Friday, June 19, 2009

friday's frontier fact

This photo is from one of my favorite historic spots in Kentucky, Fort Boonesborough. I was in this very cabin last fall talking with one of the reenactors. Only the loom I saw was so large it took up half the cabin. After observing the process of how she made a blanket, I was convinced I could never do it! There are many things that come into play while weaving and the loom itself can give you some real headaches. Since I don't have a crafty bone in my body (neither does Lael), suffice it to say I won't be buying one anytime soon. But I sure admire those first settlers for the wonderful, colorful patterns they wove into the cloth.

Daniel Boone was from a long line of male weavers in England. At that time weaving was a professional trade with a boy beginning a 7 year apprenticeship at age 13. Guess Boone liked to hunt more than throw that boat shuttle around and worry about woof and warp.

I loved learning about the dye used back then as it speaks to the settler's ingenuity:
fresh green walnut hulls = brown
twigs of an apple tree = light yellow
onion skins = yellow
indigo = blue
cochineal beetles = scarlet red (most expensive)

When my granny was a young woman she was a weaver for Berea College in Kentucky before she married and had her family. She didn't talk much about it so am not sure if she enjoyed the process though she was a fine seamstress. I'm not sure why the men stopped weaving at Fort Boonesborough and the women took over but I have my theories. I'd love to hear yours!

Only 6 more Fridays till The Frontiersman's Daughter is released. And no, I can't believe it either! Happy Friday!

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