Thursday, September 25, 2014

From Handwork to Hobbies

Hi all!  Please welcome Kathleen Ernst today on Killer Hobbies.  Her newest mystery is her thirtieth book!  (I must now go and hide under my bed in shame.)  Leave a comment below before 9/28 to win any of her Chloe Ellefson mysteries. Welcome Kathleen, and please tell us more about your killer hobbies!

During my tenure as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, a huge outdoor museum owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, I spent a lot of time learning about the activities that kept 19th-century women busy.  Newly-arrived immigrant women would have been bewildered by the notion of a “hobby.”  They sometimes did beautiful handwork (knitting, weaving, basketry), but functionality trumped all. That’s me in the photo below, weaving linen.
 

However, wealthier or more settled women might take pride in displaying types of craftwork that took time (beadwork, paperpunch embroidery, tatting), but had no practical use.

 


The heroine of my Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series is as fascinated with historical domestic arts as I am.  (Go figure!)  One of the pleasures of writing this series is the opportunity it provides for me to feature and explore a variety of folk art traditions.  And since nothing is better than experiential research, I’ve been introduced to some fun activities, including Norwegian rosemaling,

 

and a Danish needle lace called hedebo.

 
The next Chloe Ellefson mystery, Tradition of Deceit, features Polish culture.  I decided to incorporate traditional Polish papercutting, called wycinanki, into the story.



I’ve spent the last year taking wycinanki classes and happily snipping away.



Some people write about their hobbies.  Writing the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries has given me several new ones!  Curious?  You’ll find lots more information about the books—and the handwork—on my website, www.kathleenernst.com.

Bio:

Tradition of Deceit is Kathleen Ernst’s thirtieth book. In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many children’s books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards. 

 
http://www.amazon.com/Tradition-Deceit-Chloe-Ellefson-Mystery/dp/0738740780/


Synopsis:

Curator and occasional sleuth Chloe Ellefson is off to Minneapolis to help her friend Ariel with a monumental task. Ariel must write a proposal for a controversial and expensive restoration project: convert an abandoned flour mill, currently used as shelter by homeless people, into a museum. When a dead body is found stuffed into a grain chute, Chloe's attention turns from milling to murder.

Back in Milwaukee, Chloe's love interest Roelke has been slammed with the news that a fellow officer was shot and killed while on duty. Sifting through clues from both past and present, Chloe and Roelke discover dangerous secrets that put their lives—and their trust in each other—at risk.

Giveaway Info:

Leave a comment before 9/28 for a chance to win any one of Kathleen's Chloe Ellefson mysteries: Old World Murder, The Heirloom Murders, The Light Keeper’s Legacy, Heritage of Darkness, or Tradition of Deceit (November, 2014). Visit Kathleen at www.kathleenernst.com, www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author, or www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com for more information.

17 comments:

Dawn Frazier said...

These books sound great!

Barb Starr said...

That sounds like so much fun! And a Polish hobby? PERFECT for Milwaukee (and Chicagoland, too!!) Looking forward to this book!

kiki said...

I love different hobbies, it would be great to read about some.

DogsMom said...

I am a Wisconsin girl too, and have spent many reinacting weekends learning "old" crafts.
I love when they are included in my favorite mystery books.

Miriam Lubet said...

It's nice to meet another author.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks all for responding! Kathleen is on a writing retreat with limited access to e-mail, but she will read your comments soon. I'll contact the winner on Monday!

petite said...

What a wonderful post. This is real talent and the hobby is great.thanks.

traveler said...

I enjoyed this unique and fascinating introduction to an author.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Thanks so much for stopping, everyone! I'm one of those lucky people who get to spend time doing "work" I love. It sounds like there are some kindred souls here. When I was a curator I often looked at some piece of handwork, created unknown, perhaps the only tangible left of a talented woman's life. Now, as an author, I get to fill in the blanks in fiction. I hope you enjoy reading the Chloe mysteries as much as I enjoy writing them!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, Kathleen--
Welcome to Killer Hobbies! I'm really impressed by the variety of crafts you described.

Anonymous said...

I'm a crafter, too, who attended the Daughters of Norway convention in Minneapolis last summer, and then drove to my hometown of Milwaukee. I can't wait to read how you combined both cities in your new book.

slh111 said...

Sounds fascinating!

LuAnn Braley said...

My other was born in Switzerland, so crafts from the 'old countries' are very important to me. How perfect to marry heritage crafts and mysteries. Heading to GoodReads to check out more!

Kris said...

The picture of the paper cutting craft is really neat, I think that would be something fun to try!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I'm most grateful to you, and especially to Tracy Webber for hosting.

Linda, I'm delighted to be here. LuAnn, my father's parents were born in the Canton of Bern, so Swiss culture is especially dear to me. And Kris - paper cutting is great fun. It's a craft that can be approached at any level, most basic to amazingly complicated and delicate, with minimal supplies needed. I'll be posting more about it on my own blog in coming weeks.

whitesky4 said...

Very cool papercuttings!!!!!

Tracy Weber said...

Kiki--you are the winner! Please e-mail me at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com with your address and I will pass it on!