Today my Mom and I went to the monthly meeting of 'Birmingham and District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers'. It was an all day meeting, because we all like each other so much we chose to have an open morning before our afternoon talk. The afternoon talk was about ;The History of Ribbon Weaving in Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedford.
Ribbons were very fashionable and were used in the hair as well as embellishments for garments. It was not uncommon for ribbons to be changed on dresses. They were in great demand and used lavishly by the wealthy. They were mostly made by very poor families at home in cottage industries.
One fact I can remember was that out of a population of 3000 in the 1800s in Bedford 1600 people were employed in ribbon weaving. That is over half of the population. Literally every other house had a loom. The architecture of houses were designed around the loom with large windows to maximise the natural light. Obviously with the onset of industrialisation, weavers were put out of business and extreme poverty was widespread. Eey by Gum, times were hard! It was a very interesting talk, but my eyelids did get a little heavy as the room was nice and snug and if I sit still for too long I nod off!
In the morning two Guild Members lead a fun workshop, 'Making Everlasting Christmas Crackers'. These were fairly simple to make and you could natter away while making them. I chose to make one for both of my boys for Christmas. I am not so sure mine are 'Everlasting' mine are more of a 'Don't touch, just look or it will fall apart variety!'
Step One: First Gather a fine selection of loo roll inner tubes! You need three for one cracker. Two of your tubes need to fit easily inside one another and the third tube needs to be cut in half. A bread knife appeared to be the best tool for cutting cardboard tubes neatly in half.
Then you have two pieces of fabric large enough to coat your tubes and tuck in the ends. Using PVA glue stick a tube and a half 2cm apart in to a roll of fabric. (I hope you catch my drift). You make two of these halves....
I found I had more success if I used a lot of glue! I think double sided sticky tape maybe useful too.
These are my Mom's fine Festive Specimens. If you look really closely you can see how the two halves fit together. Then you just need to tie the ends with something pretty and you can decorate them how you like. We had lots of ribbons, sequins, beads and other pretties to choose from. I would like to receive one for Christmas and I think it would be perfect to find a nice diamond ring inside!!! Well a girl can dream can't she?