Fiber Travels Continued

imageChristine and Dianne:  We are continuing our fiber adventures in New England.  We spent 2 days at Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  What an enjoyable place!  We toured a display of Civil War quilts, visited the Stencil House, saw wonderful collections of weathervanes and ship figureheads, dolls, glassware, pewter, etc.  Especially nice for Dianne was the exhibit of Patty Yoder’s Ewe Alphabet Rugs, many of which were very colorful and whimsical.  Sorry we didn’t get any pictures of any.  We enjoyed speaking with the docents, all of whom were knowledgable and nice.  A delightful visit.

Then we went to Johnson Woolen Mill in Johnson, Vermont.  It was an impulsive visit as we saw a brochure in a rack at the museum (and we didn’t need to convince any husbands to drive the extra miles!).  We were intrigued because they described themselves as one of only 5 extant woolen fabric mills in the U.S. (Woolrich, Pendleton, Faribault, Johnson, and….???)  For rug braiders…. this wasn’t a great place.  The wool fabrics were beautiful, especially the plaids…. but a bit too heavy for our taste.  The remnants (irregular strips) were $15.95 a pound !- — and the fabrics started at $29.95 and went up.  Way up.  We wandered around, checked out the prices, and decided we could do a whole lot better shopping for wool at other places.  Well, check that one off the list.

On the way to The New England Braids Weekend in Methuen, MA, we stopped at Country Braid House in Tilton NH and visited with Jan Jurta.  We had a great time!  Jan has beautiful remnants for $10/pound and she has some bolts that were very reasonable from a recent source.  We bought exquisite wool at wonderful prices!!  After our experience at Johnson, it was pure delight to see so many options in so many beautiful (and affordable) plaids and solids.  I can’t wait to get started on my next project.

shopJan’s business (what a cool job) uses braiding machines designed by her father-in-law to make the braids.  Then she and a client design a rug, and with the help of talented women who work at her shop, the braids are laced into rugs.  She showed us photos of a few very contemporary recent rugs.  They make incredibly varied shapes and patterns in any conceivable color.

Finally, we went on to Methuen, where we had a braided fashion show arranged by Pam Rowan that had us all holding our sides with laughter.  But more about that later!

Christine and Dianne

3 thoughts on “Fiber Travels Continued

  1. I went to Country Braid House last week myself and agree that they have a wonderful assortment of wool, light, medium, and heavy weight, for braiders at a very reasonable price. It wasn’t hard to select an assortment of wool and fill a large (trash size) bag to take home. Alos, Jan Jurta is very helpful and knowledgeable and you are always invited into the workroom to see their braiding machine and braids being laced into rugs.

  2. I believe that the 5th extant woolen mill is the American Woolen Company. They just purchased the Warren of Stafford Mill site in Stafford Springs, CT, and are rejuvenating it. They have more than one site in the country, but we are especially excited about this one. The local ATHA group has contacted the owner about scheduling a tour for next spring. I understand from a news article that they have been contracted already to produce wool for Navy pea coats. We are so excited to have this mill up and running again.

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