It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m from Appalachia. The Huntington, West Virginia area specifically. It’s no secret that I’m proud to have strong, deep Appalachian roots. Part of my family has been in that part of West Virginia since before there was a West Virginia. Hell, even before there was a United States.
Doing things by hand and creating are strong traditions in Appalachia, but I’ve never seen much or heard much about the fiber arts in Appalachia. Quilting? Yes. Anything else? No. So I started Googling and found some books.
I’ve just started to dive into them. Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands covers a little bit of everything. There’s a section on spinning and weaving, natural dyeing, and a brief mention of knitting and crocheting.
It would be possible to mention a great number of examples of work with the sewing needle, the knitting needle, and the crochet hook in every Highland state, but such a list once begun would never end.
Textile Art from Southern Appalachia: the quiet work of women is almost solely focused on weaving. There are many examples of woven “kivers” or “kiverlets” (translation from Appalachian English: “cover” or “coverlet”) with the stories of the women who created them. There are so many colors and patterns here! I have no desire to learn how to weave, but I can see a great deal of knitting inspiration coming from these pages. I’m excited to learn more and perhaps reinterpret some old stories and crafts on my needles.