A series of special in-depth workshops are scheduled throughout the summer at the Home Textile Tool Museum in Orwell, 1819 Orwell Hill Road on State Rte. 1036.  These are hands-on opportunities to learn unusual skills and gain rare knowledge about historical fiber and farm production methods. 

The workshops have a class fee to help cover instructors’ time (most one-day workshops are $25) as well as variable materials fees to be paid to the instructor. Some workshops also require participants to bring their own basic tools or materials. Registration is required and all classes have a maximum of 8 or 12 participants. 

In addition to workshop dates, the museum is open every Saturday during the summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts a variety of activities, demonstrations and programs. Here’s a look at the first few: 

Soap Making 

The 2019 Workshop season will kick off on Thursday, June 6 with Soap Making with Laryssa Zahajkewycz from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Originally from New Jersey, Laryssa is a knitter, crafter and cheese maker in addition to being a soap maker. She has been making soap since 1995 when she took a class with chemist and author Robert McDaniel. Sometime after moving to Susquehanna County 23 years ago, she took another class with Cathy Brennan in Newark Valley, New York and learned about the use of tallow.  She markets her soap in upscale places like Woodstock, New York.  The workshop will teach the basics of home soap production using both beef tallow and vegetable oils. A variety of scents will be available. Students will go home with about 28 bars of scented or unscented soap. 

Tablet Weaving

Tablet Weaving with Lea Witte will be featured on Friday, June 7. Lea is a professor at Bucknell University and began her journey into tablet weaving in the late 1990s at a living history organization. She realized that the cost of most looms was a barrier to people who wanted to learn weaving so she started making simple board looms and selling them at cost in order to teach the world to weave. She has taught many people since the early 2000s. Tablet looms (also known as card looms) have been a popular way to make trims and decorative borders since at least 800 AD in the Middle East and Europe. The technique used in this workshop is called threaded-in weaving and participants will learn how to warp the loom, weave on it and finish off a project. 

All supplies will be provided and participants will keep their projects as well as handouts, a set of basic weaving cards and a shuttle. They will also have the option of purchasing the tablet loom they work on for an additional $25.

 Dorset Buttons

On Wednesday, June 12, Renata Brenner of Felted Flora will present a workshop on Dorset Buttons. Dorset Buttons originated in the Dorset area of England and were a major hand industry throughout the region until about 1850 when machine-made buttons became more popular. This heritage craft uses a ring (originally a slice of sheep horn – later, metal) and a process of repeatedly binding or stitching thread from the outside of the ring inward to create the look of a wheel or something akin to a spider web. There are numerous patterns and styles, some with open spaces and others entirely filled in. Some also utilize embroidery on top of the button. 

In this workshop, students will learn the basic technique for cartwheel design on a 1” ring. Renata says students can learn to do this in about an hour.  

For further information on any of these workshops, contact registrar Eve Herrington at info@httm.org or call (570) 744-2653.  You can also check the website, www.httm.org, for registration information for more workshops scheduled throughout the summer.