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November 7 - December 31
Woolgathering
a collection of local wool and linsey woolsey blankets
woven on antique industrial looms

The leap from hand weaving to working on industrial looms isn't one that many make, but in 1982 Peggy Hart of Bedfellows Blankets did that, to be able to weave affordable blankets. Hart says her looms give her the ability to weave more unusual, intricate patterns but with the flexibility to change patterns and colors in the loom as a hand weaver would. The shuttle looms were obsolete technology even then, decommissioned by a small family woolen mill in Connecticut. Loom fixer Leonard Brodt, longtime associate of Peggy's and now living in Shelburne Falls, rehabilitated and has kept the looms running ever since. The looms live in Peggy's barn in Buckland and when in operation, one definitely needs to wear ear protection!

Peggy became fascinated with the history of these looms and the particular weaves they produced as well as with the types of fibers early weavers used in America. In the early days of settlement in New England, a scarcity of wool was made to go further by combining it with at linen warp, hence the name "linsey woolsey". This new collection includes variations on traditional linsey woolsey fabric as well as blankets incorporating wool from local farmers. Photographs of Hart's looms and a timeline of technology, from hand spun to factory made, will round out the exhibit. To learn more about Peggy Hart and her work go to www.blanketweave.com.

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