February 15, 2009

There's More Than One Way to Use a Butter Churn

felt wool with butter churnThis is my great grandmother's butter churn. It used to live on a farm in Mt. Olive, Illinois, belonging to a woman who immigrated from Germany in 1900. Her son grew up and moved to Chicago where he worked for Sears and Roebuck. In the 1930's Sears was selling this butter churn for about $2.50, so he bought one and brought it home to her. She died 10 years later and her husband sold the farm. Then the butter churn came to live with him in his son's home. Fifty years later, both the man and his son had died, and the son's wife decided to sell her house in Mt. Olive and move to Arizona to be near her son, my dad. That's when my dad rescued the butter churn from his mother's basement and set it up on a shelf in his Arizona home. In 2003 my dad died and his grandmother's butter churn came back to Illinois with me where it sat enthroned above my kitchen cabinets until just a few weeks ago.

I've been knitting wool i-pod pouches and felting them in the washing machine with my laundry. I don't like to do laundry as often as I needed to in the height of my felting frenzy, so I started to consider felting by hand. But do you know what that entails? Scrubbing and swishing and it all just sounded too exhausting and hard on my hands. I thought, "I wish I had a little hand-crank washing machine." Then the butter churn popped into my mind. Perfect!

So now I hand knit my wool and then hand churn it in my great grandmother's butter churn. The kids laugh at me (I laugh a little too) and after about 10 minutes of cranking hot water and wool, I have a perfectly felted piece of fabric.

I feel strangely one with the universe.

photo: Melissa tries hard to resist the pull of the universe.

Related:

my knitting blog
Felting a Log Cabin Square

8 comments:

Unknown said...

I just love this so much! I bet none of your ancestors would have thought people would be felting things on purpose!

Heather said...

That is absolutely brilliant--I LOVE finding new uses for old things.

Patricia said...

I loved the story of your butter churn. So glad you can trace it's history.
What a wonderful use for it too. A small felting tool.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous idea. And isn't it always the way that we can't see the potential of some of the things we've had forever?

My Journey so Far... said...

How wonderful that you are able to use your grandmother's butter churn in a creative way. I'm sure she would have loved that!

G.Dowell said...

Such a creative idea. You might have a new business venture there. Knitters may be going to the antique shop to buy their own felting machine!

Anonymous said...

Using your great grandmothers butter churn to make iPod pouches - - what a terrific mix of the old and the new!!

Penny said...

That's a really fun idea!

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