Mittens on sea creatures and mastodonts?

by Kate Larson, guest blogger and yarnbomber

17 feet of I-cord!

Happy International Yarn Bomb Day! My friends from SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana Fiber and Textiles) and I helped yarnbomb the Indiana State Museum the last weekend of May. We installed temporary projects ranging from colorful knits that encase architectural beams in the museum to striped mittens for a creature from ancient seas. Several of my co-conspirators decided to knit I-cord to wrap around handrails in the Earth Science area of the museum. I-cord is a knitting technique that creates a seamless tube, which in this case, is about an inch in diameter. The goal was to make about eight feet of I-cord, but both knitters got carried away by their needles and the longest piece ended up measuring over 17 feet!

Stylish mittens keep an ancient sea creatures appendages warm.

As I knit my own yarn bomb contribution, I incorporated some handspun yarns from my own flock of Border Leicester sheep. I keep a flock of about 30 of these curly fleeced sheep on my family’s farm in Delaware County. I loved having the opportunity to use a bit of local wool for this exhibit at the Indiana State Museum — knit by a sixth-generation Indiana farmer.

Thank you to the Indiana State Museum for allowing us to yarn bomb the museum and express our creativity through our craft. Thank you to Joanna Hahn and the museum staff for working so hard to bring this project to fruition!

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Yarnbomb in is the house!

by Joanna Hahn, Manager of Arts and Culture Programs

Last week, Indiana State Museum staff assisted volunteers from the Crochet Guild of Indianapolis and SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana Fibers and Textiles) with the installation of a few new objects to the museum’s core exhibits as part of our Yarnbomb the Indiana State Museum. Yarnbombing allows fiber artists of any skill level to leave a non-permanent creation using public spaces of buildings, sculptures and infrastructure such as telephone poles, parking meters and bike racks. The idea is to help bring warmth, color and personalization to objects that are often ignored or overlooked. We have gone one step further and allowed our core exhibits and the artifacts to be the inspiration for some fun creating.

It has been a lot of work (and some sweating and even a small bit of blood) taking these fun two and three-dimensional creations and placing them throughout the museum. Some are right in your face and not hard to miss, but I will bet there will be a few that will be hard to find. They are so well made that they just blend in with our exhibits and artifacts. So if you are looking for something new to see at the museum, come check out these wonderful and colorful additions to our spaces. And if you really want to have some fun, join us for International Yarnbomb Day on Saturday, June 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We have some lovely rocks in front of the museum that would love to receive some color. Create your own knitted or crocheted squares, rectangles or any shapes. Or, come prepared to create on the spot!

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A brief history of the USO of Indiana

by Robert D. Legacy, Vice President USO Indiana

In 1940, America’s military was rapidly growing in response to the increasing threat which preceded entry into World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt challenged six private organizations — the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler’s Aid Association and the Salvation Army — to handle the on-leave recreation needs for members of the Armed Forces. The six organizations pooled their resources and the United Service Organizations — which quickly became known as the USO — was incorporated in New York State on Feb. 4, 1941.

Here in Indianapolis, the first center for uniformed men opened on Wabash Street on May 22, 1941. It was called The Army, Navy, and Marine Service Club and was located in a converted freight house under the auspices of the Indianapolis Parks Board. The Works Project Administration supplied the labor to convert the building and the community donated the furnishings. By Nov. 1, 1941, an average of 2,000 men visited the Club each week.

Union Station Canteen – Indianapolis

Soon it was obvious that one center would not be enough. The Union Station Canteen opened on Dec, 22, 1941, followed by the Illinois Street Center on July 8, 1942. The facilities were incorporated into the Indianapolis Service Men’s Centers in late July 1942. Subsequent to this incorporation, the Senate Avenue Center opened. And finally, The Robert Park Center made its debut in the spring of 1943.

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Calling all quilters!

by Joanna Hahn, Manager of Arts and Culture Programs

In 2008, hundreds of quilters from across Indiana and beyond helped the Indiana State Museum and the Quilter’s Guild of Indianapolis piece quilt blocks. The quilt blocks were used in the creation of quilts donated through Quilts of Valor to veteran’s recovering at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. In conjunction with the exhibit Frugal & Fancy: Indiana Quilts, the Indiana State Museum is teaming up with QGI again for a Quilt-In on May 21 and 22 to benefit charities.

Finished quilts awaiting delivery to charities.

What is a quilt-in? The Quilter’s Guild of Indianapolis hosts monthly quilt-ins where quilters bring their own sewing supplies and, using materials donated by other quilters, piece together quilts to be donated to a local charity. But this is also an opportunity to get together with other quilters!

Are you a quilter and interested in helping out? QGI members will be hosting a Quilt-In at the Indiana State Museum on Saturday May 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and May 22 from 10:30 to 3 p.m. Please bring your own sewing supplies, though some sewing machines will be available. This event is free and registration is not required (attendance does not include admission to the museum). When you arrive to the museum, head to Level 2. The quilters will be located in the School No. 5 classroom.

Attend one day or both days! More quilters means more completed quilts; and more quilts can be given to charity!