Harriet’s Handwork – Thimbles

Harriet’s Handwork 1820-1840 by Betsy Chutchian.

Image by Betsy Chutchian.

The prints and colors of Harriet’s Handwork were inspired by a girl named Harriet, and by an antique quilt in my collection dating to 1820-1840.

Image by Betsy Chutchian.

Harriet Hanson Robinson (1825-1911) began working as a bobbin doffer at a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts at the age of 10 to help support her widowed mother and family. Her job was to exchange full bobbins with empty ones on the spinning looms, a task she performed for fifteen minutes every hour, earning $2.00 a week.

Image by Betsy Chutchian.

At age 11, when the mill workers went on strike over lowering wages­­ she eagerly participated.  After the strike ended, Harriet continued working and was eventually promoted to “drawing in girl” – the process of using long hooks to grab threads and draw them through the harness and reeds of a loom after the warp threads have been loaded.

Harriet continued to work at the mill until she married.  In her later years, Harriet actively participated in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

The prints and colors in Harriet’s Handwork were reproduced from an antique quilt dating to 1820-1840.  Shades of chocolate brown, berry red and sweet pink mix with a biscuit-colored neutral, and my favorite Plantation Linen printed “near solid” is included in this collection.

There are 38 prints in the collection – including my favorite Plantation Linen textured solid.

Spring Market in Portland – it couldn’t have been less than five months ago?  The appliqué small quilt in the upper left is the center block from Gather Around.  Below it is Hot for Chocolate.  I also created a light version of Hot for Chocolate Hearts in White Chocolate.

The other quilt is Winding Bobbins.

I’d also like to introduce Betsy’s Thimbles – the result of a collaboration with Paper Pieces.

Image by Betsy Chutchian.

The Thimble needle book shown here is made with English Paper Piecing papers.  The papers have been sized to fit Moda’s pre-cuts – Mini Charms, Charm Squares and Jelly Roll strips.  There is also a plastic template to make rotary cutting easier.

With Market in just a few short weeks, I’m busy making quilts for my next collection.  It is titled Susanna’s Scraps.  

But more about this one next time.

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19 thoughts on “Harriet’s Handwork – Thimbles

  1. adore these fabrics! I live in Manchester, NH – we had textile mills (Amoskeag Mills) here until the 1930s. The Lowell Mills and Amoskeag created a rich history in southern NH and northern MA.

  2. Love the fabrics! Thank you for sharing history so interesting! How small is the wedding ring? Do you have cutting directions for it? As well as needle case? Thank you.

  3. LOVE this fabric line and have been eagerly waiting for it to appear in my shop! And the story behindthe fabric makes it even more special. Thank you, Betsy!

  4. Once again your colors have tugged at my heart as they are my “go to” comfort colors and if I could, I would own all of them in great quantity. Thanks for the history lesson, too.

  5. Beautiful collection!! Which of the Paper Pieces templates would fit on the 2.5×2.5″ pieces? I went to their site and there is no description of the sizes with the templates. Thanks!! Helen

  6. Wonderful line & I love that your fabric lines always tell stories. The color remind me of a line you did, ages ago, called Hot for Chocolate. I still hoard, err, have some of those fabrics.

    1. Hi Sieg – Moda will at Market and Festival, and the booth number is the same – No. 334.

      But the booth at Fall Festival is the Moda Bake Shop and it is only for exhibition, not for retail sales. But if you stop by, there will be demos, a few giveaways, and information on which vendors at Festival do have Moda Fabrics in their booths. 🙂

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