Date of this Version
Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, (2004).
Kvinden og Hjemmet was a magazine for women published in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1888 to 1947. “The Woman and the Home” contained patterns for clothing and fancywork, as well as household hints, recipes, serialized novels, short stories, and poetry. Everything was written in, or translated into, Norwegian.
Ida Hanson, the editor of Kvinden og Hjemmet, had emigrated from Norway in 1870. She knew first-hand the trials of adjusting to a new way of life and she wanted to ease the transition for other Norwegians by providing information on how to make clothing and household textiles in the American style.
The life that many Norwegians left was rural and traditional. Urban emigrants were familiar with Victorian and Edwardian fashions and fancywork, but for the majority of Norwegians, immigration to the United States dramatically transformed their clothing and household textiles.
Immigrant women knew some of the magazine’s handwork techniques. Crochet, tatting, crewel embroidery, and hardanger embroidery had trimmed their Norwegian folk costumes. They were not familiar with doilies and pen wipes and lambrequins, nor were they familiar with quilts. Kvinden og Hjemmet provided patterns for New World textiles in the language of the Old Country and for a significant number of women. The magazine’s readership peaked in 1907 with more than 80,000 copies sold in North America and abroad.
Focusing on the patterns published for hardanger embroidery and quilting, this paper describes how Ida Hanson and Kvinden og Hjemmet successfully facilitated the transformation of Norwegian needlewomen into American needlewomen.