Saturday, August 2, 2008

August 1 – Beating the Loom

After a nice night's rest and some creek play at Blue Pool Campground, we toured the Monaco RV factory in Coburg, OR today, then moved on to Mission Mill Village in Salem, OR.

While the RV factory was interesting, it would have helped to have the crew working. We saw empty shops with projects partially completed, empty paint booths, and a guy cleaning windows. Apparently Fridays are off days, a nice perk for the employees! It didn’t help that our guide took us on a roundabout tour that led from point Z to D to A to P. After 60 minutes of that, he finally went to point A (this is where we start with the frames) and ran us down the line to see how these amazing (and incredibly expensive) RVs are built. When he finally started putting thing in order the tourists’ interest was revived. And I kept thinking about how Grandpa Randy would enjoy these spacious, clean shops.

Mission Mill is a historic mill in Oregon’s state capitol. When we arrived at 1, the hostess at the entry gate asked if we wanted a tour. Without a tour, she said, we wouldn’t be able to go inside any of the buildings. So, of course we signed up, and shelled out. The tour, however, included only the homes of the missionaries, and after an hour of that, I asked the guide about seeing the mill before the looms stopped working (at 3). Her response, “Oh, we don’t go into the mill. We don’t have a docent for that today.” WHAT!? To top that off, the guide essentially read signs posted inside the homes to tell us about the time and place. You can imagine I was more than a little antsy, but E was happy talking about these mid-19th century people and artifacts. V and I played out on the lawn for awhile, until the tour finally wrapped up at 2:30. Then we found our way into the mill building (turns out you don’t need a guide) and up the glass elevator to the fourth floor where the weavers were at work.

Pat Eckherdt was a wonderfully friendly weaver who first said she was sorry the girls wouldn’t be able to help her out because her loom was too heavy. But after we hung around in the room for awhile watching other weavers, she invited the girls to help her rip fabric for a rag rug she was making. Once they helped her with that (and with huge smiles), she invited them to see how she ran the big loom. One thing led to another, and within minutes they were weaving and beating the loom and working the treadles.

They learned some tricks they can use in their weaving at home, and now E has added to her “wish list” a loom of her own (in addition to the spinning wheel that’s been on her list for a couple of years now). Next she’ll be asking for a sheep and shears so she can work a project from animal to outfit!

1 comment:

  1. As the new Director here at Mission Mill Museum, I would like to invite you back to our facility. I just came across your blog and this entry, and I apologize that you did not have a great experience during your visit. This is a wonderful place and has a lot to offer. I am pleased that you and your family did have a good time with Pat. Our weavers are a very special group. I would be honored to give you a tour of the Mill myself (it really is pretty special). Oh yea, did E get her loom for Christmas?


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