Monday, October 14, 2013

Cape Breton Coverlet Patterns

Weaving the Brighton Honeycomb scarves is proceeding nicely; I am now on the third scarf where I am using  a yellow weft. For the second scarf I used the rib treadling and a deep copper coloured weft.

In my previous post I was writing about why I think that my CB loom will be good for overshot. I have also been thinking about what overshot I would like to weave. I was browsing through various drafts and documents when I came across a monograph Cape Breton Coverlet Patterns which I had downloaded ages ago and completely forgotten about. It was written by Lou Tate and is based on the research of Florence Mackley who collected coverlet drafts from the Cape Breton region. These drafts came across with the migrants from the Western Isles in the first half of the 19th Century. 

One of the seductive things about the internet is that one can wander down interesting lines of enquiry to fascinating places so I went via Lou Tate to the Kentucky Weaver and the Little Loomhouse but I managed to put these to one side for future exploration and drag myself back to the Cape Breton coverlets. 

It is a lovely paper with drafts, photograph, background information, ideas and practical information on using the patterns, drafts and drawdowns. The clip below of one of the pages gives the flavour of it.

My initial reaction on first reading was "They are drafts Jim but not as we know them "  but with a bit of application and following the explanations in the monograph and Mary Meigs Atwater's  pages explaining different systems of notation (The Shuttle-Craft Book of American Hand-Weaving, Chapter 12) I was able to work them out.

My rendition of the Snowdrop draft from above looks like this.
One thing that I would love to find out is why, as far as I can discern, there is no remnant of coverlet weaving tradition in the western part of Scotland? Twills and tweeds, yes; but no coverlets. 

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