Some looms

I didn’t find much of textile interest while on holiday (except in terms of inspiration like the manhole covers). There was a silk factory which had a museum attached but I was told by the tourist office in Tours that it was closed all July and August. 🙁

However, I did find a few things, unexpectedly. We went to see a strange motley collection of … basically anything with moving parts, the Musee Maurice Dufresne. I think that M Dufresne couldn’t bear to leave any machines he found rusting in fields or anywhere; he had to rescue them and add them to his collection. Something had been found at the bottom of a lake. It was a huge combine harvester or something like that. Goodness knows how it got to the bottom of the lake or how he knew it was there and managed to get it out again. It was that sort of a collection.

Anyway, in amongst all this stuff were a few looms.

looms

I don’t know much about looms or what type they are but it was lovely to see all that pile of yarn in the midst of machinery! If anyone can enlighten me, I will add the information.

loom

loom

I think this one made braid, or ribbon.

machine for winding bobbins?

Is this a machine for winding shuttles? or warping or something? (can’t you tell I don’t know ANYTHING about weaving?! Still, I do find these kinds of things interesting and I would love to learn, so please enlighten me!)

All these looms were a drop in the ocean in the huge barn-like buildings in which they were stored. I found some sewing machines high up on a shelf later on and I felt so sorry that they were stuck up there so unappreciated.  I wanted to take them all home with me!
old sewing machine

In amongst all these were cars, farm machinery, a London bus(!) and even a guillotine which had travelled around during the French Revolution – it was mounted on a cart. Bikes, printing machines, you name it, it was there. Amazing.

Antique sewing machine

Lovely old sewing machine with decorative decals

Well, I’m back from my travels (actually got back on Thursday but it’s taken this long to get through the pile of washing and read about 1000 emails…). On the way to our destination, we came across a car boot sale. We spent about an hour and a half there examining all the treasures. And look what I got there! It only cost me £14. I looked it up on the internet and apparently it was made in Germany, not sure when. It’s got a transverse shuttle, whatever that is – it is a long, thin one anyway. The start to my very own sewing machine museum!!

Museum of Printed Textiles

When we go on holiday, I always ensure that I research the textile museums in the area. This is probably because my husband is mad on visiting airfields and cathedrals, and the kids always have their own agenda, so I’ve got to find things that interest me or die of boredom!

Last summer we stayed in a gite in Alsace in Eastern France, and went to Mulhouse, where there was the perfect combination – a textile museum and a car museum! So I had a blissful afternoon at the Museum of Printed Textiles while Edmund took the kids off to see the cars.

The thing I found most interesting was that they didn’t print with dyes in the early years. They printed (using wooden blocks) with different mordants (which are the things which, in natural dyeing, make the dyestuff bond with the fabric) and then put the whole thing in one dyebath. Using different mordants produced different colours on the cloth.

It is well worth seeing – they have demonstrations of the printing techniques there, too.