This blue and white, cotton and wool geometric coverlet panel is an excellent example of the structure known as Summer-and-Winter. There is a lot of apocryphal and mythological information circulating about the origins of this structure. Is it an American invention or a European holdover? It is quite likely we will never know. Summer-and-Winter weave is an overshot weave with stricter rules. The supplementary warp yarn cannot float over more than two warp yarns. This creates a tighter fabric and also gives Summer-and-Winter its light (Summer) side and its darker (Winter) side. This particular coverlet panel was woven by the donor’s great-great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Johnstone of Hartford, Connecticut for her dowry chest in the late eighteenth century. A letter from the donor recorded that the family said the coverlet was woven in the “late Revolutionary days.” Elizabeth married John Ashley, also from Connecticut, and the couple moved to Catskill, New York where they raised their family. Elizabeth would later move to Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1836 to live with son John Joseph Ashley. The pattern depicted in this panel is most commonly referred to as “Whig Rose.” This panel would likely have been one of three that would have been woven as one length, cut, and sewn together to create the full, finished width. The coverlet was likely separated into panels during subsequent generations as it was passed down through the family.
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