Thursday, January 14, 2010

Museum Quality Rug #10

We've started working on the 10th Museum Quality Rug at the Museum. This one is a also a single fabric rug (which is very easy), but with a zig-zag twill pattern (which requires more mental presence than we usually have on any given Thursday morning). Please feel free to drop by and lend a hand (or a neuron).

Celebrate Aiken 1835

Last Saturday was such a huge buzz. Of course there was the official opening ceremony and all with hundreds of folks standing around in the cold, but by the time I got back to my loom, there were folks stacked three deep gawking at the overshot pattern on the loom (see previous post) - what a rush! For the next four hours, without a single minutes break, I was ON! It was amazing - I was so ready for a bathroom break and a beer (not necessarily in that order) by the time 5:00 came around.... It was great! And a huge shout out to Mary at the Museum for providing me with the perfect "period appropriate" shirt to wear for the day - thank you so much for all that you do.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Linsey Woolsey Coverlet (circa 1835)

There were a few moments when I was feeling a little out of my comfort zone, but there is a tight and shiny linen warp on the ACA loom and the first few inches of an overshot pattern that could have adorned someone's bed around the time of the founding of Aiken in 1835.

Not sure I'll be going into the coverlet weaving business anytime soon, at least not without some serious improvement in my overshot weaving efficiency. Early on in my learning curve it looks like I could make about 3" of cloth per hour.

At this time, I only need to be skilled enough to act out my part as an artisan weaver of the early 19th century. Good enough for now.

Drop by the Center for the Arts this Saturday afternoon and see an old time weaver at work.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weaving in Aiken circa 1835

Some days you have to get out of your old threads (and maybe your comfort zone) before you get dressed up for the big party. The party is Aiken's 175th Birthday celebration on January 9th. I've been invited to attend and demonstrate what a weaver might have been wearing and working on in 1835. It's both an honor and a challenge.

I did a fair amount of research into period fabrics and likely weaving practices of the era and developed a general sense of what might have been going on in Aiken in 1835, but no specific references to weaving in Aiken.

Most hand weaving was probably done by cotton plantation slaves producing relatively coarse cotton fabric to clothe their masters field hands. It's easy to speculate thought that there may have been a few "artisan weavers" in the area, probably slaves working after hours, weaving more refined fabrics or commissioned pieces for cash or barter.

I decided to adopt the speculative artisan scenario and dress the loom at the Art Center with a linen warp that would have been appropriate for an old linsey-woolsey coverlet pattern. So, off with the old cotton warp, some 4 yards of perfectly usable fiber. I've taken care to preserve the cross and chain the remnants so we can use some or all of it in future ACA class projects. I'm still working on my personal wardrobe.