Page 43 - A Milling Frolic on the North Shore
ISSUE : Issue 21
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/12/1
the morning. Because that old homespun, boy, required a lot of pouhding and mil? ling. Heavier stuff. When that was milled, it was that thick and stiff you could al? most stand it up on the end. Great stuff. But the blankets, you know, I think the women watched that pretty closely so yoj* wouldn't mill them too much • around an hour or a little better than an hour. Say a piece that would be long enough for eight people to go around. They'd cut it up about 18 feet, you know, single. And that piece would be milled. Some of them would have perhaps 2 or 3 pieces of blan? ket like that to be milled. (Sewed into a continuous circle?) That's right. (And this would be the weaving of just one household?) One household, ph yes. And millings were so common then. I remem? ber the only time I was ever away from home working was in 1924 • and I came home in November. And my mother had been weav? ing I guess most of the fall. I don't know just how much she had woven. And we were supposed to have a milling the following week. I came home on a Monday, and the following week there was three millings, and all in the same district. And the next week the same way, 2 or 3 millings. That went on till perhaps the latter part of December and it had started perhaps in October. Because everybody was weaving and they wanted to get the blankets milled. That was the pattern: probably every sec? ond household had their batch of cloth to be milled. After you finish milling, there'd be two fellows get on one end of the milling board, two on the other end. The cloth was one long single strip, just as it came from the loom. If it had been sewn togeth? er at the end for passing aro ind the ta? ble, it was taken apart for this. But very often where there was a great bunch of millers they didn't need to sew the ends together • they'd just watch for the end and pass it. Anyhow, they'd stretch the blanket out, and then just roll it up tight on the table • fellows on one end holding it back tight and the other two fellows rolling it up tight, right up to the finish. Then, when that was done, they turned it sideways, two strapping fellows now, one on each side of the board. Each gave the roll two or three whacks from the centre out. Then they unrolled it some • perhaps 5 or 4 feet • did the same thing- all the way till the end--just driving all the water out of it. And that finished it. After that they'd be washing it. The same principle finished off the home? spun. Roll it up right tight then start to unroll it. Two fellows, one on each side, banging it as they were unrolling it, and that would be it • 2 o'clock in the morn? ing, sometimes quite a lot later than that. See, the women were pretty meticulous a- iDout that. It had to be shrunk to a cer? tain width • I think it's 28 inches or 27 was it. And it was pretty hard to get to that last going off, because it was shrunk so much. But some of them insisted it had
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