Friday, September 10, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Fiber Arts Scavengery Hunt

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!  The purpose of Fiber Arts Friday is to share and learn from each other through our blog posts. Please read all of the blogs that have linked in and also post your adventures in Fiber Arts so we can learn from you.

Last weekend my family visited Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan.  I haven't been there since I was Brother Bear's age or maybe even younger.  I remember pump organs and cars and I do remember purchasing a change holder for my Dad there and he used it for many years.  I loved that he did that.  I digress, here we are in 2010 visiting Greenfield Village and me not thinking I'd see much about Fiber Arts.  Henry Ford is all about automobiles so if I found Fiber Arts, I thought I'd be lucky.
(Hey, AllyB, is this your wheel?)
Well, as luck would have it, the tour of Greenfield Village became a scavenger hunt for me.  Every building and house I walked through became a search for spinning wheels, looms, knitting, fiber...and boy, oh boy did I find all of the above plus so much more.  I'm going to post a lot of photos so I apologize in advance if you have slow internet but I can't resist. 
"When tillage begins, other arts follow.  The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization."  
Daniel Webster, lawyer and politician
We immediately started the tour to the left which means touring a farm.  I saw these sheep that looked like Merino but didn't look like Merino.  Why, oh why, didn't I bring my book, In Sheep's Clothing?   So I asked one of the ladies who was dressed in period about the sheep.  She said that they were Merino and this is how the Merino looked when they first came to the States and they bred the wrinkled neck out of them as electric shears started to be used. 
Fortunately chickens were nearby so Grumpy and the Bears went to visit them while I talked Merino.  That particular house only had a sewing machine but they told me not to fear because I was in for a fiber arts treat...that's when I realized that the visit was going to be a great one for me.

Our  next visit was...the Weaving Shop. Here I spent a very long time looking, listening and learning and unfortunately not touching.
"Look, Mom, you have these at home."
The woman who was working in the shop gave us a delightful and educational lesson on the loom and how it progressed from being used in a farmer's house to the improvements made to make weaving commercial.
Commercial Loom
I want a loom!  I want to weave!  I fell in love with these gigantic machines.
These are two different looms showing the progress in technology.
It's hard to believe that I am spinning and knitting just like women did a few hundred years ago.  It gives me chills to think that these skills I enjoy and have learned for fun were necessities for woman back then.

This is the Jacquard Loom.  It's technically the first computer.  Jacquard created punch cards so that designs could be woven consistently and intricately. Oh, for complete details, Google it because my pretty little head (bahahaha) couldn't retain all of the amazing information I was learning. I tried taking a photo of the cards up above but it was hard.  The card placement was modified for Greenfield Village so that tourists could see the operation better.  Even more interesting is that there are only three working Jacquard Looms here in the United States.

I was amazed to find a few different commercial drum carders around the village.  Now that I've visited a working mill, it's neat to see what was being used 200 years ago.

We also were shown how silk yarn is made.  I would not have the patience to sick the fiber from the cocoon to get it going.  Yeah, I'll pay the extra and just buy my silk roving but at least I know why it's more expensive.
If you look in the corner of the ceiling to the left you will see a Niddy Noddy. This cabin was not a slave cabin but it was owned by a poor person.  Spinning Wheel, fireplace, a bed and cover from the weather...I could handle that.  Ok, maybe if it was camping for a week.
I found it very interesting that the spinning wheel was in the kitchen of every house.  Yeah, I guess if I cooked all of our food from scratch and had to heat my laundry over a fire I would need to be in the kitchen too so I'm glad that it's 2010 and I can lean back in my recliner and spin.
Knitting was found in another house and a walking wheel in another.  No matter the class, every household needed to spin, knit and weave their clothing, rugs, etc.

Finally, the house where I found my Lady at the Wheel counterpart spinning her Flax.  It was the topping on the cake, getting to see and ask questions. I posted the other day a picture of this woman and my antique photo. 

I enjoyed seeing a Walking Wheel actually being used.  Whenever I see them, they are typically decorative.  By the way, the yarn that they created from the Merino raised on site was not fine like the Merino I am used to.  I don't know if it's because they bred these Merino back to their former state or if it's from their feed but I didn't like it. Not that the product was bad but it wasn't what I like.
Now Grumpy and the Bears want sheep on the farm.
I did find a few other Fiber Arts items too but I realized how long this post got to be. Yikes!  As you can see, it was an enjoyable visit.  Henry Ford was definitely an innovator.  I learned that he appreciated all forms of advancement not just automobiles. If you ever get a chance to visit Greenfield Village, you should.  We spent a good chunk of the day there so it was worth the drive.  Now, what exciting adventures have you had in Fiber Arts this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article using your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit  
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!  (That's my blog) 
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these Wonderful Blogs:


  1. It looks like a great place to visit, wish it was not so far to go! I love finding fibrey things in unexpected places, not holding my breath for luck like yours at the landrover show this weekend though (will be sneaking a project along in my bag)

  2. Looks like you had a wonderful visit. I remember going to Greenfield Village when I was very young, perhaps I should go again. Yes, that wheel looks very much like mine except it doesn't have a cut out for the wheel. Thank you for starting my day on such a positive note.

  3. Wow! What an amazing blog post:)

  4. I'm with Linda! Absolutely amazing! Everyone should have a chance to see things like this in person. It makes such a difference to have a real connection like this. So glad you had such an amazing time.

  5. We have a village very similar to this close by and I haven't visited yet! You've totally inspired me to go, and soon.
    I'm fascinated by the carding machine. How awesome is that!

  6. I was working in Walled Lake (near Detroit) in 2001. I remember thinking about going when I was there, but never made it.

    Now I'm kicking myself... of course I didn't go to Motown or to see the tall ships during the city's 300th anniversary either. :-(

  7. Don't you love museums like that? Our local one has it's Ag day coming up. Usually I bring my horse and carraige and go up and down the streets but I'm thinking I might do something fiber related instead this go around.

  8. Mr Darcy visited Greenfield Village when he was a kid - he has very fond memories of it, although neglected to tell me about the fiber arts part :)
    I love that Textiles mosaic at the top - I think it could look pretty good in front of my house...