Fiber History: How Fiber Artists Got Us to the Moon

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of when humans first set foot on the Moon – a moment that forever altered our perceptions of what was scientifically achievable and captured our imaginations for what else we could accomplish. As we look back and remember the thousands of people who made the first lunar landing possible, I would like to turn our attention to a small group of ladies who could have been one of us back in 1969: The Little Old Lady core rope memory weavers.

We already know that the Apollo program was dependent upon thousands of pages of coding, as illustrated in this now famous photo of Margaret Hamilton standing next to the stack of coding she and her MIT team developed for the Apollo Guidance and Navigation System (AGNS).

In order to incorporate the coding into the computer, a fixed memory system was developed that was comprised of ferrite cores woven into a rope with copper wires. As most of us are aware, computer programmers typically use binary code for encoding computer processor instructions and data. Binary code is a two-symbol system that often uses "0" and "1" as the two symbols, but for AGNS, the software was encoded according to the binary pattern of its rope weave. Ah, yes. Now I'm speaking the fiber language.

Seeking Pattern Testers

Thank you all who have stuck with me these last two years when I disappeared pretty much entirely to have my second daughter (hereafter known as Bright Eyes). It's been a restful maternity leave, but I'm feeling the itch to get back into crocheting.

Currently my life is full with my daughters and homeschooling and dance, so I'm going back to the roots of my blog and making crochet a hobby again instead of the business I had started to build when Little Lovely was born. This means I have made my blog public again, but I have closed my Etsy and Ravelry shops. If you have any questions about this decision or my extended hiatus (or if you are looking for patterns I previously had available), I am accepting messages again and am working on a solution to make all my patterns available directly from my blog.

And if any of you would like to join me on the next leg of this adventure, I'm looking to add to my pool of test crocheters for some pattern ideas I have coming up. If you are interested, please feel free to join my Facebook pattern testers group, which you can find here.

Love Thy Neighbor

Once upon a time when I was 14, I attended my first homecoming dance. My family didn’t have much money then, but somehow my mom managed to buy me the dress I really wanted from the trendy teen store – a purple satin number with silver flowers in the Asian style that was popular in the 90s, before the idea of cultural appropriation was a thing. I felt like I had arrived in that dress, and I confidently left to meet my friends at the dance.

That night I discovered that some of my friends’ families didn’t have much money, either. One arrived in a denim jumper, but she didn’t seem to think anything of it, and went about mingling with the crowd. But one friend arrived in a black velvet dress that was a touch off-trend and what 14-year-olds of the day would’ve considered a bit childish in style. This friend was clearly not happy with what she was wearing and said so. I thought she looked nice, but I was concerned the dress was going to keep her from having a good time, so I desperately searched my brain for something I could say that would make her feel better about it. My adolescent solution was to take her over to the friend in the jumper and say, “See? She’s wearing that and it’s fine. Your dress looks great!” Later in the evening I saw my friend in the jumper crying, but she wouldn’t tell me why. It took me until the next summer, after I had moved away, to realize what I had done.