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Birthday Trip

Exterior Home Textile Tool Museum

It’s become recent tradition that for my birthday I receive no gift from my husband but a day of goofing off. Last year we couldn’t do it, but you may recall in 2007 we went to New Hope Mills and its environs. This year we took a trip to Pennsylvania with 2 destinations in mind: HIghland Gun Shop and the Home Textile Tool Museum.

Exterior Home Textile Tool Museum

After my recent hunting experiences with the fox, I was really looking forward to going to the gun shop. We ended up getting quite lost trying to find the gun shop, going back and forth between signs for it and never finding it. We finally found it only to discover that the owner had died this past winter and the store was no longer open. So off we went to the next town of Orwell where the museum was very easy to find.

Barn loom

They had many examples of barn looms. I learned that these looms could be easily disassembled and transported from town to town, where inhabitants could use them to create weavings for their home use, from shirts to sheets to tapestries.

Sample from a jacquard loom

Here is a tapestry example.

Bed linens from 1814

Bed linens from 1814.

Wheels

They have a large collection of spinning wheels, many made by Farnham in nearby Owego, NY.

Tool display

The Workshop holds a collection of tools, some dating back to the 1700s. This had been an actual workshop of the owner of the farm, Bill Ralph, who made a name for himself as a repairman and expert in antique spinning wheels and looms.

Tool display

You can read about the history of the Ralph family, Bill’s expertise, and the background of the museum. Bill’s son, Bob, has apparently resumed his father’s spinning wheel restoration business.

Tools shed

There is a blacksmith shop on the farm although no one was demonstrating the tools this day. They often have demos.

Natural dye display

Today’s demo was on natural dying techniques. They were several people there experimenting with indigo dying. This yarn was dyed with Brazil wood.

Book to find

Two resources I came away with were this book, “Field Book of Natural History,” which appears to be last published in 1976 and is an encyclopedia of flora and fauna of the Northeastern US, and a new herb seed source, Horizon Herbs. I signed up to receive their catalog. I also found a copy of the Field Book on BookHQ for $.12. Yup, twelve cents.

Wall paper from mid 1800s

If you are into old time living, long lost skills, or even funky African-inspired wallpaper from the 1800s, I recommend a visit to this museum. It’s easy to find and entertaining. Our tour took almost 2 hours and I learned a lot of history of PA farming traditions and fiber facts.

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3 Responses

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  1. This is a really cool place.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Knitting@roosterhillfarm.com » Blog Archive » Auction Finds linked to this post on August 29, 2009

    […] Activities Birthday TripFarm Field Day On Warren PondFox UpdateFeeling FruityPoop is good, Foxes are […]

  2. Knitting@roosterhillfarm.com » Blog Archive » Auction Finds linked to this post on August 29, 2009

    […] Activities Birthday TripFarm Field Day On Warren PondFox UpdateFeeling FruityPoop is good, Foxes are […]

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