Monday, July 14, 2008
Blanket Toss Pincushion
A few days ago I was searching for wool curly locks for wool felting and I came upon a site called Rushin' Tailor's Quilt Alaska in Skagway Alaska. This is a very cool site with lots of Made In Alaska items. I found this very unique pincushion called. "Blanket Toss". It is made by Alaska Creations but I could not find their website. I collect pincushions and thimbles and I just had to add this "Blanket Toss Pincushion" to my collection.
A bit of history about The Blanket Toss. The Blanket Toss today is used as a form of recreation and celebration. But the origin of the blanket toss had much more serious purpose.
Much of the coast of Northern and Western Alaska is barren and flat. The native people of this region would use a blanket made from the hide of a walrus to toss a member of their hunting party high into the air to spot game such as walrus, seal, whale and polar bear. This practice often meant the difference in the success of a hunt.
This pincushion represents not only the blanket toss but also the ingenuity of the Alaska Natives which helped them survive in their often harsh environment.
When I was a bush school nurse in Northern Alaska the children in the village would put on demostrations in the gym doing the Blanket Toss. So this pincushion will remind me of the wonderful experience I had working with the Athabascan Indian children in the Yukon-Koykuk School District North of Fairbanks, Alaska.