OSV marks ‘Textile Weekend’ with host of events
STURBRIDGE Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) will explore women’s domestic textile production in early New England during Textile Weekend, Aug. 13 and 14, focusing on knitting, weaving, sewing, spinning, dyeing, and how emerging technology in the early 19th century affected women’s work and leisure time.
Visitors can help to knit or crochet scarves for American soldiers (using wool yarn hand-dyed at the village) in partnership with the Scarves for Afghanistan Project. Patterns, knitting needles, and crochet hooks will be provided.
Other hands-on activities for visitors include learning how to make yarn-sewn mittens and hearth rugs, making a small book to save knitting patterns, and making a yarn-sewn mat or a woven bookmark at the Craft Center (for a separate fee).
Demonstrations will include spinning, weaving, sewing, and knitting, dyeing, and sewing shoe uppers. Costumed historians will also show how decorative edging could be made at home using a technique called “netting.”
Though country stores were beginning to offer more textiles for sale, many women still made the majority of textiles needed by their families. Visitors will learn how much sewing needed to be done to supply a family with table linens, bed linens, and other household textiles.
They can also attend the Gallery Talk, “Spun Some, Wove Some” and learn more about women’s domestic textile production.
The early 19th century was a period of great change in the lives of women in rural New England. Textile mills were producing vast quantities of affordable fabric and yarn, freeing most women from the need to spin and weave at home. OSV historians will explain what women chose to do with their new-found free time, how they could use their skills to earn money at home, and why some women continued to produce textiles by hand, rather than purchase factory-made goods.
A corresponding exhibit of 19th-century textiles entitled “Spun Some, Wove Some: Women’s Domestic Textile Production in New England” will be on display in the Firearms & Textile Building through March 2012. The exhibit will feature a variety of textiles from the OSV collection made by 19th-century New England women. Of particular interest is a collection of beautifully and meticulously woven textiles made by Olive Sargent of Brattleboro, Vt., between 1825 and 1845, as well as her account book, a tintype portrait and her obituary card.
For details, visit www.osv.org
or call 800-SEE- 1830.