Sunday, June 4, 2023

It's spring in Santa Fe, or: how I spent my weekend.

You know summer's nearly here when El Rancho de las Golondrinas opens for the season. Alert hearth/myth readers know that the ranch is a living history museum at a historic site that was the final stop on the Camino Real before Spanish settlers got to Santa Fe -- and also that I started volunteering with the weaving program there last year.

The first thing I wanted to do this season was to make a tote bag that looked more or less historically correct. My costume doesn't have any pockets because it's historically correct. But as a modern person, I need a place to stash my phone, car keys, lip balm, tissues, and so on. I've been wearing a pair of shorts under my skirt, but it looks awkward at best when I hike up my skirt to fish something out of a pocket. So yesterday (with permission, of course), I spent the day on one of our looms to weave cloth for my bag.

We have four walking looms (plus a Navajo loom that's just for display). The term "walking loom" means you stand up to operate it, shifting your weight back and forth on the treadles to get the heddles to rise in the proper sequence for your project. The loom I used for my bag was donated to the ranch by the Barela family of ChimayĆ³ -- and if you know anything about weaving in northern New Mexico, you know that the weavers in ChimayĆ³ know what they're doing. Here's a link to one of the rug shops there, so you can see what I mean. 

Anyway, I picked a very simple design for my bag -- stripes up the sides and a wide field of turquoise (which I dyed myself at the dye shed last fall) for the middle. And I managed to get the weaving finished yesterday while chatting with guests. Here it is before we cut off the loom. 

Lynne Cantwell 2023
For this festival this year, we had some folks from San Ildefonso Pueblo come to help out. They fed us with samples of food they made in an horno and entertained us with traditional dances. I hope they come back, because the food was excellent.
San Ildefonso Pueblo dancers,
from the door of the Barela loom room.
Lynne Cantwell 2023 

Posole and calabacitas with bread and
cookies, all made in an horno by the
San Ildefonso Tewa Women's Club. Mmm!
Lynne Cantwell 2023
(An horno is a beehive-shaped oven made of adobe. The ranch has two outside the cocina.)

The weather mostly cooperated, but this afternoon we had a thunderstorm. And see those little white pellets on the ground in front of the gate? Yup, that's hail. Luckily the storm cleared out within about a half hour.
Lynne Cantwell 2023
So that was my weekend. The tote bag isn't finished yet; it needs a strap. I'm going to try making one on an inkle loom. I'll let you know how that goes.

These moments of springlike blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay safe!


Anonymous said...

So why do they have the oven outside the kitchen?

Lynne Cantwell said...

Because they get quite hot. There's a fireplace/hearth inside the kitchen, but the horno is a separate structure outside. Wikipedia says the temperature inside the horno can reach 650 degrees Farenheit, and nobody wants that kind of heat inside the house in the summer.