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Their efforts touched her, and now Ginsburg will wear the Riveters’ gift on the bench

Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledges Riveters Collective gift collar

Eowyn Savela reads a note from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledging a golden lace collar knitted for her by the Bellingham-area residents of the Riveters Collective, a progressive political organization.
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Eowyn Savela reads a note from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledging a golden lace collar knitted for her by the Bellingham-area residents of the Riveters Collective, a progressive political organization.

This year’s final session of the U.S. Supreme Court will hold special significance for members of a local political group who collectively knitted a golden lace collar that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she plans to wear on the bench.

Ginsburg, who’s known for the distinctive neckwear — sometimes called a jabot — that adorns her official robe, wrote the Riveters Collective last week to say that she’ll wear the collar on the last sitting period of the current term.

“The collar will suit my new robe perfectly,” Ginsburg said in the handwritten card that the Riveters’ Eowyn Savela read in a video recently shared across social media. “Huge appreciation for an effort that touched me deeply.”

Savela said she was inspired to make the collar after she watched “RBG,” a 2018 documentary film based on the bestselling book “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

In one scene, Ginsburg shows a closet full of the fancy collars.

“Seeing that some of them were made by regular people kind of turned on my ‘knitting brain,’ “ Savela said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald.

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Eowyn Savela models a fancy collar that she and other members of the Riveters Collective made and sent to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Eowyn Savela Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

She said she found a “suitably elegant” pattern online and began to work, enlisting the help of other Riveters and even teaching them how to throw a few stitches.

“I thought it would be so much more fun if everybody did it,” Savela said. “We got people to put all their love and care into this collar. She fought for equal rights for everybody. We wanted to give back to this person who we admire so much.”

Savela mailed the collar March 30 with a note describing how more than a dozen women added a stitch or two or even several rows of wool. On Saturday, a note dated April 5 arrived in the mail.

“(Savela) made it happen, and she brought the rest of us along,” said Riveters co-founder Elizabeth Hartsoch.

Riveters Collective started after the November 2016 election to recruit candidates and support campaigns, Hartsoch said. It’s named for the World War II cultural icon Rosie the Riveter and is registered as a political action committee with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote to thank the Riveters for the collar they knitted. Eowyn Savela Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

State Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, a political newcomer who defeated four-term Republican lawmaker Vincent Buys in November 2018, said the Riveters inspired her to run for the state House .

Riveters Collective has more than 4,000 members on a private Facebook page and has public pages on Instagram , Facebook and Twitter .

The justice’s reply “was just the best possible outcome,” Hartsoch said.

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A photo collage shows some of the Riveters who contributed to knitting a fancy collar for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Eowyn Savela Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.


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