From the prosaic to the outrageous: a source of knitting history

I think I mentioned that I’ve been looking for tea cosy patterns on the web. What an education I’ve received along the way. Most recently, I discovered that The Powerhouse Museum has an eclectic collection of items to do with knitting. There are some interesting descriptions and pictures on the Museum site.

Unfortunately I can’t show the pictures here, but you might find just about ANYTHING here, from 19th century knitting machines to groovy seventies designer knits – Liquorice Allsorts by Vivian Chan – to the earnest entry: One of a series of specimens showing the most approved methods of sewing, darning and knitting as carried on in Holland: Knitting specimens of 2 heels for renewing stockings. There is a selection of tea cosies . One, hand-knitted in wool and glass by Moreen Clark is quite extraordinary to look at….the description will give you a good idea of why, but do click here to look at it:

The Significance Statement summarises why an object is important and places it in a social and cultural context. An object may be significant for various reasons, including: historical use, rarity, design/aesthetics, new technology or changes in society. Statement of significance
Moreen Clark is a significant contemporary Australian craftswoman. This cosy is a fine example of adapting a traditional area of womans work into a contemporary form. She dyes hanspun wool in order to suit her designs of Australian flora and fauna.
Description
Tea-cosy, wool/glass, hand-knitted, Moreen Clark, Australia, 1989

The hand knitted cosy is comprehensively covered with embroidery of a bush scene of Australian native trees and flowers. The cosy is hand knitted from handspun and dyed wool in bands of red, pink, yellow, blue, mauve and orange and the two sides have been sewn together. At the openings at the side and neck is a black crotcheted scalloped band in black wool. This scalloped band is also around the base of the cosy.
Embroidered onto the tea-cosy in wool and glass beads is a bush scene of Australian native flowers, trees, sheep and birds. The flowers depicted include Sturt desert pea, xantheria and wattle. Horizontal knitted bands form landscape ground with handworked embroidery creating the lasndscape details, polychrome glass bugle beads applied to embroidery to form flower centres etc.
History Notes include facts about what has happened to an object since manufacture. This could include who owned it and how it was used (provenance). It may also describe any cultural meanings with which it may have become associated. History notes
Commissioned from the artist by domestic & Industrial Life Collection Division of MAAS.

A knitted clothing ensemble can be found by Moreen Clark can be found here.

Description
Ensemble, comprising jacket, skirt, pillbox hat and muff ‘Taking the Bush to London’, wool / glass / plastic modelling compound and design submission, paper, Moreen Clark, Australia, 1988-1989.

A four piece knitted womens ensemble comprising a fitted long line cardigan style jacket in black wool and matching short straight skirt muff and pillbox hat. The jacket is densley embroidered around the shoulders front and back yokes and cuffs in polychrome wool depicting an Australian landscape theme and featurning Australian native flowers including the sturt’s desert pea, flannel flowers, wattle and banksia. The muff is embroidered on the front with a dense floral bouquet, and the hat in embroidered on the flat crown with foliage and flowers. The skirt is plain black.

The ensemble is supported by a design drawing and knitting sample, that were part of the submision for the outfit to be included in the exhibtion Australian Fashion: the contemporary art.

Amazing stuff.

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