|This building housed Nantucket Looms when we worked there.|
When we revisited Nantucket in 2010, Nantucket Looms
had moved up Main Street, and this building was Ralph Lauren.
To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.
Needless to say, we didn’t store much winter clothing on Tropic Moon. After committing to jobs at Nantucket Looms, we did some really quick traveling. We sailed to Newport, Rhode Island, where we met up with my folks, and some of my Connecticut relatives. My parents, who were living in Florida at that time, had been visiting family in Connecticut. When my parents were ready to head south again, I drove with them to my sister’s home in Virginia, where I collected my winter clothing. I returned to New London, CT, by train. A cousin drove me from New London to Newport, Rhode Island, where Ed waited with Tropic Moon.
From Newport, Ed and I sailed to Orient, on the eastern tip of Long Island. Ed’s parents met us there on Labor Day, with the remainder of our winter things, including jackets and boots. We sailed back to Nantucket, and started working at Nantucket Looms on September 14th. We moved into the studio apartment on October 1st. I got a library card, and we opened a checking account at a local bank. It was surprising how quickly we could revert back to land life.
The first week of work at the Looms set the tone for the winter. We were both trained on the large loom on the main floor. That loom was seven feet wide! Two people wove at the same time, throwing the shuttle back and forth to each other. The major wall covering project - and the reason we were hired - was being woven on that loom. Ed and I also each had a loom upstairs, where we put on about forty yards of warp to weave off mohair stoles (22" x 84"). One warp would produce fifteen stoles. We were told we were supposed to weave 3-4 stoles in a day.
After Ed wove his first four stoles, he had to cut his warp to remove them, because someone was waiting for a gray stole. That one sold, and two others were gone in two days. The first stole was considered a "throw-away" because that's when you're getting used to the technique. The Looms were continually out of stoles - they would sell as soon as they were woven, some customers buying three or four. Another big item was mohair "chaise throws," (translate to blanket), that were 4 x 7 feet. They, too, would sell out right away. Mohair scarves, called “ascots,” were also very popular.