Maine: Blankets, Baas, and Black Bags

Day one of the Fiber ME 2014 Tour began with a bus load of  excited fiber fans.  Our first stop was Swans Island Blankets in Northport, Maine.  We were able to tour the weaving room and see how these beautiful blankets and other items were made.

A weaver explains how the Swans Island Blankets are made.
A weaver explains how the Swans Island Blankets are made.

We also went into the dye room where hanks of yarn are dyed using natural dyes.

 

Yarn resting in the dye vat.
Yarn resting in the dye vat.

These woven items, blankets, scarves, wraps and even pillows, are woven with very fine  yarns and each boasts a unique logo design that identifies it as a hand woven item because machines cannot weave this pattern of bars.

This logo identifies the item as hand woven.
This logo identifies the item as hand woven.

Our next stop was at Beau Chemin Preservation Farm in Waldoboro.  This 150 acre farm has been a working homestead for about 200 years.  Here they work to preserve several breeds of endangered sheep as well as sell their wool.

The rams came running when they heard the dinner bell.
The rams came running when they heard the dinner bell.
This big fellow got hiccups from eating too fast and needed some TLC.
This big fellow got hiccups from eating too fast and needed some TLC.

We stopped at Katharine Cobey Studio where the internationally known writer, fiber artist, and teacher talked about her sculptural work on display and demonstrated spinning on several types of spindles and her spinning wheel.

This unusual hooded robe was knitted using black plastic trash bags.
This unusual hooded robe was knitted using black plastic trash bags.

Our last stop was the studio and gallery of weaver Sara Hotchkiss.  Sara weaves room sized rag rugs on looms as wide and ten and twelve feet.  Her studio was a weaver’s candy store, with multiple looms, warped with a variety of projects.  Photos weren’t permitted so you’ll just have to imagine how massive these looms were.  She also showed us a design board and small sample woven rug for piece commissioned by an interior designer. Her works are designed to be hard working rugs but seem too beautiful to put on the floor!

To make  our trip more exciting, door prizes were drawn after visiting each location.  Now, a certain friend will tell you that I always win the door prize but my name was not  the first one called.  However, my hubby’s name was called second and he won a one ounce bag of Leicester Longwool carded locks.  (Hmm…I wonder when HE will get around to spinning those fibers!).  And I must confess that my name was called last today and I received a 10 x 10 woven hot pad from Sara Hotchkiss.

A lovely dinner along the waterfront capped off a fun-filled day.

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3 thoughts on “Maine: Blankets, Baas, and Black Bags

  1. I saw some of the biggest looms I have ever seen. Seeing the animals and hearing about them and the people that care for them was touching.

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