During my last week in the Peak District I visited the Silk Museum in Macclesfield. I have been planning to visit for around 15 years but somehow it never got factored into the plans. A wet day at the campsite seemed like a perfect opportunity.
The museum is housed in the former school of art, a wonderful Victorian building where many of the designers who worked in the local silk mills learnt their art. This means that they have a fascinating collection of artefacts such as the Jacquard punch cards and the samples that the students had to make for their assessments.
They have an amazing array of weaving looms and it was brilliant to talk to some of the volunteers who are restoring these. This one below is a jacquard loom and you can see the punch cards on the right and moving over the top of the loom.
This machine made narrow ribbons and there were samples of the sorts of things they wove.
I had a go with the tassel making machine as the volunteers had just mended it, it wound the silk around the wooden bead perfectly.
This loom makes knitted stockings which we still wear for re-enactment, although mine are wool and tied at the knee with a leather thong.
In a separate section was a display of silk printing from the Langley Printworks, some wonderful blocks including my favourite Paisley designs. The blocks were all carved in house to the designer’s specifications a very painstaking job as you can imagine.
Also very interesting were the manufacturer’s sample books, still so vibrant even though they are 100 years old. There were also a few garments, the Macclesfield stripe was particularly renowned as it was woven rather than being printed. A really lovely museum and I am so glad that I managed to visit.
I was busy decorating for Ellen last week, and did a day volunteering for the food bank. I am now back in sunny Spain so will be able to catch up on all of the other blog posts from my summer adventures as there are some other museums and historic house visits that I have done as stops on the way between campsites. Who knows I might even do some crafting 😉 so that this can go back to being a craft blog!
The last 3 months have gone so quickly, I have had a brilliant time but am looking forward to spending a lot more time at my sewing machine and having a few months in the same place before I start travelling again. I did mange to finish all of the Christmas ornaments for friends before I left the UK, backing them with stash that I gave Ellen before I left the UK.
Until next time, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.