Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Great program and lots of information from Pat Donald

This past Saturday, Pat Donald's program on Dimity weaving was fascinating. If you missed it, here are some of the things that Pat discussed.

Dimity, a weave effect  that is used in counterpanes, has been documented as long ago as 1560. Traditionally, counterpanes were all white and coverlets were not.

Broken Dimity (photo by Pat Donald)

Counterpanes weren't just produced in the South and they weren't only woven. Pat's extensive research has included counterpanes from many places beyond the southern states and examples of knitted and crocheted versions.

Three-shaft looms were often used to create dimity woven cloth (three shafts are the minimum needed to create dimity). According to Pat, U.S. weavers adopted the Oriental weaving system, which was based on an even number of shafts, so three and six shaft looms eventually fell out of favor.

Pat recommended several resources that may help you find more information on dimity and counterpanes: the Early American Books and Manuscripts study group of HGA's Complex Weavers group (you'll need to be a member of HGA to participate); Brown's Book of Weaving Drafts by Miller and Schillo (Pat warned that while this may present an accurate record of how dimity was woven, modern counterpane weavers will find it different from what they are accustomed to); and, Pat recommended two magazines which have published articles on counterpanes in the past, Prairie Wool Companion and Handwoven.

Pat Donald is from Opelika and traveled over to Birmingham for this program, for which we are very grateful. Back home in Opelika, they are working to create a weaver's group and Pat sent the following information:

Individuals interested in weaving and promotion of weaving in the Opelika, AL area had a meeting Oct 22 at Yarnhouse Studio and decided to have another meeting with the emphasis on show and tell. The date for the next meeting will be Feb 7, 2015 (1 pm) at Pat Donald's in Opelika. Address when we are closer to this date.  

One of the goals is to keep a calendar of upcoming events and workshops of interest to weavers. Below is a list.

Upcoming Workshops:

Jan 10-11, 2015 Woven tapestry and the language of color, Jennifer Sargent, Memphis

Jan 17-19, 2015 Jason Collingwood, Atlanta

April 17 & 18, 2015 Alabama Fiber Festival, Montgomery

April 23-26, 2015 Stitches, Nashville

April 25-26, 2015 Kente cloth weaving, Linda Weghorst, Memphis

June 2015 SEFFA Exhibit Atlanta area GEHC

Sept 12-14, 2015 Madelyn van der Hoogt, Atlanta

At this point notices are going out through Yarnhouse Studio to make sure we contact all interested weavers.  As people respond, their email address is being added to my list of weavers in this area. Expect that some information will be sent to the weaver’s list and not necessarily via Yarnhouse Studio.

If you are interested in joining the Opelika group or attending their upcoming meeting, you can contact Pat at

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