Sunday, January 31, 2010
Mary Meigs Atwater: Hope for Ragweavers
there is an income in the weaving of rag rugs.
This is not very interesting work,
but it leads to better things.
Mary Meigs Atwater, Shuttle-craft Courses in Weaving, 1922
The truth is some of us will get stuck on rags. The sun came out just as I was tying on the last bouts of a black, 12/6 Swedish cotton rug warp, threaded in Rosepath, again. 25 yards of fresh warp on the loom seems loaded with possibilities. I'm weaving wool rags cut from my wool remnant from Minnesota's Faribault Mills. Most of it I hand dyed. Almost 28 years on in my weaving career, and I feel no urge to leave rag weave behind for better things.
Sadly, I discovered when I tried to order a new supply of blanket remnant from Faribault Mills, that the company closed last year. It was founded and run continuously since 1865. That's the Civil War, mind you. It was a mill that processed wool by the bale, carded, washed, dyed, spun into yarn, wove beautiful blankets on huge looms, finished, packed and sold the product, all in one factory. It was one of the last mills in the US to process the raw wool straight through to the finished textile.
The only thing missing in the factory was the flock of sheep. I am devastated. I don't know the reason the mill closed, other than the terrible economy, but it is a terrible loss. And now my supply of wool rags seems especially precious.