Monday, February 08, 2010

Historic Buildings in Brattleboro + Another Quarters Cap

I'm still working on Christmas 2009 folks. Anyone else in the same situation? I just finished three Quarters Caps for my sister Jenn's new step-kids Bryce, Reese, and Chase. I've got to get the caps in the mail before it warms up. This time, I added some crochet flowers to Bryce's hat. Julia was desperate for me to let her keep it but I'll have to make a different one for her. I wanted to show you all how cute it turned out.

The other day I got this comment from Australia after I wrote about books Julia has been enjoying and the new yarn store Knit or Dye in Brattleboro where I will be teaching February 28th:
Ruth said...

Loved reading about Brattleboro. My childhood church was a little brick and iron building built in a paddock 10 miles from the nearest town in country Western Australia. It had a small pedal organ (which I played during holidays from boarding school, all stops out) and the gold gothic writing above the keys proclaimed that it was made in Brattleboro VT!!

Ruth's note reminded me of how I have always wanted to write about about an amazing bit of architecture in Brattleboro. One day many years ago when I was trying to avoid a traffic jam in Bratt, I took a side street detour. A little bit down the road, I found the most amazing series of tall and large buildings covered in gray slate. I have always been interested in old buildings - they don't have to be fancy, nor in great shape. I just like looking at them and wondering about how they got there, who built them and what they were used for. Part of that building love comes from the 15 years I spent working in an enormous brick factory building in Lowell when I worked for TYC.

It took me a while to look into the history of the buildings but eventually I found out that they were built by the Estey Organ Company sometime in the 1800's.

Today the buildings are a bit delapidated. There are relics from the past from what looks to have been a huge company in the area. Here is the factory clock that has long since stopped.

A few of the buildings house some small businesses but many are vacant.

The thing that struck me most when I first stumbled upon them was their color - a beautiful purplish, grayish, bluish mottled mix. I have driven by these buildings many times and determined that the gorgeous color came from the slate stone that was used for siding them. There were many slate quarries here in this area of New England - from the little roads around here, you often see piles of slate which must be left from when slate quarrying was a going concern.

One of the first things I thought about, upon seeing the slate up close was how beautiful one of my pieces of knitwear would look against the natural color of the slate. I have mentioned the location to different magazine editors but we are far from everywhere and frankly no magazine wants to pay a model, make-up person, photographer, etc travel time. But now that I am doing my own photography for this blog and for my PDF patterns and I have a willing model in Julia, I could take care of my photo fantasies.

Julia and I spent a good amount of time driving and walking through the complex the other day. It was freezing, there were signs all over the place for falling ice, and the complex was pretty deserted.

On the back side of the buildings, there are many different little alleys, building extensions, and courtyards.

We also discovered the Estey Organ Museum which we will have to check out this coming summer.

I found some other lovely old buildings to use as backdrops for photos including this building

and this one. I'm a sucker for old wood, weathered paint, and funky doors.

So there you have it folks - I've satisfied my yearnings for photographing something near these fabulous Estey Organ factory buildings, I can send the Christmas present off before winter is over, and I'm hoping Ruth in Australia (who doesn't have a link) will see this post because she is the reason for it.

You can buy my Quarters Cap Pattern on my website here. I've made a Crochet Flower Tutorial Video which you can watch here.


Virginia said...

That is so cool! I love that story about Ruth from Australia.

I'm definitely going to have to make a trip up to Brattleboro. That old factory looks awesome.

Have you ever been to North Adams, MA, where they took an old factory and turned it into the MASS MOCA? Love that museum. Love the fact that other abandoned factories in that town have been turned into artist's studios and lofts.

Sarah said...

We visited Knit or Dye yesterday. Try to get in the Estey Organ Museum--the story is fascinating--I especially love all the old advertising art (which is online, not sure if it's in the museum).

Lori Gayle said...

Mass MOCA is right across the parking lot from Storey Publishing who published Kristin's books Colorful Stitchery and Kristin Knits, so I know for sure that she's been there.

Meghan said...

love the hat, and the buildings are so romantic. I myself am a lover of old buildings and also use them for backdrops in knitting photos. Those are a particularily gorgeous example.

JR said...

Love the buildings. I live in Quincy, MA where there are loads of old buildings many of them granite and loads of slate roofs but I don't think I've ever seen a slate sided building. Pay attention to those falling snow/ice signs we often have snow slides off the slate roof here, sounds like the whole building is coming down

Diana Troldahl said...

What a gift! I adore old buildings too, and I'm not able to go poking around as I used to. So thank you!!!
This is my favorite post so far!

missjanesplace said...

Kristin, you have a keen eye for beauty. I love old buildings too. And your cap looks lovely against the window/wall of that building. As usual, Julia is a lovely model!

Erica G said...

I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time (followed a link from Your place on the web is completely enchanting. I lived in western Massachusetts while attending graduate school at UMass-Amherst. It is a special place.

Suzanne said...

Love the building shots. If I ever get up to Brattleboro again, I will have to wonder around a little more.

The wedding shots are beautiful, gorgeous colors.

Turtle said...

beautiful in all it's rustic simplicity, how my much remember my homestate.

オテモヤン said...
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Lucy said...

Love the colours of your patterns!

I'm getting a copy of your new book 'Color by Kristin' soon and hopefully I will learn to work better with colours.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I love to take long drives and explore old buildings and side roads like you do. Several years ago, we discovered the same organ factory in Brattleboro, and he took quite a few photos of the windows and slate siding. I'm SURE he took a shot in the exact spot Julie is standing! This world is full of beauty, even in the oddest little places, isn't it?