I have found something that has been on my mind ever since Jane's post about the Pikes Peak Weavers Guild coverlet project. I knew it was packed away somewhere. When I commenced my spring cleaning project, I decided to find it and get it out. And here it is, my very own family heirloom antique coverlet.
This coverlet resided on the single bed in my grandmother's sewing room for as long as I could remember. Eventually it was passed on to me, I think because I was the only one of nine grandchildren who had an interest in textiles.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
I am uncertain of the pattern. The center motif (pictured on the right) looks like a variation of Thousand Flowers (see the "Orange Blossoms" draft in Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book, page 114).
The warp is a very fine, inconsistent, white single. The same is used for the tabby weft. The heavier pattern weft is obviously wool. Upon a close examination, it appears to be handspun, hand dyed singles. Here's a shot of that from the side .....
Those first photos may look pretty good, but in reality, it is very worn and dirty, not to mention having a few flaws.
The length is 96 inches. The width is 77 inches. Like most coverlets of its time, it is actually two loom width panels sewn together. You can see this coverlet's seam quite clearly as the pattern on the two panels is quite mismatched.
This, and a few other clues such as this rather careless hem ......
.... and a blatant treadling error ....
.....make me wonder. Was it was a young weaver's very first coverlet? Or was the need for blankets so pressing that the weaver rushed to complete it without care? I'll probably never know.
It may not have been a show piece, but it evidently got a lot of use. It has numerous worn spots, and quite a few not too neat repairs ...
In fact, the needle and thread (lower right) were left in it from before when I received it.
Blood stains? All of this just makes me more curious as to it's story!
Who wove it and when? To that I do have a clue.
Oral Paine Wilson was my paternal grandmother and this tag is in her handwriting. W. A. (Winslow Austin) Paine was her father. I've done some genealogical research, and so have some clues.
Winslow A. Paine was born in Wellfleet, Massachusetts in 1871. I have been able to find information on his grandparents (all from Massachusetts) and one set of great-grandparents: Nathan Young Paine (1794 - 1879, Wellfleet, Mass) and Dorcas Cole Lombard (1798 - 1885, Truro, Mass). Wellfleet and Truro are villages on the Cape Cod peninsula.
[UPDATE 2/10/09 - Thanks to the Cape Cod History and Genealogy website, I have been able to fill in a lot of blanks. My great-grandfather's other great-grandmothers were Betsey Hopkins Dyer (1793 - 1863), Huldah Holbrook Jerrolds (1800 - 1850),and Rebecca Wiley Cole, ( 1799-1883), all of Wellfleet, Mass.]
I don't know which ones were weavers, but at least from this information I can guesstimate that the coverlet was woven in the early to mid-1800s, most probably in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
My coverlet may not look like much, but it is a treasure to me. It is so worn I'm not sure how well it could be cleaned, nor whom I would trust to do it. For the time being it will just remain as it is.
Posted 9 Feb. 2009 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
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