Macktown's fiber arts event this weekend shows "It's About the Fiber"


Nancy, a volunteer in 1840s dress, demonstrates sewing at Macktown Living History

This weekend at Macktown Living History's fiber arts event, "It's About the Fiber," visitors can learn how Rockton's early settlers used thread, yarn, and cloth. But also, they can learn how to make fiber items themselves. Download the complete brochure here.

Two days of vendors, instructors & demonstrators on all aspects of the fiber arts begins at 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Macktown Living History is located at 2221 Freeport Road, inside Macktown Forest Preserve outside Rockton.

Admissions is free for members (you can join now!) and $5 per day per person for non-members, payable at the Visitor’s Center near the entrance. Children under 8 are also free.

Four special workshops are planned:

  • Great Lakes Style Twined Bag
  • Dream Catcher Workshop
  • Log Cabin Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom
  • Scrap Basket Workshop

Classes will be held in the visitor’s center and the two-story Sylvester Stevens woodworking shop. In the 1840s, the first school classes in the region were held upstairs in the Stevens shop.

Many volunteers will be wearing 1840s period clothes and traditional goods will be for sale.

Vendors, demonstrations, and presentations will be presented under a marquee tent adjacent to the vendors.

The monthly knitting bee will be in the Whitman's Tavern, Saturday at noon, and everyone is welcome to join, even beginners.

Demonstrators will be presenting crafts to visitors, including bobbin lace, toothbrush rag rugs, and Death's Head buttons, which are morbid in name only and are actually quite cute. Fashionable in the 1700s, they are made from wood and wrapped in colored thread in a crossed pattern (like crossed bones - get it? But no skull).

Death's Head button (enlarged). Photo: Ross Thomson House and Store Museum, Nova Scotia

Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

Wool & linen fabrics & notions
Roving & spun yarns
Knitted items & gift kits
Drop spindles and more

Drop spindle. Photo: Angela Montillon

Death Head Buttons
Bobbin Lace
Toothbrush Rag Rugs
Spinning: drop & wheel
Working with flax
Various methods of making bands and cords

Toothbrush rag rug

11:00 a.m.: Death Head Buttons
Noon-4:00 p.m.: Knitting Bee
1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.: The Knitted Items of the 1830’s-1850’s
2:00 p.m.: Sustainable Fibers & Toxic Textiles

11:00 a.m.: Death Head Buttons
1:00 p.m.: Working with Flax

Parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the visitor’s center. For those who have mobility issues, we will have transportation onto the event grounds.

For questions, call the event coordinator, Constance Gleasman, at 815-218-3874.

Macktown Living History is proud to offer this event for your learning and enjoyment.

Whitman Trading Post
Stevens Shop
Macktown Visitors Center
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