Yeah it's brilliant. From what I remember it shows how embroidery was involved in the social construction of femininity at that time, and how that once embroidery was passed from the male sphere to the female sphere it was severely devalued (surprise surprise!) Excellent insight into women's social history too and the intersection of class and gender.
If you're into textiles then try "Women's Work" by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, that's really good too.
Let me know when you've read it and what you thought of it -
I got a copy from the library but think it was a bit of an optimistic choice when dd2 was tiny so didn't get very far! Will get it again soon. I find the annoying thing about crafting is that I can't read at the same time so have to choose between one or the other.
That looks really interesting, thanks for the recommendation. Did anybody see the (tongue in cheek) article in yesterday's Observer? The hell of handcrafts "...all this craftiness is but another ruse by The Man to engage women in trivial pursuits so that they won't remember to found their own companies, and become sidetracked instead into making a tablecloth for the boardroom and frosting the glass ceiling. "