You are invited to come join the fun starting January 17 and weaving until April 18. For the second year A COMMUNITY UPCYCLE RUG WEAVING PROJECT is underway at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. Last year we wove 17 rugs for the Local Food, Local Spirits fundraising event silent auction, upcycling almost 50 pounds of donated fabric. Our very own videographer outlined the project in a YouTube video called Cooperstown Farmers’ Market Rag Rug Project if you want to get a good understanding of the process. Starting with fabric gathered last year, rugs will be woven and sold at the market. Half the proceeds will benefit the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.
New this year, you may try your hand at designing a rug for your house and placing a custom order. If you have fabric left from your sofa slipcovering project or some old drapes you can’t part with, as long as the fabrics are of similar weight, fiber, and color palette, you might have the makings of a great rug. Dawn Helstrom is on hand to guide you through the design options and rug specifications.
Learn about cutting the strips of fabric, stitching the strips together, and weaving on the 1923 Union Custom Loom from the Union Loom Works in Boonville, NY. The loom has been loaned to us by local fiber farmer, weaver, and teacher Dawn Helstrom. Her enthusiasm for this project has propelled us into a second season of rug making. When asked about the history of the loom Ms. Helstrom replied, “This Union Works Loom was first purchased new by Mr. Charles Bennett for his wife in 1923. Then in 1941, after Mr. Bennett’s wife passed, he sold this two shaft, 45 inch weave loom to Mrs. Viola Madorno. The loom was used to create literally hundreds of rugs. After many years of neglect, I received it, and restored the loom to full use which is truly a labor of love. I appreciate the fact that the loom was made locally, in Boonville.” Advertising from the 1930’s touts this loom as the manufacturer’s best loom, the product of many years of experience. It was designed to do ‘considerable weaving,’ thought of as a professional grade loom in its time, and was sold nationwide.
The raw ingredient for weaving in our area is animal fiber. Fiber farmers raise goats, sheep, alpacas, llamas, and angora rabbits. Spinners turn the furry fibers into yarn – the yarns are knitted, crocheted, felted, or woven into a variety of products. Currently at the market we have six fiber farmers. Dutchayr Farm raises sheep for their wool fiber to create supplies like yarns, as well as finished knitwear, and felted items. Mimikis also in the wool business specializes in soft toys and teddy bears. Glimmerglass Alpacas uses the fiber from their herd of alpacas to create ladies’ hats, socks and more. Mint Spring Farm has sheep and features whimsical children’s wool hats. Butternut Creek Fiber Arts has sheep and is owned by weaver Dawn Helstrom. Nectar Hills Farm sheep and highland cows provide fleece, hides, and home décor items. Visit these businesses’ websites or stop by the market to see for yourself the diversity of products offered by these incredibly creative artisans.