| Aug 10, 2006

Feature Article - August 10, 2006

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Feature Article - August 10, 2006

Fibre to Fabric:Pioneer TextileProduction

by Ankaret Dean

The old expressions "to raise your hackles”, "dyed in the wool" and to "spin a yarn" will be more easily understood when visitors see the new exhibition, "Fibre to Fabric: Pioneer Textile Production" opening at the Rideau Canal Museum on August 12 and continuing until October 31. This fascinating exhibition is being presented by McDonald’s Corners and Elphin Recreation and Arts, otherwise known as MERA.

Featuring many old pieces of equipment used by the settlers in this area, they will show the progression of sheep’s fleece from carding, spinning and natural dyeing to weaving. The process and preparation of flax will also be included.

On August 12 and 13 there will be demonstrations of this equipment by members of MERA. These will include spinning, beating and “hackling” the flax, as well as rag weaving on an old pioneer loom rescued from a barn a few years ago.


Some of this equipment has been lent by the Middleville Museum and the Rideau Canal Museum , but much of it has been donated to the MERA collection. Many of the pieces are made from local lumber, and provided the early settlers with warm clothing and household linens as well as hours and hours of work in their log cabins. Also included is a sample of knitting, with instructions on how to teach a child to knit.

MERA has an active group of spinners and weavers. The Heritage Weavers specialize in weaving pioneer-inspired textiles, and these will be available in the Museum Shop.

The museum is open seven days a week from 10 am to 4:30pm. Admission: Adults $4; Seniors $3.50; Youth $2.50; Children free.

Refreshments are available at the Museum.

The exhibition is on the third floor at the Rideau Canal Museum , at 34 Beckwith St. South , Smiths Falls .

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