Members of the Madison Knitting Guild gathered in the Robin’s Nest Cafe on Thursday evening, February 28th, to lead a knit-in, where members of the SoHE community could learn to knit. More than 50 people – students, administrators, colleagues, amateur and expert knitters -came together on a cold night to practice one of the world’s oldest methods of creating fabric/textiles/garments.
In addition to the opportunity to learn to knit a wash cloth, attendees were also able to take guided tours of the exhibits in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery (“Applique to Zardozi: A 50th Anniversary Sampler”) and the Lynn Mecklenberg Textile Gallery (“One of a Kind, Ahead of her Time: The Legacy of Helen Louise Allen”).
While attendees raved about the guided opportunities to appreciate the textiles in the exhibits, even these extraordinary tours paled in comparison to the experience of learning craft in community. Knitters from many walks of life and levels of expertise came together to knit wash clothes, some of which were donated to the Child Development Lab at SoHE. Knitters received supplies, like yarn and knitting needles, which were donated by the Madison Knitter’s Guild.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, the Center for Design and Material Culture hopes to host a number of events that engage the wider SoHE community, which includes faculty, students, and anyone interested in fiber arts. We hope to see you at future events.
In 2019, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology launched a yearlong anniversary celebration of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Over the past half century, the collection has grown from an original 4,000-piece gift to more than 13,000 objects that have inspired and informed thousands of students, researchers, historians, and textile aficionados. The 50-year celebration began on January 27, 2019, with the opening of new Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery, a space dedicated to year-round displays of the collections. Activities continue into 2019 with a calendar of public exhibitions, symposia, lectures, and public workshops.