Weaving traditions on display at county fair

LISBON — Years ago professional weavers would earn wages by traveling from house to house in covered wagons. The looms they used were so large they became known as barn looms, since they usually wouldn’t fit inside the homes, Lynn Rainsberger said.

Rainsberger had her own, smaller, loom for 30 years but only learned how to weave within the last five years. Seated at a barn loom at the Columbiana County Fair, she shares her knowledge of the craft.

A member of the Algonquin Weavers and Spinners out of Carrollton, Rainsberger said she is noticing a resurgence of interest in the art of weaving among the younger generations.

“I really want to pass this on to the younger generations. I don’t want this to be lost,” she said.

Rainsberger works on weaving a rug as she talks –she can weave placemats, table runners, tea towels and shawls. She said her next project is a triangle shawl.

The barn loom she is weaving on was originally threaded two years ago. The threading process takes a few days alone, she explained.

In years past, professional weavers would get paid to weave linens for the homes they traveled to. Sometimes they would stay in the barns where they worked and sometimes they were lucky enough to get invited to stay inside the homes, Rainsberger said.

In time, people realized they could build their own looms, she added.

Weaving was a way for housewives to recycle fabrics, with old clothes turned into floor coverings for the hardwood floors that were typical in homes during those times.

“It was a good way for the housewives to use everything up,” she said.

People interested in seeing how a loom works can visit the Algonquin Mill from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday.

The 48th annual Algonquin Mill Fall Festival is also coming up on Oct. 12-14 at the Mill farm five miles south of Carrollton on state Route 332. The festival is hosted by the Carroll County Historical Society and features quality crafters and demonstrations of wood carving, broom making, candle dipping, rug making, weaving, quilting, and others.

The festival also features old fashioned foods and live musical entertainment. A children’s activity area is also available, with pony rides, farm animals, face painting, sand art and miniature train rides. Train rides will be available on Oct. 13 and 14.

Admission is $8 per vehicle and all exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.