Knitting News: Is That a Scarf Tied Around That Tree?

10929024_10152695917758262_2448200790972217037_nNo, it’s not a yellow ribbon, it’s probably not even yellow. Neither is it another form of yarn bombing, which is sort of wasteful when you think about it. Rather, there’s a new trend spreading across the country. People are tying scarves, handmade or store bought, around trees is urban areas, parks, and neighborhoods. They’re labelled with messages like, “No, I’m not lost. Please take me with you if you’re cold. Hope it helps.” Since the trend started in Seymour,Indiana, church groups, schools fundraisers and kind random strangers from almost every state are pitching in to make sure a good portion of the 1.56 million homeless Americans are a little warmer this winter! A bit of good news in this most difficult of months following the elections. A fuller version of this heartwarming little story can be found on Facebook or at HeartlandEternal.com.

Going down right now to my stash of handknits to find a couple to share.

The Real Thing: 19th Century Farmer’s Work Trousers

Wow. Recently published by NorfolkMuseumsCollections.org.

Rare surviving examples of early 19th century work clothes were found stuffed up a chimney in Toft monks, Norfolk.

It is uncertain whether the clothes were placed up the chimney to stop draughts or as is often the case with objects such as shoes and bottles, as a ritual protection against evil.

The light brown trousers have been heavily patched and repaired.

Although everyone except the very poorest would have had an outfit saved for their ‘Sunday best’ most labourers wouldn’t have had the spare income to buy new work clothes. Clothing was continually repaired and recycled, therefore remaining examples of this type are incredibly rare . Extra money could be earned at busy harvest time and this often supplied the money for any clothing and footwear needed over winter.

Date made:
1800 – 1830

Stone Age Spinning

Just read a fascinating article describing the discovery of ancient, twisted, wild flax fibers, embedded in soil samples taken from the Dzudzuana Cave in the Republic of Georgia.

Carbon dating places the habitation of the cave to the Upper Paleolithic period (32,000 to 11,000 years ago). The evidence, microscopic though it may be, suggests that the invention of twisted fiber cordage or twine dates from this early era. Cord remnants dating from 19,000 to  17,000 years ago were previously discovered  in Lascaux, France, and at the Ohalo site in Israel, but the fibers used to make the twine are still unidentified. The Dzudzuana flax fibers also contain knots and traces of color, suggesting that dyeing might also have been practiced, though it is equally possible that the color was absorbed simply from contact with mineral sources.  Representations of woven cloth appear on figurines of the time.

It’s intriguing to picture Stone Age people wearing turquoise and pink linen! But whatever the truth of that matter, the craft that we now refer to as spinning appears to have developed long before anyone thought.

Photos of the flax fibers
and the full article.

 

Knitting News: Amsterdam’s Lace Garden

photo by Jeroen Musch

Anouk Vogel is an award winning Swiss landscape architect who is based in Amsterdam. Among her many avant garde projects is the Lace Garden, located in the courtyard of a city housing block and completed in 2011.    Already nicknamed the Bride’s Garden, the enclosed garden is planted with a collection of white-flowering shrubs, perennials and bulbs that together form a lace knitting its way in-between the existing and new trees. From one side, the garden can be viewed through a standard wire mesh fence with a lavish and poetic lacy twist in it.  One of the most beautiful and surprising things I’ve seen in a long time, and one day soon, I hope to see it in person. While the lace design itself is made from fencing mesh, it’s derived from actual lace patterns. Inspirational!

Textile History: The Oldest Trousers in the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, pants. The earliest known pair anywhere. Business Insider just posted an article about an archaeological find in Western China, the graves of two nomadic horsemen that are about 3,000 years old. The researchers, from the German Archaeological Institute, say that this discovery supports the theory that trousers were initially designed for riders to provide them with the protection and freedom of movement that tunics, gowns, and loincloths simply cannot. They speculate that the men in the graves were herders and warriors, judging from the goods buried with them, such as a wooden bit and a bow.

“Each pair of trousers was sewn together from three pieces of brown-colored wool cloth, one piece for each leg and an insert for the crotch. The tailoring involved no cutting: Pant sections were shaped on a loom in the final size. Finished pants included side slits, strings for fastening at the waist and woven designs on the legs.” The team calls them “a ground-breaking achievement in the history of cloth making.”
Read more: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/first-pants-worn-horse-riders-3000-years-ago#ixzz33RgheVT5

 

Glamorous Knitters : Annette Funicello

Anyone who grew up in the 1950’s remembers Annette Funicello, the most popular of the Mouseketeers on the original Mickey Mouse Club, which ran from 1955-59.   Here she is, apparently on the set, busily getting started on a new knitting project.  Annette grew up to star in a series of beach movies with Frankie Avalon, but after she married, did only occasional acting. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987, she became a spokesperson for treatment and research, and was widely respected for the courage and dignity with which she coped with her own disease. Annette died today, April 8, 2013, from complications of MS. When I was in third grade, I wanted to be Annette. May she rest in peace.