Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!!!

Hello readers!

Welcome to this week’s installment of First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!  The free book this week is an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows. ????

The sentence this week gives me a little more to work with. ????

The sentence hints at the problem which is central to the story, that of Joetta’s neutrality. This was a very precarious position for her to maintain, given that it cost many people their lives during those divisive times. Joetta is asked to join a sewing group and eventually she does. It’s an effort she believes she can tolerate since it plays to her compassion for those fighting and what they’re going through. She believes she can stay out of trouble with her neighbors and the townsfolk in a non-committal fashion.

Sewing groups sprang up all over, and while there were many items they would make, the focus was oftentimes on socks. If you’ve read a bit on the Civil War, you’ll know it was hard to keep for soldiers to keep their feet dry, and because it was so hard, this often led to diseases and infections. I did quite a bit of studying about the process of making cloth and yarn back then. One part I got caught up in was how wool was carded. This is something Joetta does while working in this sewing group.

Essentially, after sheep were shorn, the piles of wool were cleaned (water, soap, etc.) dried, then “carded.” Carding wool required wooden tools which look like big square paddles with thin metal needles. There’s a very precise way the carders are used, where sections of wool are laid carefully over the needles of one, and the other is used in a single direction brushing method. This is done repetitively to ensure the wool is the proper texture for spinning. There’s a lot of complexity to this, and on one site you might hear it’s to get the wool going in one direction while another site says that’s not at all the reason.

If you’re interested  there are videos online, but, this is the one I watched to understand the technique.

Painting by Maria Wilk, 1883




As a dedicated and regular member of the sewing group, Joetta proved herself faithful in that regard at least, even while she remained elusive in her allegiance to the Confederacy.



Personally, I don’t have the time to sew, knit or crochet, but I’ve often thought I wouldn’t mind learning, especially when I see the beautiful work that can be done by some amazingly talented people.

For a chance to win a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of When the Jessamine Grows, tell us, do you like to sew, knit or crochet? What do you enjoy making?



Pre-orders gauge the interest and signal to the publisher readers are eager for an author’s work! Please consider pre-ordering because it really does help! If you’re holding out because you might win an ARC or a finished copy, remember you can always give away the extra as a gift to one of your reader friends. ????

Pre-order links for your convenience:

Kensington Publishing Corporation

Barnes & Noble




Last, but not least, don’t forget to:

27 thoughts on “First Sentence Friday and Free Book Friday!!!”

  1. I love to crochet blankets in the winter. Not only do they keep me warmed as they’re draped across my lap, I feel productive as I crochet and watch TV when we’re plunged into darkness!

    Funny story. I am right-handed, but my left-handed mom taught me how to crochet, so I crochet left-handed!

    Thanks for the opportunity win.

    1. I’m left handed and my right handed friend taught me to crochet. Isn’t it nice making afghans in the winter?

    2. That’s wild! The only comparison I can make is I’m right-handed, but I used to water-ski (slalom) with my left foot behind – what they called goofy footed. (sounds about right!)

  2. This is certainly a topic that is near and dear to my heart! Several decades ago I attended a fibers class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. Learning to process wool to get it ready for spinning was a fascinating ordeal. Taking the raw wool from the sheep, gently massaging the fibers to rid it of dirt, yet maintaining the natural lanolin, was quite the challenge. However, as I discovered, the lanolin was truly necessary in order to be able to card and spin the wool effectively. I learned to create rolags from the carded fibers. The rolags made it easier to gently maneuver the fibers into strands of spun yarn, while using the spinning wheel or drop spindle. I was taught to use the walking wheel and the drop spindle, which inspired me to purchase a wheel and some spindles. During my teacher career of 39 years, I passed along this knowledge to many of my former middle school students. They were as fascinated by the process as I, and desired to practice often. Some of my students became Jr. Historian docents at the Malcolm Blue Farm in Aberdeen, NC. They enjoyed teaching the wool process to visitors during special events. I still have my wheel, cards, and drop spindles, so maybe I should dust them off and find some beautiful raw wool. Learning to spin wool into yarn led to my learning how to crochet. I’m addicted!

    1. Sandra! I’ve got to meet you. Maybe at the Malcolm Blue Fest coming up Sept. 23rd. Will you be there? If not, you could demonstrate carding at that event. Feel free to text me 910-929-0247. You might have known Nancy Farina and Cindy Novasil? I’m friends and was on the Board of the MCHA. Hope to meet you soon.

    2. Oh my word! This is amazing – it truly is. First of all, I picked up on the word, “ordeal.” ???? And you know, considering the work it took to make anything back in those days, I’m not surprised they didn’t have a closet full of clothes! What you describe though, IS fascinating. I have to think the lanolin gave you control of the fibers, like being able to smooth them easier (like conditioner???) etc. I saw the word “rolags” somewhere in my travails of research. I’m tee-totally impressed! I love that some of your students ended up becoming interested enough to carry on as Jr. Historians at the Malcom Blue Farm.

      AND, speaking of the Malcolm Blue Farm – I’ve been there! I actually went back in the summer of 2021 when I was doing the research for my previous book, The Saints of Swallow Hill. I have pictures, and it just so happens, my husband used to live in Aberdeen (as well as Pinehurst, Southern Pines area) and built a small scale model of the farm that might still be on display there. 🙂

  3. Oh yasss! I love knitting and crocheting. My babci (Polish for grandmother) crocheted little blankets and clothes for my dolls. I love making hats and washcloths. I just followed two crocheting pages on FB yesterday. I got hooked (lol) on it when I was very ill with Lupus and then kidney failure. I’ve made some neat things, then usually give them away. I have lots of pictures of my creations if you all would like to see them. Have a good weekend!

    1. I used to love that my mom would sew clothes for all of my dolls. I think the only thing I ever learned to sew was when I was in 7th grade, and had a class in Home Ec. I sewed a hideous skirt as my class project. ???? It was bright red with different color rickrack (?) on it. My mother really gave me the side-eye when I came swanking out to the breakfast table with that on.

  4. I’ve dabbed in sewing a little but not too much lately. Mostly simple items like a tote or hemming things.(because I’m a shorty) I do macrame, though, which is along that line a little. I recently made a moon dreamcatcher/macramé wall hanger for my soon-to-be Grand-babies room. Parents theme is moon and stars for baby room so thought I would make a little something from Grandma Nancy.

    1. I recall those macrame things it seemed everyone had – it was art to put on the wall, and seemed like it was a long triangle with wooden beads. That dreamcatcher/macrame wall hanger is sure to be one of those heirloom type items!

  5. I use to love to sew and crochet, but now I just sew my son’s and grandson’s rips on their clothes! As I’m 80 years old now, it’s to hard for me to crochet anymore! Reading and reviewing is my pastime now!

    1. Somebody’s got to keep perfectly good clothing from being tossed for a little rip here or there. I CAN sew on a button if need be, but that’s about the extent of it for me!

  6. I sewed a dress and apron in Home EC. I’ve crafted many items and sewed them. I see when I hem pants or make waist band smaller or arm holes smaller under arms.

  7. I learned to crochet several years back, when I asked a friend to teach me. I’m glad I learned. I think of my friend every time I crochet. Since then I’ve made afghans for coworkers, baby blankets, and tons and tons of chemo caps for the breast cancer center in the big city nearby. The cancer center treated my mom so well when she took treatments, and I’m paying it back, and forward, to all those ladies (and men, too) who are walking the breast cancer path. I hope I made a difference in someone’s treatments and my hat brightened their day a bit.

    1. I want you to know, when I was doing chemo/radiation, and the oncology nurse came around with a basket of knitted caps, I took one and LOVED it. Because I lost all of my hair (twice – once in 2017 and again in 2019) that cap was THE only way I could sleep at night. It kept my head warm, and was so soft. I loved mine. I gave it to my mother to use when she got her cancer, and lost her hair. She wore it until the day she passed. You’re definitely doing something VERY meaningful. I can attest to that, personally. <3

  8. I knit, crochet, sew and quite a few other crafts. I knit and crochet hats and scarves to donate to local non-profits. I enjoy the process of making items and feeling a sense of accomplishment that comes from a completed project.

    1. I can relate to that! It’s sort of crazy, but I feel like this about cleaning house, washing my vehicle, baking a cake, etc. (writing a book!) When it’s finished, it’s so gratifying.

  9. I used to needlepoint and cross-stitch. I took a sewing class one summer and had to go back an extra week for remediation! I make soap and candles these days.

    1. I know what you mean – I have a friend that knows how to . . . TAT. I mean, we’re talking the most beautiful, finely turned little delicate pieces that are so intricate. I think I would go insane.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top