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Inside the Ribbon Tin: April

April 21, 2014

IMG_1078It is time to shake out the Ribbon Tin and see what is inside. Inside the Ribbon Tin is a monthly series featuring a miscellany of bits and bobs, odds and sods, knicks and knacks, all sorts of interesting things related to textiles and making.

First out, something I found in Our Dear Boy’s Storyworld cards…The Spindle of Loss.

IMG_2351Storyworld cards are a series of fairytale and fantasy cards designed to help children create stories and adventures, a beautiful version of Rory’s Storycubes. According to the back of the card, the Spindle of Loss can unravel anything…how terrifying! The archetype of the spinner of human fates is not uncommon in mythology.  There are the Germanic Norns, and the Greek Moirai. But they are always spinning a thread rather than unravelling.  A thread may break and then of course you die, but what crazy, scary kind of being goes around unravelling things?  The Spindle of Loss is too freaky for me…fingers crossed I don’t turn up that card when we play next.

Perhaps the Ribbon Tin has something to sweeten that spooky card?

IMG_2353How about a boiled sweet from Sovereign Hill, a historical park and open-air museum exploring the Ballarat Gold Rush in the 1850s?  Brown’s Confectionery Manufactory was a Ballarat institution from the 1850s to the 1970s. When the business finally closed the family donated the factory machinery to Sovereign Hill. We saw the sweets being made by hand, being pulled on a steel hook and rolled through a cranked Victorian sweet mold. These sweets are marvellous things and still produced in many of the original Victorian flavours including musk drops, lemon drops, humbugs, raspberry drops, butterballs, aniseed drops and barley sugar.  You can even buy them online.

IMG_2357This is one of my favourite books.  It gets read and reread. I have just been reading about Ancient Greek clay loom weights.  The weights were used to add tension to the warp threads of an upright wall loom. They have an image of an owl spinning wool stamped on them.

Athena loom weightThe image comes from the collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, there is only a sketch in my book. The owl is Athena, goddess of spinning and weaving. You can see the wool basket at her bottom right. Her clever hands guide the spindle. These weights date around 400 BCE. Someone held these, used them, wove stuff…spine tingling.

I am still living on this wee gem from the Craftivism historical series a couple of weeks ago. Knitters overlooking rail yards in occupied Belgium during World War II were recruited to encode train timetables in their knitting for the Resistance.  Naturally, I slip this into any small boy war conversation that I can, following it with the importance of hand knitted socks in combating trench foot in the First World War…to great wonder and awe.

knitting-book NZIn finding this pic from New Zealand History Online, I stumbled upon The Sock Museum, an archive of historically important socks!

Twist Collective Spring Edition has an article on shearing sheep in the US. The farmer is getting less for the fleece than it costs to transport them to the market. Some farmers just burn the fleece because it is cheaper than to try and sell it. It was that sad quirk of modern sheep raising that prompted Jillybean Yarns to start processing and dyeing fleece from her local farms in Somerset, UK.  

I have been intrigued with the possibilities of children’s representations of place after seeing this lovely post from Riverwife Clay. Using clay, children create contour layers and geographical features like houses, trees, ovals and water bodies.  The contour layers are not fused so they can be disassembled and reassembled in different ways.  We live on a hill and I would be keen to see how our kids represent their neighbourhood in a three dimensional way.

I will leave you now with a rhyme from prolific New Zealand author, Margaret Mahy.

If I had a needle, a needle,

I would sew you a wonderful cake,

I would crochet the cream,

I would stitch like a dream,

I would not make a single mistake.

I would fasten it together with buttons,

Embroider it yellow and green,

But there could be hitches with cakes made of stitches,

I’ll knit you a sandwich instead.