Spinning and Weaving

In 1934, with five looms from Scotts Run and nine additional looms purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt, the spinning and weaving cooperative in Arthurdale began. Mrs. Roosevelt also paid for teachers from Berea College in Kentucky to teach interested women to weave. The cooperative produced rag rugs, coverlets, aprons, pillow tops, tablecloths, draperies, bedspreads, and clothes out of linen, cotton, and wool. Most of these items were sold commercially through the Craft Shop, but the cooperative also filled orders from all over the United States and other countries. The women also quilted blankets and donated them to the Health Center and Nursery School.

The community interest in weaving was so high that a course was offered at the high school for junior and senior girls. In 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt paid for Arthurdale High School graduate Dorothy Mayor, later Thompson, to study weaving in Louisville, KY with master weaver Lou Tate for 18 months. Some homestead husbands built their wives looms for them to use at home. Other women and girls continued to come up to the Center to use those looms.