Local seller

United Kingdom-based shop

You’re supporting a shop close to home with your purchase.

| 506 sales | 5 out of 5 stars

Their Darkest Materials - Book (Physical Copy)


Local taxes included (where applicable), plus postage
Arrives soon! Get it by 02-06 Dec.
02-06 Dec.

  • Handmade
  • Dispatches from a small business in

    United Kingdom

  • Materials: Paper, ink, printed in UK

A compelling history of the dark side of material culture - especially textiles.

'Their Darkest Materials' is about the seamy, dark, sometimes creepy underside of material culture and textile history. A sort of 'Horrible History' for grown-ups.

In 'Their Darkest Materials', we creep through nineteenth century asylums, debtors' prisons, charity schools, pubs and marketplaces; the 'stews' (brothels) of the city, school-rooms, collapsing London houses, workhouse toilets, small-town waxwork exhibitions in back rooms and see ladies knitting in grand Georgian drawing rooms; following the unravelling thread of history's textiles.

We'll find out which Victorian novelist's mauve ribbon was trapped in her coffin lid and discover clothing-as-evidence in an infamous London burking case ("Burking" as in "Burke and Hare").

And we'll watch a Yorkshire farmer's wife knit a blue stocking on the morning of her murder and a caddish, handsome soldier murdering his stocking-knitting new wife. And we'll spend time in the county asylum with a world famous dyer's incendiarist wife and an embroiderer who used her art to say the unsayable.


1. Grim and Less Grim Deaths: The Approach of the Destroyer, the Partly-Murdered Knitter & Other Tales
2. The Bewitched Spinning Wheel & Other Tales
3. Murder, Mayhem and Knitting as Evidence
4. The Small Woman: The Nineteenth Century Needlewoman
5. "Virtute et Industria". The Stick, the Carrot and the Virtuous Child & Also the Trope of the Extremely Old Knitter
6. The Lost: Runaways - Slaves, Servants, Apprentices and The Captive
7. "Twelve Bobbins Spinning". Charity Schools & Poor Houses
8. Prisons and Idle Loiterers
9. The Dyer Who Watched Storms and also Concerning A Properly Shaped Female
10. Nathaniel Smith, the Knitting Schoolmaster

232 pages. Perfect-bound paperback. Printed in UK. Published by Pretty Baa Lambs Press.

ISBN: 978-1-9163391-0-1
e-ISBN: 978-1-9163391-1-8

PDF version (non interactive) in separate listing.

If you'd like a signed copy, please fill out the box!

NOTE: We are now back mailing out every couple of days as we are printing out labels at home and not having to expose ourselves or our local PO workers to any risk, that way. It also means you, our valued customers, will be getting your mitts on the book faster, again.

Whilst UK postal services are still up and running, we have noticed some considerable delays with US in particular - which means we are now only sending abroad, tracked. So please be patient with us and your postie!



This is an estimate based on the purchase date, the seller's location, and processing time, and the delivery destination and carrier.

Other factors – such as delivery company delays or placing an order on weekend/bank holiday – may push the arrival of your item beyond this date.

Learn more

02-06 Dec.

30 Nov.

After you place your order, HemingwayandHunt will take 1-2 business days to prepare it for dispatch.

01-02 Dec.

HemingwayandHunt puts your order in the post.

02-06 Dec.

Estimated to arrive at your doorstep 02-06 Dec.!

Cost to deliver


Etsy offsets carbon emissions from delivery and packaging on this purchase.
Etsy offsets carbon emissions from delivery and packaging on this purchase.
Returns & exchanges
Return & exchange window

Etsy Purchase Protection: Shop confidently on Etsy knowing if something goes wrong with an order, we've got your back for all eligible purchases — see programme terms

There was a problem calculating your postage. Please try again.

Dispatches from United Kingdom

Penelope Hemingway

Penelope Hemingway

Owner of HemingwayandHunt

Message Penelope

This seller usually responds within 24 hours.

98 reviews

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Purchased for a friend who loves it! Great comms too 💛

Julie Nelson Rhodes 10 Jun, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

A completely fascinating journey into this quirky area of history. I haven't finished the book yet. I am still on the journey. The illustrations are super.

Frances Earnshaw 15 Mar, 2020

5 out of 5 stars

The books arrived promptly and were very well packed - thank you! I am looking forward to giving one copy of the book to a friend who likes knitting and (reading about) murders, and reading the other myself having heard the author talking about one of the stories on a podcast.

Avril Huston 08 Feb, 2021

5 out of 5 stars

Received this a few days ago, in perfect condition and right on time. I haven't had the chance to sit down with it yet, but it looks to be a delightful read. Thanks so much, Penelope! I look forward very much to reading Their Darkest Materials!

TheLibrarian2016 20 May, 2020

Disclaimer: Etsy assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, labelling, or content of sellers' listings and products. Electrical or electronic products may pose a risk of fire or electrocution. Vintage, handmade, refurbished, or modified electrical or electronic products may not meet current safety standards and may not be in safe working order. Inspect carefully before use and message the seller if you have concerns relating to the product. Do not use a vintage electrical or electronic item if its safety can't be verified. To reduce the risk of fire, never leave vintage electrical or electronic products plugged in unattended. See Etsy's Terms of Use for more information.