We have been assigned as assistant site leaders with another missionary couple at the Family Living Center for several months now. We do 8 demonstrations of skills the people needed when they lived here in Nauvoo. I'll tell you about them one at a time.
Elder Knudsen fell in love with the looms when we first arrived here and he has really learned the trade well. He makes some really beautiful rugs for the sites and also for missionaries to take home as a souvenir of their mission. It was the men who did the weaving in old Nauvoo so that's the way it's done now.
He's also gotten really good at re-stringing them. It takes a couple of days to do it and not many missionaries take enough interest to learn how.
There are two floor looms - one is 30 inches wide and the other is 38 inches wide. These pictures were taken when he re-strung the big one. It has 18 miles of string - 19 sets of 24 strings. Here he is loading a set of 24 strings in the middle. Elder Schkrohowsky is turning the warp head. (He and his wife are from Boise). He has to turn the handle 70 times for each set.
Here are some pictures as they progressed.
It's loaded. Now comes the hard part. They have to individually pass each thread through the eyelets in the heddles one at a time and tie them to the strings that were left from last time.
Then they tie each set to a canvas.
When they get all the sets finished, they're ready to weave again.
When they finish several rugs, they unload them and the sisters tie little knots all along both edges so they don't unravel.
The sisters also keep the shuttles loaded. We cut fabric into 3 inch strips, sew them all together and wind them on the shuttles.
Here's a finished rug.
We also make beautiful shawls on a triangle loom. It's pretty cool - as you weave one side it also weaves the other side, and you finish in the middle. Then you add fringe along the edges.
Before we came, only site leaders and assistant site leaders were allowed to weave on the floor looms. But you know Elder Knudsen - he loves to teach. So now, he teaches anyone who wants to learn (Elders that is)