A friend has recommended this book to me:
Reading the OED by Ammon Shea
I might find more good information like this:
"Tricoteuse" is an even less useful word than peristeronic, in that it means "a woman who knits; specifically, a woman who during the French Revolution would attend the guillotinings and knit while the heads were rolling."
Things to aspire to be??? Ah Madame DeFarge, I presume.