Last weekend I went to the Colonial Faire & Muster of Fyfe and Drums in Sudbury at the Wayside Tavern. Alas, the event is no longer posted on their website but I gather it is an annual event hosted by these folks. I’m not a guns-n-war sort of person, no matter what era, but I went because some friends of mine were demonstrating the flax to cloth process in their period costumes with their antique tools.
Gina Gerhard talks to visitors, while demonstrating her lovely set of hetchels (or hatchels or hackles):
Cathy Goodman demonstrates spinning flax. Too bad her hat is hiding her awesome spectacles in this shot. It was very sunny and hot that day, and wide-brimmed hats were a smart call, as well as an accurate historical detail.
And Diane Howes demonstrates weaving on her antique loom with hand-tied string heddles. The warp and weft are singles linen. In this photo you can see some samples of the cloth she is reproducing.
And here’s a slightly better view of Diane at work:
Diane uses a temple and sizes her warp to prevent broken ends. I understand that this is traditional, especially when working with singles linen. I have never tried either, I’m sorry to say.
I have only woven with singles linen once and didn’t have any problems. I *have* had problems with broken ends on my 40/2 linen bookmarks in the past, but recently I’ve had success with reducing the tension and advancing the warp frequently (every inch and a half) to stay in the “sweet spot” where the angle of the beater and the height of the shed create the least abrasion on the warp.
It was very fun to see these fine folks in their element on a fantastically beautiful day. I so much appreciate people who keep old skills alive and are willing to share their knowledge and experience.
And the drive wasn’t half-bad either–gorgeous foliage through Petersham and Barre. I ran over a squirrel on Rt. 2 which was inauspicious, but the rest of the trip went smoothly.