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A Dying Art

Coverlets in the Collection

Coverlet 17.14.01
Mary Adaline Bowman, Hardy County, West Virginia. Married to John Thomas Mathias of Rockingham County in 1870.
92 x 78”w, 1865. Overshot coverlet in The Cross pattern (or Lover’s Knot with hints of Sunrise) woven over linen warp with dark (nearly black) blue wool weft.

A plan to review and assess the Rocktown History coverlets created an opportunity to share the entire colorful collection with visitors. Come see the intricate patterns that were handwoven into these remarkable bed coverings.

Only when each coverlet was unfolded and displayed could the craftsmanship and designs be fully appreciated and researched. The exhibition provides a look at coverlets that were woven with great skill and some that reveal more “personality” (as we refer to the imperfections).

Most looms were 36″ or 48″ wide. Usually, two strips of weaving were sewn together to create a width suitable for the bed. In some cases, three strips were connected. It took great skill to weave consistent patterns that would match up when sewn together.

Coverlet 96.01.45
Leannah Elizabeth Wyant Baugher, Swift Run, Rockingham County, Virginia.
90” x 68”w, c. 1890
Overshot variation of the Pine Cone Bloom or Sea Star pattern of cotton warp and white and red wool weft.
Composed of three joined panels.

This coverlet was woven in the Pine Cone Bloom pattern. Look for three more (possibly, four) when you visit.

Another popular design is the Blooming Leaf (or Double Bow Knot). Several of the coverlets have patterns that use the design in large and small ways.

Coverlet 17.17.02
86” x 71”w
Red and white wool and linen overshot coverlet in with a Double Bow Knot (Blooming Leaf) pattern.
Composed of two joined panels.
Provenance: Minerva Kesterson to her son Cecil and his wife Regina Kesterson to Regina’s niece Loretta Eklund.