nann said...

I found this about cricket / footstool:
And then this connection with the sport of cricket:
A Google search for Martha Turley Robinson turned up two references to her but nothing about her, other than that she lived on Nantucket.

Barbara Brackman said...

I wish I could remember where I found that print. I'll work on it.

Suzanne A said...

Thanks Barbara. So far I've found Mary Turley Robinson single, an artist, in the 1940 census renting in NYC on W 12th Street in the West Village. She is mentioned in one book having a house on the ocean somewhere in New England (Nantucket?) and being a Communist artist of the Left in the 1930's in another Google Book. I'm hoping to find a reference to some museum collection with this picture, but not yet.

Suzanne A said...
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