Saturday, August 16, 2008

More from last weekend...

Part of the trip up north included some time in Munising MI. While the guys were diving I hiked up to Munising Falls:
Then on the way back I decided to stop and take in the Heritage Center. (The main building is not pictured on their site. It's restored school house from the early 1900's.)

Inside the main building I found this home made barn loom:

Much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula was settled by Finns, Swedes, and Cornish mining families. Rag rug weaving is a part of the heritage. You can see more of that here. I've seen a number of these looms in the UP. Most of them have been located in a small basement area with room only to climb onto the bench, weave, and advance the warp. (Wait I know some people who live with AVL's like that today!) I've even seen a set up where the warp could only be wound on by coming from the outside through a coal shute opening above the back of the loom!

Note the leaf spring used for the back brake lever above and the brake drum fabricated into the ratchet brake below. (Another branch of Michigan automotive history.)
The view from the back of the loom:
Below is the brake on the cloth beam:

I'm not sure about the warping heel referred to in this note. Perhaps they mean warping reel? It was not on display.

Like the cars in the previous post, I think it's important to embrace our weaving past. At the same time, I'm ambivalent about historical re-enactment displays with weavers and spinners in period dress. It's too easy for the public to dismiss weaving and spinning as something only relevant to the past, as in "Thank God, we don't have to do that anymore!"

Since I'm one of the people who says, "Thank God, I can spin, weave and make my own fabric from raw materials!".... I'm happy to see a whole new generation being introduced to weaving in the current issue of Craftzine:

Take a look! Enjoy!



  1. Oh boy, the power on ingenuity - that's creativity in itself, to say nothing of the weaving. That loom certainly is the size on an AVL, but the brake drum - now, that's the best part!

  2. Great photos. That's how I live with my Glimakra in the spare bedroom! *lol* Very interesting post Valerie.


tie in the loose ends...