*Please note, this product is custom woven when your order is placed, please allow 6–16 weeks for completion.
In 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard perfected a device that utilized punched cards for controlling figured patterning in woven goods. By the 1820s the Jacquard machine and other figuring devices had crossed the Atlantic and were adopted by a wide range of professional handweavers. No longer limited to the strict geometric patterning capabilities of a standard shaft loom, there was an explosion of figured and "fancy" weaving, most notably in American coverlets. As powered mechanization forced the decline of handweaving, these professionals managed to carve out a niche for themselves, often using yarn supplied by their customers in weaving figured coverlets into the late 19th and even early 20th centuries.
This quarter-sized coverlet is inspired by the children's coverlets that some fancy weavers produced for young people and as samples of their work. Including all of the design elements of the full-sized coverlet, this scaled down version makes a perfect throw or area rug. The reversible heavy cotton and wool fabric is woven in tied doublecloth and every coverlet is dated, signed, and numbered. For an additional fee, a custom inscription can be woven into one end, traditionally the owner's name.
The motifs on this coverlet are based on the work of 19th-century weavers in the Pennsylvania area and is a composite design created by Roy Orr when he wove coverlets in Zanesville, Ohio. The center field roses and cockerel border give this coverlet a folksy feel, enhanced by the use of polychrome stripes, typical of the work of Pennsylvania Dutch fancy weavers.
I am extremely fortunate to operate a single-lift Jacquard machine that was built in the 1860s, exactly like the ones used to weave these coverlets in the 19th century. Unlike modern electronic Jacquard looms that turn a digital file into cloth, this beautiful old machine is treadle operated and still reads paper punch cards I cut myself. Working with an original piece of 19th-century technology is an enormous privilege and makes these coverlets truly unique. Learn more about the history of my Jacquard equipment and the entire process of creating a figured coverlet from paper to fabric.
Figured Cradle Coverlet—Roy Orr's Zanesville
- 45" x 44.5", plus fringe on three sides
- Cotton warp, wool and cotton weft
- Natural or synthetic dye
- Figure woven in tied doublecloth
- Hemstitched fringe on two sides, all sewing by hand
- Hand or gentle wash cold, flat or line dry