National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Woven Coverlet Woven Coverlet
Rendered by Magnus S. Fossum (artist), c. 1937
watercolor and graphite on paperboard
overall: 35.6 x 27.8 cm (14 x 10 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 75" wide; 88" long
Index of American Design
1943.8.621
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 3 of 17

Here is a variation of the overshot weave. This coverlet is in the "summer-winter" weave, said to have been brought to America by the Pennsylvania German settlers, who used it frequently. Though more tightly woven than some overshot coverlets, the "summer-winter" weave pattern also depends upon weft threads floated over and under the structural weave. By alternating floating elements, a reversible fabric is formed. Notice that the corner of this coverlet has been folded back to reveal the light or "summer" side, which corresponds in pattern to the contrasting dark, or "winter" surface. As in other overshot coverlets, blue and red, combined with white or neutral yarns, dominate the design. Blue was frequently used in weaving, as in the indigo plant, from which the dye was made, was grown domestically and thus was readily available. In addition, imported indigo was sold inexpensively in shops and by itinerant peddlers. Second in popularity were reds, obtained from such common sources as sumac, madder roots, cherries, pokeberries, and the bloodroot plant.

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