COOPERSTOWN — The Farmers’ Museum welcomed hundreds of visitors Saturday and Sunday for its Fiber Arts Weekend festivities.
Museum staff demonstrated how to card wool to refine the fibers, spin thread, weave fabrics, knit and crochet, and visitors participated in a variety of hands-on activities, including spinning wool on a drop spindle, felting, dyeing yarn and quilting.
Garry Aney, a museum interpreter dressed in 19th-century attire, demonstrated to siblings Matthew, Daniel and Alise Montgomery, visiting from New Jersey, how to twist twine into rope at the Lippitt Farmhouse.
The process requires at least three sets of hands, Aney explained; one to crank the jacks, which spin the fibers strung between metal hooks, and two to keep the strands of twisted fibers from tangling as they’re tightened into rope.
“The whole process is one of contrary, or reversing twists,” he said. “By reversing the direction of the twist, you’re creating a balanced twist. You want those angles to lay into one another so it will be round.”
Rope is traditionally made from natural fibers such as hemp and flax, Aney said, but he used sisal twine, a member of the agave family, in the demonstration.
Members of the Susquehanna Valley Quilters, based in Oneonta, and the Fenimore Quilt Club of Cooperstown showed off their works throughout the museum grounds and sold quilted blocks and fat quarters to other fabric enthusiasts.
The Susquehanna Valley Quilters sold raffle tickets for a full-size quilt titled “Aztec Sunburst.” The proceeds of the raffle are used to purchase materials for quilts and other hand-sewn items which are donated to different groups and individuals throughout the community, according to member Charlotte Axtell.
The group makes quilts for families who have lost their belongings in fire or floods, tote bags for chemotherapy patients to bring books and activities to their appointments and placemats for Meals on Wheels and other meal programs for seniors throughout the community, she said.
“We meet once a month to make different things and share ideas,” Axtell said. “It’s a great group of women.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.