146 Plus

February 23rd, 2011

On March 25, 2011, New York City will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. 146 people, mostly young immigrant women, died in the sweatshop blaze, in a factory just north of Washington Square Park. In addition to remembering those who died, we’ll also honor the ongoing labor movements that their ordeal inspired.

If you’re not familiar with the story, Ruth Sergel, founder of Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, will be speaking at the Victorian Society on March 8. I hope to attend myself. Then, on March 23, I’ll be speaking at the Merchant’s House on Hand-Sewing in the 1850s — 60 Years before the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

And last, but definitely not least, I (and my dear friend Zoh, among many others) are participating in an art project called 146+. We’ve each signed up to create an armband memorializing one of the victims. I chose 14 year-old Kate Leone, no. 77. She was Catholic, and unlike many of her fellow workers, born in the US.

The organizers of the event suggested that we knit the armbands, but also opened it up to other types of crafting. Since I can never do anything the easy way, I decided to make my armband in filet. Here’s the pattern I made:

Filet Pattern

And my progress so far.

Armband in Progress

I hope Kate would approve. I know a lot of 14 year old girls have already outgrown the whole pink thing, and she may have hated roses. But perhaps she would be tolerant considering the spirit in which it is worked.

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