Thursday, July 18, 2013

When only natural fibers will do

We're in day five of a particularly enjoyable heat wave which has melted my brain and reduced my desire to live to the point wherein I have just used "enjoyable" and "heat" in the same sentence. Those who know me know that I despise and abhor weather above 80 degrees and will understand that it has been nothing but sheer willpower that has kept me from taking to my bed, sans all bedding and wearing only kleenex as modesty patches, until the heavens will give us a break.

You think I am kidding.

So today a friend and I gathered up our various children, which once we got them in one location and counted heads totaled six of the female persuasion, and loaded them into air conditioned cars to head to the air conditioned American Textile History Museum. Because of course my girls never get to see bolts of fabric or anything.

If you live anywhere in the general vicinity of Massachusetts or New Hampshire, or plan to visit us (I promise we really are friendly and fabulous people, don't listen to what the media says about us all refusing to talk to each other or help people on the street or our inabilities to pronounce the name of our own Ivy League school), I highly recommend it and think all the short people we had with us today would as well.

The following pictorial of our visit should make you feel like you were there, and leave you wanting oh so much more.

If only you could tell that there are six girls ranging from 4 to 14 in this pile of arms, legs, and cuteness all trying to pull this 600 lb mass of cotton bag using a pulley. It took all six, but they did get it about a foot off the floor.
This angle really makes me wonder about Paige's future job; until I saw that booty action there, I thought only Greta would be putting herself through college working at the Golden Banana.

Granted, it was behind glass and likely had been carefully restored, but this quilt from the 1830s was in amazing condition. May we all look so fresh and youthful at 183.

Greta has recently discovered that she wants a loom. She has yet to discover that they cost 12K. Hope the clientele of the Golden Banana regularly brings 100s. Here she is for whatever reason not even looking at it while her friend tries it out.

You'd have had to revoke my quilter license if I didn't take a photo of a few bolts of fabric.

I thought this cabinet full of potions and powders that were used to dye fabric was fascinating. No one else shared my enthusiasm. I guess I am weird.

 I was looking at something else in this display when Paige said all disgustedly "Oh, of COURSE you have to look at the old sewing machines." So now let's all look. Ooooooo. Aaaaaaaaaah

Very cool friendship/signature blocks from a swap in the 1870s. Sad to me in a way because these poor ladies never got their hard work actually put into a group quilt. Plus sad because clearly I am not the inventor of the group quilt. What the heck, people? On both counts. Also, finish your group quilts or I will come haunt you.

You all know I used to be a flight attendant, right? My mini me demonstrates what I looked like sitting in the jumpseat contemplating how Emmitt Smith just sweet talked me out of four cans of cranapple juice (true story).

There was much excitement about flying to China.
 Then we got to the piece de resistance, the reason I wanted to go see the museum now (through August 11), the special exhibit "Behind the Veil: Brides and Their Dresses." There were about 30 dresses from 1828 to 2011 on display, all with the stories behind them of who wore them when. I wish I had taken more photos, but here are a few.
This one was never worn, but was purchased by its owner after she wore a short little lace number in the 1960s when marrying outside her faith. Her parents were horrified and wouldn't let her wear a big old dress. She apparently never got over it (and who can blame her?), so she bought this dress for herself and sewed it into a quilt so she could have it always. Booyah, Mom and Dad.
This dress was worn in Ohio in the 1880s. No one knows why it was found in Portland ME by none other than JO DIGGS, whom I know slightly enough to have been all excited to see her name on the display, and who donated it to the exhibit.

My friend Larissa suggested we play "Say Yes to the Dress" and the girls chose the ones they would want to wear. Eva was seriously in love with this one from 1890 something. I mean, it was okay, but she was IN. LOVE. with it and I give her kudos for not being a conformist.

Paige went with the modern 2011 look. It really was a stunning dress, if a safe pick.

Ever the princess, Greta chose the laciest thing she could find. This one was from 1970, and cost the original wearer only $100 because "no one wanted such traditional dresses in 1970." It pays to be behind the times; my black appliances purchased at the height of the stainless craze will serve as Exhibit B.
So there you have it, a mini tour of the American Textile History Museum. Did I make you want to call your travel agent so you can come see it in all its glory? Does anyone else find the powders and potions cabinet cool or am I really the only one? Any ideas on why all three of my children are all "Ta-Dah" arms in these photos?


Jen Eskridge said...

Great pics, Beth!

Sarah J. said...

I really like potions and dye too plus the cabinet was neat and all color coordinated...definitely worthy of a pic.

Kelli Fannin Quilts said...

I love old potions bottles, even if nothing is in them! So the fact that there were dyes in them make them even cooler. (I may or may not have my mom's little penicillin vial from when she broke her leg as a little girl in the 40's) I just love all of the pics, and yes I totally want to come and visit that museum now!!! I think they got the ta-da arm thing from watching you practice your school house presentation! :D

Barbara Chojnacki said...

Yes, I want to go! My only visit was when we did the "Meet the Teachers" event last year, and I didn't have time to tour the museum. I really must get out more!

sillygirldavid said...

Thank you for visiting the Museum! We love it when people have a great time here and - as you experienced - there's something here for every one! Our Free Fun Friday (part of the Highland Foundation's free cultural programming in the summer) program is July 26 - so drop on by! It will probably be very crowded that day, so if you want a less hurried time, we are open Wednesday through Sunday 10-5.

Thank you so much for your kind comments.
Sally Gould
Director of Development, ATHM

Angie said...

That is on my list of things to do- I especially loved the dress made into the quilt!

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