Saturday afternoon my sweetie and I visited the Windham Textile Museum in Willimantic, CT also known as Thread City USA. The east coast has a rich and vibrant textile history. Okay some of it is downright ugly but that’s not for this post. Mills were located all over New England where ever the rivers would provide enough power to run the machinery.
We’d passed this place before and finally stopped to visit. On the 2nd floor there are several exhibits detailing life during the time the mill was operational. From mill town to mill town and fashion district to fashion district its much the same. Workers lived in cramped quarters, purchased goods from the company store and worked long hours.
One of the draws to the museum is the room to the left, all of those beautiful antique sewing machines. I love the look and craftsmanship of these older machines. They are prettyand inspire quilting design. For great graphics on how sewing machines work check out this link. These were simple machines that started the journey to the machines that we’re using today. I like where we’re going with sewing machines today and embracing new technology. Between working in a quilt shop and teaching out in the big wide world I have no fear of losing handwork to machine work. There will always be quilters, sewists, knitters and crocheters who do work by hand. There is something comforting in that. When I listen to my machine I get that same relaxed, calming experience as anyone who does handwork.
This company based in Willimantic had satellites all over the company. Does this logo below look familiar? I’m wondering if there are ties and relations to this company. I’m also wondering if there are any ties between the museum and Windham Textiles (I believe they’re a division of Baum). If anyone knows the answer to these questions please let me know.
One of the things I loved is the company creed. It was well worth the read.
If you get a chance stop by the museum. It is well worth the trip. The top floor of the museum is a library full of textile related books that are well worth perusing. There are so many quilterly ideas now floating through my head. Okay that’s not really any kind of surprise. The other night after mini group a friend and I were continuing a discussion and I said to her that when I attended several recent concerts I can see quilterly possibilities in my minds eye. During her concert I sketched as I listened.
The other fun bit in the area is that there is a drive in movie theater about 3 miles from the museum. How is that for a day trip?!