Thursday, January 23, 2014

Knitting Weekend at Slater Mill

The impact of the textile industry in New England is mind boggling.  The industry affected all: Farm girls helping their families, immigrants in need of work, child labor laws, storekeepers, boarding houses, civic groups, unions, fire safety, housing developments, hospitals caring for the ill, transportation, water rights and river flow.

Slater Mill Library

I have a deep love of automated equipment, especially old textile equipment.  Slater Mill has restored a spinning mule, a braiding machine, a sock knitter, and a circular knitting machine into working order. I am particularly smitten with their warp-face narrow tape loom, similar to the jacquard looms I worked on as a young graduate.

Slater Mill Library

Slater Mill Teaching Facility

I am grateful there are museums such as Slater Mill looking to honor this history, and moreover, celebrate our history through hands-on learning. It is a challenging task, and the kind folks at Slater are hard-working and committed.

Knitting Weekend featured a presentation by Gudrun Johnston on the Shetland Islands, refreshments and live music, a trunk show of Thea Colman's designs, my Dress + Cardigan display, a book signing of Barbara Parry's Adventures in Yarn Farming, a marketplace of outstanding vendors, and classes taught by myself and Thea.

I taught a class on using multi-color variegated yarn. We studied and demonstrated the ways and nature of this challenging yarn, and then we explored pooling, shaping, texture, needle and stitch size, stripes, slipped stitches, stranding, peek-a-boo stitches, and embellishment. And everyone went home with a pastry box of yarn goodies.

I also taught a class on working two Fried Chicken Mittens at the same time on one long needle.  My students were champions: They were all new to the magic loop method, but they bravely jumped right in.

The knitting community is good people. I am convinced.


judy said...

It was so god to be able to visit with you last weekend. It was a good weekend at the mill.

Kathryn said...

Looks like it was a blast! Wish I could have come, but mom-duty pre-midterm called!

Mary Lou said...

Looks like such fun. Will you teach that at FC?

Ellen Mason said...

Judy - likewise, Saturday night was especially fun, and I've seen your coat twice since (once in store window).
ML - I'm going to propose the variegated class at FC and maybe a short magic loop class. And I'll be dyeing too, that is confirmed.