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January 13, 2010 > Transcontinental Connection

Transcontinental Connection

Submitted By Paul Welschmeyer and Margaret Thornberry

Join us for the first 2010 quarterly 'open mike history/cultural arts symposium at the Niles Edison Theater, 37417 Niles Boulevard in Fremont. On January 17, we will be premiering the first public showing of 'The Wonderful Knitting Machine,' a video documentary collaboration of the Fremont Film Forum and the Fremont Cultural Arts Council.

Circular stocking knitting machines were developed shortly following the invention of other labor saving mechanical devices such as the sewing machine. Several different manufacturers around the world were producing them by the late 1800's. Because there was such demand for stockings during World War One (1914-1918) to maintain the foot health of troops fighting in the sodden trenches of France, the International Red Cross asked each of their divisions to provide knitted stockings, and offered a hand cranked home version of the circular sock knitting machine to those who would commit to making a minimum of 30 pairs of stockings for the war effort. Lisa Stambaugh, a Fremont resident and outstanding local crafts person, acquired one of the original machines, assembled it, and has been successfully using it to make stockings.

Al Minard of the Washington Township Historical Society heard about this fascinating bit of Americana, and asked Lisa to bring the sock knitting machine to Art in the Park, held each May on the grounds of the Shinn House in Fremont. Unfortunately, it was determined that the machine was too heavy and too fragile to move.

Margaret Thornberry, President of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council felt that a good video presentation about the machine might do the job, and enlisted Rasec Ozal and Cony Manriquez of the Fremont Film Forum to produce a short video documentary about the history, use and operation of the machine. This interesting video, featuring Lisa Stambaugh demonstrating the machine and Carol Pike making yarn from the wool of Ardenwood Farms sheep, will be shown to the public for the first time at the Transcontinental Connection event, Sunday January 17th 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., held at the historic Essanay Theater in Fremont.

Mr. Paul Welschmeyer, a local architect, will be making a presentation on Spanish Revival style as well. The event is free, although a suggested donation of $5 to support the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum would be appreciated.

Transcontinental Connection
Sunday, January 17
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Free event although a $5 donation is suggested
Niles Edison Theater, Essanay Silent Film Museum
37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont
(510) 825-0783 or

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