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. Come and see what is inside the Ribbon Tin this month.
First out of the tin this month is this marvellous pin cushion made by Our Dear Niece.
She is in junior high school and revealing herself to be a very self directed, innovative maker. Lacking a sewing machine, she hand stitches everything, including purses and bags. The Force is strong in this one.
For those who have not yet encountered the Force, the Handmakers Factory in Melbourne, is trying to spread basic craft skills to more folks. Through Dreamstarter crowd funding, they are attempting to raise enough money to custom fit a Mend It Workshop truck which would see a mobile sewing centre upskilling folks to mend zips and put hems instead of throwing stuff away. Give them a hand if you can.
Reading about spinning all the yarn you need to weave every cloth and fabric needed by your family gives you an appreciation of the importance of mending. AnnieCholewa.com is offering a delightful opportunity to join a read-along of my fave and yours, Women’s Work: the first 20,000 years, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. This is a book to read and reread so I reckon I might just hop along to this read-along.
In honour of the end of Wovember, I thought I would share this description of sheep shearing from a book I am reading at the moment, Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Farm (2013) by Barbara Parry.
The process of separating sheep from fleece is a bit like unzipping a baby in a bunting. Andy starts by unbuttoning the belly wool with a series of short strokes of the shears called ‘blows’. Protecting the udder with his hand, he works the blade carefully around the crutch, the ewe’s hindquarters. He next unfleeces the left rear leg, then unzips the upper portion of the fleece at the inside of the neck like a sweater, by working the comb upward from brisket to chin. He cleans the face and strips the left front shoulder. A deft 90-degree pivot of a ewe on her fanny [rump] is followed by the long blows that run the entire length of the sheep from tail to ears. He then strips the right flank. There is no rushing here, this is not a race. Working entirely within the moment to the rattle and hum of the shears, we breathe and channel our collective energy. The sheep stay mellow. The fleeces are exquisite.
I imagine when you have that kind of skill, the work almost becomes an act of non-doing where the sheep, the shearer and the blade move almost as one in the separation of fleece from sheep. No wonder the sheep are mellow, I feel mellow just reading it!
And that’s all folks…till next month.