More Old Clothes

Continuing on in the vein of ancient textiles.... I found this fabulous link to an article about ancient textiles and some of the archaeological evidence of them discovered in the past few years. Click here to link.

I don't know what it is about textile history that's been really grabbing my attention lately, but I have always found it fascinating. One of my favorite reads from the last couple of years is Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. If you haven't already read it, put it on your Christmas list! Here's a link to it via Amazon.

I guess it just astounds me when I think of the trillions and trillions of yards of thread and yarn that have been produced by women over the years -- industrialization only hit in the last 250 years or so, and for that matter, the spinning wheel has only been around for what? 500 years? I mean think of it, every square inch of cloth that every person wore before that was created by hand using some form of hand spindle, for heaven's sake, and a loom, or some form of netting or knitting or crochet. Think of the yards and yards and yards of cloth... all that work.... all that time! Almost all done by women, of course. The hugeness of it boggles my mind... like when a person sees the ocean for the first time and tries to fully grasp the size of it. Maps can't make you feel the size and power of the ocean ... only seeing it and being on it can do that. I think archaeology is like that for history. You can't fully grasp the amount of work and time and effort that women have put in for ages until you start seeing their tools, like those ancient Egyptian tools I posted about earlier, or the cloth found in tombs, as in the Siberian tomb discovery written about in the above article. It makes me start thinking in terms of what I do, making sweaters to sell, using only hand-operated knitting looms, as part of a thousands-year-long tradition.... except I didn't have to spin the dang yarn myself first! Honestly, I can't imagine.

Which is not to decry the efforts of men over the years, by the way. It's not like women were working their butts off while the men lazed around.... although, don't let them know we know that. It's much more fun making them feel guilty. :D

Ancient Egyptian Spinning and Weaving

I had to share this site I discovered that showcases ancient Egyptian fiber stuff... spinning, weaving and clothing production. I am going to spend hours and hours reading through it one of these days, when I have time (soon, I hope). It has some fascinating stuff!!

(Click here to see Egyptian spindles, loom artifacts and needles.)

The whole site is interesting and worth exploring. I also found this page about Egyptian cloth and clothing to be one I want to read more carefully, too.



Felted Fortune Cookies

My dear friend Tracy the TB (Tragically Blogless) sent me this link to Felted Fortune Cookies!!! It is so cool! And from the standpoint of a person who teaches knitting, this would be the perfect little project to teach short rows and short row shaping.. or if you want to learn how to do short rows, this little project is just the ticket! Not only do you use short rows in this project, but you also can use up all those little bits of scrap yarn (as long as it will felt, so that excludes acrylic blends, superwash wool, or anything machine washable.) I love this idea! Felted fortune cookies would also make a great gift any time of year... fill them with little gift certificates for babysitting (so your friends can go to knitting circle), for house cleaning (so the recipient can knit longer), for whatever little thing your heart desires ;) ... Geez, I bet you could even turn them into catnip cat toys..... how cool would that be, to give felted fortune cookies catnip toys to a person who has a Siamese cat, heh heh. That would be cool. Hmmm. Now I want some lo mein .....



Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

The Museum of Arts & Design in Manhattan is having an exhibit called "Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting", shown July 2007 - September 2008. (Search for "lace" on the museum's webpage -- it won't let me link directly to the exhibit page.) I love the name of that exhibit! I apologize if this is old news and everyone knows about it except me... I took the summer off & missed a lot!!

From the museum-speak blurb about the exhibit:
"A provocative and timely exhibition of international artists using fiber in unexpected and unorthodox ways, this exhibition shines a spotlight on a territory in which distinctions between art, craft, and design are seen to be arbitrary and artificial. It also illuminates a field of creative practice that today is fresh, surprising, and engaging to all audiences.....Featuring 27 artists, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting will include objects ranging from microknit garments (1/144 scale) up to full-room, site specific installations. "

I would love to go see this exhibit!!! I do loves da lace. :D I would go if only to see this example of a microknit (i.e. so teensy it makes your eyes bleed to imagine knitting them) pair of gloves with Fair Isle cuffs:


Think about knitting that. And then think about knitting *two* of those little suckers... like one wouldn't be enough to make you go blind! My jaw still drops when I look at that picture.

So if you're near Manhattan, or gonna be between now and September 2008, go! See the teeny gloves! Have your picture taken next to them, send it to me and I'll give ya sumpin' nice, you betcha!