Field Office

This was my office today.

The Granary at Old Economy Village, for Erntefest. It was AWESOME and I had a great time, but I didn’t get out to see much else… which is a bummer, because I hear there were silk reelers and spinners. But I saw the broom guy, the cider guys, and I shared the building with two ladies who were carding, spinning, and weaving rugs on a big loom. All in authentic Harmonist garb.

These pictures are devoid of people, because it was really quiet (inspiring nervous re-arranging of stuff and picture taking) until about noon… when it picked up, and then was crazy busy for the rest of the day. I should have gotten more pictures of people playing with my toys (and of the folks in cool garb), but I was so busy explaining everything that I didn’t even think about it!

I had this cool set up on one side with raw straight-off-a-sheep wool, then clean wool, then hand-carded wool, then drum carded wool, with the carder set up for demonstrating. It was particularly awesome because even though the granary is a granary, the building had a bunch of really old mill equipment, so there were three gigantic steam-powered carders right next to me. I could show them how the carder ran and then point and say: see those things? This is just like that… and the technology really hasn’t changed since then. We just added electricity!

The spinning wheel was in the middle – a logical next step from carding – then on the other side was my little dye set up. I attracted a lot of attention with the “Don’t touch – Do smell!” sign in front of the pokeberry dyepot. Most people thought the vinegar/wet-sheep bouquet was not exactly the bees knees, but it was really handy to have pokeberries and black walnuts to connect it with normal reality. Most people have contended with one or the other of these otherwise very annoying plants, and found it interesting that they have at least one redeeming quality. I had one girl, when I showed her the berries, say “I know what those are called! Those are Stainberries!” Yep, that’s about right.

It’s funny – I talk about knitting and yarn and wool all the time with more or less anyone until they start looking furtively for exits, but usually it’s me bringing it up and I feel at least a little bad if I end up accidentally hogging the conversation with my obsessive hobby. But this time it was a whole slew of people and it was like my job to tell them all about it, and lots of them thought it was totally awesome! (And if they kept walking, there were other people to talk to!) Maybe its that escape factor; you can be totally rapt with the shoe shop at Williamsburg, but it’s not like you’re going to have to go home and face some crazy person who is going to be cobbling shoes and discussing leather in front of you all day. It’s something you visit – so you visit, unqualifiedly appreciate its awesomeness, and leave. (Maybe it’s more of a zoo factor. “Oo look mommy the crazy knitter! Does she stab?”) But I didn’t care. It was fun to share of course, but also to listen to people’s stories about random sheep or dye projects or knitting in their life. And to connect with lots of other intense fiber artists in the community.

But now…. sleep. oh precious sleep.

6 thoughts on “Field Office

  1. Rebecca,

    I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful demonstration that you set up at Erntefest yesterday. It was lovely to meet you, try out your drum carder, and talk knitting and yarn. 🙂 I hope you are planning to continue returning to Erntefest for as long as you are based in Ambridge. Your contribution made a really nice addition to the festivities. Best of luck in your studies and in settling in in a new town.

    Tammy Kennedy


  2. This sounds like so much fun, Rebecca! I’m sure many people enjoyed meeting you and seeing you do your thing =) I particularly liked the display of wool at different stages. I never thought that much about the lifespan of my sweater until now!

    Blessings to you and Jared!


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