“Prayed to God, Knitted a Stocking”: Needlework on a Nineteenth-Century Russian Estate

In: Experiment
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  • 1 Queens College, City University of New York

This article explores the needlework practices of a provincial gentrywoman in mid-nineteenth century Russia. Natal’ia Chikhacheva (1799-1866) managed her family’s modest estates in Vladimir province, in the heart of the textile region surrounding the village of Ivanovo. She oversaw serf labor in textiles, especially the growing and processing of flax and weaving, but she also did spinning, knitting, sewing, and lacemaking herself. The products of her needles were used not only by her own family, but also by their serfs, while some were sold for profit or given as gifts to friends. Chikhacheva provides a rare glimpse of everyday Russian needlework of the period, its uses, and cultural associations.

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