Winter Weavers loom large over textile studio in Cotton’s Old School Lives building

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 4:10 PM CDT
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COTTON, MN. (Northern News Now) - These people call themselves the Winter Weavers. They’ve been working on rag rugs for the past six months and this is the day they get cut from the loom. This community weaving studio can be found in the old Cotton School. It’s a Scandinavian concept.

The ancient art of weaving lives at Old School Lives in Cotton
The ancient art of weaving lives at Old School Lives in Cotton(kbjr)

“They have community weaving studios where people can come in from the community that don’t have looms or just want to weave.” said Barb Luelling.

Old School Lives CEO Ginger Kinsley was one of those people who just wanted to weave. She and Barb Luelling got together to find and fix a room’s worth of ancient looms. One of them is 140 years old and from the era where you made yourself something you wanted.

“When some of these looms were made folks had to make their own clothing, their own bedspreads, their own linens, draperies, rugs.” said Luelling.

These rugs are part utilitarian tool and part ancient art form.

“We have a Newcomb loom, the name of the loom and we have a special pattern on it called a reverse twill.” said Winter Weaver Amy Loiselle.

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The reverse twill rug is one of three made at the same time on the Newcomb loom. The Winter Weavers needed a half year to get the complicated job done. There are many steps to weaving but once set in the muscle memory it becomes an easier task. Betty Jo Maher got into the hobby thinking it would be a good way to make Christmas presents.

“It’s also addictive because now I have three looms at home!” said Maher.

“Once you start weaving you recognize that connection to folks from thousands of years ago. It had to be done and it’s a very good connection.” said Luelling.

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