Monday, October 3, 2016

How Knitting and Spinning Created a Country and Led to a Revolution

Way back when the U.S. wasn't the US and instead was just thirteen colonies and didn't sing the Star Spangled Banner, and there wasn't a west to be won, they were still paying taxes to England and getting nothing in return. So a group of women got together, named themselves The Daughters of Liberty, stuck their thumbs on the end of their nose and waved their fingers across the ocean to the King while saying "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, we're not buying from you anymore!"

Then they produced their own tea using local herbs which they called Liberty Tea and they spun and wove their own fabrics. They organized spinning bees to make goods for sale, because it's way more fun to spin with your friends than to spin alone as anyone knows who has taken a spinning class.  To bring attention to their cause they held spinning contests in the village squares which the whole town would attend. So while the women sat down at spinning wheels making usable yarns, the men and children stared up at the sky and spun around in circles until they fell down because that's fun.

 The Daughters of Liberty refused to buy goods from England and store keepers - many of them women - no longer carried British goods.

During the war they made uniforms, bullets, and socks. Note: the bullets were not made from the same materials as the uniforms and socks.

Plus, Deborah Sampson  and Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley (nicknamed Mary Pitcher) served as soldiers on the battlefield. Deborah went undercover as a man but Mary after bringing water to men rolled up her sleeves when her husband was injured and said "I'm taking his place" and she did.

And this little nugget from Sew Steamboat Blogs

There is even a story about “Old Mom Rinker” a fierce patriot who would pick up bits of British military information overheard by her family while tending a tavern.  She would write messages for General Washington, encase them inside a ball of knitting yarn and while knitting innocently on a hill outside of town, she would drop the balls of yarn as loyal soldiers passed below, who retrieved  them and took valuable intelligence directly to the General. 

I bet you didn't know you could use your stash as subversive acts against the government. Point that out to your husband next time he complains about it.

Besides helping to create a new country their actions started another revolution.

From Wikepedia 

The Daughters of Liberty also used the influence of the Revolutionary War to their advantage. Prior to the Revolutionary War, women were submissive and were almost considered to be slaves to their husbands. Following the war, women in America felt a newfound sense of freedom, not only from British control of the United States but from males within the country. Women began to take part in political discussions within households, and even began to entertain the ideas of separating from their husbands. The war helped to inspire the Daughters of Liberty to also become Revolutionary Women.
Samuel Adams is often quoted as referring to the Daughters of Liberty by saying "With the ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble.

So the next time someone scoffs at your knitting, crocheting, weaving and sewing, often dismissing it as "women's work" or "a silly craft" tell them that women have been making important political statements using "women's textile work" as their platform, leading to women's equality - which we're still fighting for today. You too can stick your thumb on the end of your nose and say "nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I'm part of a revolution."

Did you know that our very own Margaret is a marathon runner? Nice segue, I know. The reason I bring this up is because  Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1967. 1967! Good grief it happened so long after women got the right to vote, you would think she wanted to run for president or something. You can read about her experience here. Katherine Switzer. She endured physical and verbal attacks by men - including her own boyfriend - during the race. As an added bonus, know that medical doctors claimed that running would hurt a woman's internal organs. Yes, 1967. Some of us were alive then.

Sigh, the things we women have to endure to be taken seriously. Note: I am not mentioning at all  the current political situation in the U.S. Not at all.

Now if Katherine had been knitting while running that would have been absolutely amazing, as in Wonder Woman amazing, although I think a little too much to ask. Margaret says that when she walked to work in Calgary she used to knit while walking. I find that amazing too. I would probably fall and stab myself in the chest if I tried.

So why am I talking about things that happened in American History specifically in Massachusetts?

It relates to this week's sale.


84% acrylic, 16% wool
100 g/ 110 m/ 120 y Chunky (5)

Free pattern on ball band

Regular Price: $13.00
Sale Price: $3.25

Get the connection?

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who does not have nor plans to put marathon running or being a soldier on her bucket list but admires women who do those things.)

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