In my last post I introduced a charity shop find, a weaver’s notebook from 1925-26. I’ve had a great reaction, so here is some of the latest information and leads – and a lot more photographs. Hopefully there’ll be more to come as I follow up on everything…
One of the most interesting leads came from someone studying textiles at Glasgow School of Art; he had seen a very similar book – same layout of book, same type of examples – in the archives there. I’ve also been given contacts at many relevant museums and textile collections, and details have been passed to the head of textiles at Cardonald College – A J Easton, the keeper of this notebook, lived in Cardonald. And another person was able to find an exact address from records in Glasgow: 52, Carsaig Drive – certainly a family with the same surname lived there at the right time, and the address in the book is Carsaig Drive. I’ve searched the 1911 census, but no records match (the 1921 census isn’t yet available).
I’m still no closer, however, to working out exactly how the book came to make its way to an attic in Porthmadog. The mother of a friend, a very bright 103-year-old and local historian, spent a lot of her life living near the house where the book was found. She recalls that it was always tenanted (rats, no records except a vague possibility in unpublished censuses / electoral rolls). But she also added that during the War there were a lot of evacuated families living in Port, and that every available space was filled with people from all over the UK. She had a feeling that the link might lie there… Who knows, there may never be an answer.
I’m not sure I mind, though; in a way, it’s enough that the notebook itself has survived. I do find it rather poignant – and heartening – that it should have materialised after nearly 90 years, and am still amazed at it, given that there must have been so many opportunities for it to end up in a skip. I suppose that’s why I’m trying to find out more. I can’t imagine for one minute that A J Easton would ever have considered that people would be looking at his/her everyday work notes early in the 21st century. You can never tell (assumes Yoda-like tone: ‘tell, you cannot’).
Anyway, more images. This is the very last entry, from March 1926:
Many contemporary weavers have been in touch to tell me about their notebooks – as a non-weaver I’ve needed lots of help to understand what I’ve been looking at. One on Ravelry also used navy and white for her twill samples, to give ‘strong contrast between warp and weft so you can see clearly where the yarn goes over or under’. Another added that ‘the idea is to choose something that allows you to see the weave structure easily and to compare various weave structures without being distracted by different colours’ – an excellent point, especially for someone like me who is so easily led astray by delicious colours. It also looks extremely likely that the twill samples at least would have been woven by A J Easton, which was one of the things I wanted to know.
The book isn’t just about twills, though they do seem to have fascinated A J, and there are also examples of other things. So I have decided to put up a lot more pictures and let everyone have a proper look – just click on one for a slideshow – and I will keep posting (and tweeting) any developments as I follow up on all the leads…