Wednesday 1 April 2009

Darning Samplers or Weaving Samplers?

Yesterday, Marjie Thompson that excellent historical weaver and author of Forgotten Pennsylvania Textiles of the 18th And 19th Centuries dropped by to say some nice things about this blog. I haven't spoken to Marjie since Ackworth2008 when we had a very lively discussion about whether the Ackworth School Darning samplers were instruction in darning or weaving.

I come from the Manningham Mills area of Leeds-Bradford textile belt. The building you see here is across the road from where I went to school and at lunchtime in the school holidays I used to join my mother in the mill canteen. In this area, when I was young, around 90% of the population were employed in weaving mills or ancillary trades. I remember that when I was young, my older sisters would bring home homework involving drawing weaving diagrams which always fascinated me. (These mills which were built on the model of Italian palaces to last for milennia are now heritage sites and apartment blocks.) My question is: Did the Ackworth girls learn weaving through this needlework exercise? Here is your chance to play with the magic loupe again and look in close-up at a detail of Mary Peacock's darning sampler. Remember you need to click the button marked 'Loupe' to see detail and 'Return' to come back to the blog. Darning exercise? Weaving exercise? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I am pleased you are having fun looking into this sampler extract. It is stitched and not woven - but was it an exercise in the theory of weaving? In his Lessons and Tales of 1851 The Reverend Richard Dawes describes for a child how darning is a rude weaving and to understand weaving it is good to watch how darning is made. (p58)