During the 18th and 19th centuries, and well into the 20th century, women (and some men) wove all the linens for their households: towels, sheets, blankets, fabric for clothing. They used the wool from the sheep they raised, or cotton when it was available. And they wove their fabrics on basic looms.
The coverlets (spreads) they wove for their beds were among the most innovative of their fabrics. Their patterns are, with some exceptions (Germany, for instance), singularly American. They are complex, interesting and diverse. These coverlets have been collected by both private collectors and museums. The National Museum of the American Coverlet is dedicated to preserving this heritage.
I have been fascinated with the patterns and have chosen some to update and weave with new fibers in new garments and accessories.
Coverlet Series #1
We don’t have any information on this pattern, although it may be very old. It was popular, though, in the 19th century and there have been many variations of the pattern woven.
Both Missouri Trouble and Tennessee Trouble are old patterns, one contained within the pattern of the other. Mary Meigs Atwater, an influential weaver of the early 20th century, preserved many of these older patterns. We don’t know who originally wove them.
Coverlet Series #3
This coverlet pattern was found at the Chester County, Pennsylania, Historical Society. There is no attribution to the weaver, but her/his weaving lives on in this lovely pattern.
Coverlet Series #4
The original coverlet from which this pattern is taken was woven by Carrie Reid of North Carolina. She wove many other patterns, too, and one can only imagine how beautiful her domestic linens were!
Coverlet Series #5
This pattern was woven by a woman in North Carolina around the turn of the 20th century. We don’t know her name, as she didn’t sign her work.
Santa Fe Opera Shawl
Dinner in Santa Fe. LaTraviata at the Opera House. It can be cool in the mountains in the summer, but you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a ski sweater. You want to be elegant, graceful, and comfortable enough to listen to the great performance. Then, after you might even take a Bourbon in the Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel.
My friend, Betsy Macfarlan, who lives in Ely, Nevada, raises cashmere goats on her farm – Double Bar J Cashmere – and produces the most exquisite cashmere for weaving. I have hand dyed some it, as well, and put small, but luxurious amounts into selected scarves.