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Tour the Historic Boott Cotton Mills

Boott Cotton Mills 1920's weave room

Boott Cotton Mills 1920’s weave room

After attending Convergence I spent a few days with my husband traveling. One of the stops was to Lowell, MA. I’ve been fascinated with history as well as textiles most of my life.  Of course a stop at the Lowell National Historical Park was necessary. The park provides  an up close view of textile production in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

First we rode the rails, on a reproduction Trolley car from the visitor center to the Boott Cotton Mills. The walk would have been about 15 mins, but the free ride was  much more fun.  A part of the former mill now houses a working 1920’s weave room, and a museum with interactive exhibits and video programs. DSCN0172 The 1920’s weave room shown at the top, features operating power looms. These are restored  Draper Model E. looms (ca. 1913 ).  When running they create  a racket, so ear plugs are supplied. One can only imagine how noisy it would be with multiple floors of looms all running at the same time.  No wonder so many textile workers became deaf. Some of these looms were weaving dish towel fabric  sold in bulk or as finished towels at the gift shop. These towels could be found in most American homes at one time.  The  towels are being woven  plain or with different stripe colors and number of stripes. I now have 2 of these towels in my home. Reminders of the trip.

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Sadly the Boott Cotton Mills  closed in 1954. The photo shows a Draper E loom weaving cotton towel fabric at the Bootts Mill.


Yellow-crown Night-HeronimageI walk almost everyday to a park near my home. It’s such fun to see the water birds. This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron didn’t like it when I tried to get close enough for a picture with my phone. They stake out their own little space on the shoreline. He’s hoping a fish will swim by.

Continuing threading the loom with the silk painted warp. About 1/2 way thru the process. Hope I’ll be weaving by mid-week. The trick will be to stay focused.


Honeycomb for Spring

Honeycomb Weave

HoneyComb Weave

Next on the loom is a Honeycomb weave. It’s funny in to have chosen this, since it is also know as an undulating weft effect and my previous post was on an undulating twill. The inspiration for this project came from shopping for a  bargain at the local “Big Lots” store. Here I found in the craft aisle jute cord meant for kids jewelry.jutecordThe rainbow colors struck my eyes as the perfect color combination to be used for a runner. The jute is used in the weft for creating the outline for the cells. The warp and weft yarn for the interior of the cells uses a single ply linen.

In the Shuttle Craft Monograph #9 – Undulating Weft Effects by Harriet Tidball, she states that the warp should be fairly fine and elastic, while the weft should be the same as warp or finer. The weft outline should be thicker and soft and elastic. Linen should not be used for outline weft due to it’s stiffness. A soft cotton yarn would be a good choice for outline weft. My yarn choices could be considered to be poor choices. The Jute yarn required some hand manipulation for the cell outline and the linen yarn in the warp and weft is anything but elastic. I experimented with the number of linen wefts in each cell and settled on 8. The finished weight is wonderful for a table runner. I need to do the finishing and then will share a picture of the finished project.

Spring inspiration


Spring a season of renewal, trees budding, Flowers blooming and baby duckies.





Christmas Baking and Steves Homestead

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

The Christmas Cookies are all baked, and some have been eaten. There are 6 types this year: Sandbakkels, Spritz, Pine cones, Russian Teacakes, Chocolate Crinkles, and Peanut Butter Kisses. Tradition requires the baking of some  every year as in requests of family members for their favorite cookie. This year the Sandbakkels and Pine cones were added after the purchasing of Tins at the “Minneapolis Swedish Institute” .  The cookie platter is on a hand quilted  table runner I made many years ago.  Its placement on the diningroom table is another tradition.

Steves Homestead Cookie Tree

Steves Homestead Cookie Tree

This cookie tree can be seen at the” Steves Homestead ” ( House Museum) in San Antonio, TX. The home was all decorated for Christmas when we toured it. The cookie tree was recreated  in the kitchen. Each downstairs room contained a Christmas tree. If you enjoy touring Historic Homes, I definitely recommend the Steves Homestead.

Cotton Boll Wreath

Christmas shopping always includes looking at the new decorations available in the local stores. Dillard’s always has some classy decorations. On the edge of the display I found these cotton boll wreaths whose picture needed to be shared with my fiber friends.


Weaving Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board In my Weaving Studio there is a cork bulletin board that is filled with images of past projects, postcards of famous art work, and images from magazines, and brochures from the guild I belong to. There is a photo taken in a state park in Kansas of an antique industrial weaving loom. Small woven items created by myself or friends also adorn the board. These are all items I enjoy looking at and using for inspiration for future projects.

Nursing School

My daughter Sara had good news yesterday. She is in her last semester of nursing school. She has been accepted into the nursing honor society. It shows that the hard work has paid off.


New experience today. Charlene, Olga,and I went to Jack Zilker studio to have works photographed for the CHH sale postcard. It was interesting to see a professional in action. We came away with  3 gorgeous photos.

Weaving Shibori

This morning I spent refining the design for handwoven Shibori shawls I will be weaving. This will be the largest Shibori project I’ve attempted. I’m concerned because the  shawls width, 23 in. vs the 10 in. Scarves I’ve done. The design yarns may be difficult to pull. Tomorrow I will continue to set-up my loom.