Tasha Tuesday & Giveaway: A Passion For Weaving

EDIT: This week’s winner is Stillparenting from Instagram!

Hello friends, and welcome to another Tasha Tuesday! This week we continue to celebrate the beloved author, illustrator and lifestyle icon in the month that she would have turned 105 years old.

Each Tuesday this month, I will have a new Tasha Tuesday post, chatting about something Tasha Tudor related, and also a little bonus treat– I will be giving away a Tasha Tudor related prize each week as well. To enter to win the prize, you just leave a comment here on my blog, and/or on the corresponding instagram post on my instagram feed! You are welcome to comment in both places to increase your odds of winning. I am also so so thrilled to announce that I have a wonderful partner in these giveaways– Anokhi— who make gorgeous authentic Indian block printed scarves like the ones Tasha was famous for wearing. Anokhi is also a small, family run business that is now in it’s second generation. I know you will love them, I have several, and they are all beautiful!

Read through to the end to see what this week’s prize is, and a special thanks to Anokhi for being a part of Tasha Tuesday!

Tasha Tudor- A Passion for Weaving

Of all the talents and interests that Tasha Tudor is know for— painting, gardening, corgis, old fashioned dress– one of her lifelong passions usually gets forgotten; weaving. But not only did Tasha weave rugs for her large drafty kitchen as a young mother, she also learned to weave her own cloth— from, in many cases, fibers she grew, dyed and spun herself. As we spoke about last week, Tasha was a pioneer of incorporating historical dress into every day life, and many of those pieces were woven at her own loom.

What is fascinating about Tasha’s weaving endeavors is that she came by most of her knowledge in a completely self-taught manner. When her interest in the craft began in the 1930s and 1940s, the art of loom weaving had become fairly obscure. Many a New England loom that had worked for generations were relegated to the barn yard and made into chicken coops, if they weren’t smashed up for firewood before that. To teach herself to weave, Tasha found very old books on the subject and slowly started to amass her loom collection.

Tasha’s daughter Bethany remembered, “at one time the big old loom stood in a corner of the kitchen. It was a very pleasant place for my mother to sit and weave, when she was not busy with housework. Underneath the loom several striped kittens usually played. The place was irresistible to them, and there were many baskets filled with spools, shuttles and cloth strips to be woven.” (Drawn From New England by Bethany Tudor, pg. 76)

Tasha Tudor at her loom, circa 1970. Photo from “Drawn From New England” by Bethany Tudor

Tasha’s interest in weaving seems to have been driven by the love of the process of making cloth from start to finish. According to author Tovah Martin, “Tasha says that she once grew a shirt from seed, and that’s not far from the truth. One year she decided to plant flax, which she then harvested, spun, dyed, wove and sewed into a checked shirt for her brother. The process took three years from seed to shirt, and it required quite a bit of obscure equipment and a good deal of research.” (Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts by Tovah Martin, pg. 51-52)

As the years passed, there was a resurgence of interest in American homespun crafts, especially as the bicentennial approached. In her later years, Tasha become close friends with many like-minded artisans who were passionate about preserving ‘the old ways’ and she maintained long lasting and fruitful friendships with creators all over the country. One of these friends was celebrated weaver Kate Smith, who founded Eaton Hill Textile Works in Marshfield, VT. With Kate, Tasha would dye her yarns (especially cochineal red for her red petticoats!) and also weave. Tasha kept several of her own looms in her home and barn at Corgi Cottage, and also let some of her closest weaving friends store their looms there. If Tasha was out of town, she would call on Kate to house-sit, and was always delighted to find several yards of expertly woven cloth on a loom when she returned.

Tasha at her loom in Corgi Cottage. Photo by Richard Brown

Tasha often spoke fondly of the early 20th century, saying “I’m drawn to the old ways, convinced that I lived before, in the 1830’s. Everything comes so easily to me from that period, of that time: threading a loom, growing flax, spinning, milking a cow. Einstein said that time is live a river, it flows in bends. If we could only step back around the turns, we could travel in either direction. I’m sure it’s possible. When I die, I’m going right back to 1830.” ( The Private World of Tasha Tudor by Richard Brown, pg. 13)

Several years ago I was lucky enough to tour Tasha’s home and see several of her looms as she left them. I was also able to see one of her looms set up in Brattleboro when there was a Tasha Tudor Museum there, along with the last bit of cloth she was working on before her death. It seems that up until the end, Tasha was still weaving— still creating— still making her love for the past become present.

Tasha’s loom set up at a museum in Brattleboro, VT. in 2013

The cloth looped over the loom beater in the foreground was the last bit of weaving Tasha was working on before her death in 2008.

If you’d like to see an antique loom in action, and hear from a weaver who is passionate about maintaining the textile skills of the path, I highly suggest this short video featuring Tasha’s talented weaving friend– Kate Smith.

Kate Smith keeps time-honored weaving techniques alive at the Marshfield School of Weaving in Marshfield, VT.

The Giveaway

And now— for our giveaway! This week I am giving away another beautiful scarf from Anokhi, as well as two sweet little notecards of Tasha’s own artwork from Tasha Tudor and Family!

To enter to win, just leave a comment on this blog post! You may also enter on instagram on the corresponding IG post. Winner will be chosen on Friday. Good luck! And, of course,

Take Joy!~
h

14 thoughts on “Tasha Tuesday & Giveaway: A Passion For Weaving

  1. I spin dye knit and crochet and weave on an inkle loom or swuare loom but not multi shaft loom i wish i did but time is not a friend i really dont know how tasha did it all luckily she didnt have the internet

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  2. What wonderful reminder you gave us today about Tasha’s love and pursuit of fiber arts and weaving. I never knew about her growing, weaving and creating a shirt for her brother! WOW!! Last Fall, I was able to watch weavers , in an old Irish woolen mill still working on making beautiful woolens with home grown Irish wool. This demonstration is for tourists and today there are modern looms that do all of the weaving. However, there are still some handmade woolens being made. And while it looks complicated, there is an order to all of it and practice makes perfect! I hope Tasha’s friends, who also were weavers, helped to influence younger generations who are now weaving and keeping this important craft alive.

    Our Heather has a beautiful loom in her studio and has been experimenting and creating some gorgeous small projects from wool that she spun and dyed!! Thank-you Heather for helping all of us appreciate and enjoy this old World skill that Tasha also pursued in her life!

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  3. This is so inspiring. Growing a shirt from seed. Love it! I want to plant flax! I have a handknit sweater I spun myself from raw wool. So far the only fiber I am raising myself is the angora. I spend most of my time milking my cow and gardening to feed my seven kids. When they get older, I anticipate weaving a lot more and growing wool and flax on our homestead. Thanks for such a thorough, detailed post.

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  4. The concept of growing your own clothes… WOW! It makes me conjure up images of a garden with growing shirts, etc. in all varying sizes with scarecrows as mannequins and folks shopping the rows with their farmer’s market baskets; the garden shed acting as the fitting room. If only I could draw ☺️

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  5. I have a small weaving loom that I have never figured out how to use. I have always wanted to learn, unfortunately, there isn’t a place near me that teaches weaving. Such a bummer

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  6. The picture with the last of Tasha’s weaving is very touching. How lucky you were to be able to visit her home and see things “in person”! I hope I can also visit one day. She is certainly an inspiration to all us makers. Thank you for sharing about this special lady. ❤

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    1. I was able to see one of Tasha’s dollhouses once in Williamsburg but would love to see her loom. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  7. I am having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of having a kitchen big enough for a loom. I think I need to see Tasha’s home in person someday.

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  8. I have always had a love affair with weaving. It’s the one craft I have never really done. At shows and restorations, I’m always one of the first at looms, mesmerized at the magic of crafting something from nothing.

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