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Inside the Ribbon Tin: September

September 14, 2014

It is time to open the Ribbon Tin again and see what is inside.

IMG_1078Inside 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…a simmering Pineapple Stacks Hat.

Sweatyknitter PineappleImage by permission of Karen Berthine

Karen from The Sweaty Knitter blog, sent me this pic recently.  She has been knitting up my Pineapple Stacks Hat design for various members of her family.  If that isn’t thrill enough for me, Karen also dyes or over dyes yarns she doesn’t like the colour of, into favourite colours for her family.  She dyed up some yarn in hot pink for her granddaughter, then overdyed the remaining yarn for a hat for her grandson.  In this dye pot, you can see an adult-sized Pineapple Stacks in the process of being transformed.  I love that Karen uses the yarn she has to hand, using dye to transform an unappealing colour into a personal favourite.

Next is something exciting for Victorians, Cheryl Crosbie from Granite Haven is having an open day on Wednesday 12th of November near Euroa, Central Victoria.  You can meet the Gotland sheep, a rare breed sheep in Australia, and llamas she raises and purchase fleece, fibre and yarn all processed in Australia.  Gotland is just lovely to knit with.  This is the Maldon Made shawl I knit up with Cheryl’s yarn a few months ago.  If you can’t go, you can buy from the website.

IMG_3403If that wasn’t exciting enough, how about this?  A group of women are recreating the Eureka Flag, our other national flag.  It was made famous by the Eureka Stockade and infamous by the Builders Labourers Federation.

800px-Union_Jack_at_the_Eureka_StockadeImage of the Union Jack and the Eureka Flag flying at the Eureka Stockade, 3 December 1854, taken from a series of illustrated history resources found in some Australian schools in the 1950s, from WikiCommons

This whopping big flag, 2m x 4.5m was stitched up in 1854 by a small group of women who were living on the goldfields, Anastasia Hayes, Anastasia Withers, Anne Duke and probably Eliza D’Arcy. Underneath it, most of Ballarat swore to stand by each other and fight for their rights against onerous government imposed mining licences. The original flag was taken by one of the troopers after the rebellion was put down and before folks knew better, about 40 per cent was cut up for souvenirs.  Click here for a look at the original.  The replica is being made for the 160th anniversary of the Stockade and has already taken 3 stitchers, 45 hours and they haven’t got to the stars yet!

They were tough, resourceful women in 19C Australia. I have been reading about Pru Arber (1852 – 1932) and she was as tough as barbed wire. Pru was born in Western Australia of immigrant parents.  She had no formal education and learned bush skills from the Aboriginal children living nearby. She acquired her first flock of sheep through hand rearing orphan lambs and by sixteen was living away from her family with her sheep, sleeping in a possum-skin cloak. She raised and bred more sheep and sold their fleeces. By the time she died as a very wealthy woman, she held multiple freehold properties and pastoral leases of over 13,000 acres.

IMG_4121I read about Pru in a beautiful book called Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: 100 women, 100 brooches, 100 stories. It is the book of an exhibition held earlier this year in Sydney where 100 jewellers were commissioned to make brooches celebrating the lives of 100 notable Australian women. Rachaeldaisy knows how much I love both historical anecdote and things hand made and sent me a copy.

IMG_4126This is the brooch designed by Nicola Bannerman for Pru Arber. It represents wool fibre, the stars of the night sky and the wealth she made from land and wool.

Another notable woman featured in the exhibition was Margaret Ann Field (1842-1936).  Margaret came to Australia from Scotland and married a mining engineer.  The whole family would travel with him on his expeditions to remote parts of Australia.  Whilst travelling and living rough and raising children, Margaret became a self taught astronomer, publishing a guide to the southern constellations and a crochet pattern book of designs based on stars and constellations.  Australian Lace-Crochet: Easy and Artistic (1909) was endorsed by Queen Alexandra and can still be purchased here.

Margaret Field laceThis is a pic from the Powerhouse collection of one of her lace samples.

IMG_4125Alice Whish designed this silver brooch for Margaret. It is based on the above design.

And that’s all folks!