"Nine Snowball and Pine Tree" coverlet; geometric double-cloth; 1800-1825

"Nine Snowball and Pine Tree" coverlet; geometric double-cloth; 1800-1825

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This white and blue, geometric, double-cloth coverlet features a “Nine Snowball” pattern centerfield and “Pine Tree” border. These patterns were developed in the German States of the Holy Roman Empire at the end of the seventeenth century and were initially used in damask linen weaving on a much smaller scale. Several German weavers published books during the Early Modern period, and they were translated into numerous languages and this style of block weaving, as it is known, spread across Europe. Immigrant weavers brought these structures and patterns to the United States, increased the scale of the patterns, and wove them as double cloth both for coverlets and ingrain carpet. This coverlet panel was initially woven as one length, cut, folded back on itself, and seamed up the middle to create the finished coverlet. The coverlet panel measures 78 inches by 69.75 inches. The “Pine Tree” borders found along three sides were created from fractional reduction of the main block patterning. While women were fully capable of weaving overshot and summer and winter coverlets on their own simple looms, many of the geometric double loom patterns required looms with multiple shafts and are traditionally associated with male, professional weavers. There is no information about who may have woven this coverlet or where it may have come from. Double cloth requires the use of two sets of warp and weft that exchange places, binding what would otherwise be two separate pieces of plain weave fabric and creating the color contrasting design. The white cotton yarns are all 2-ply, S-twist, Z-spun and the indigo-dyed wool yarns are all 2-ply, S-twist, Z-spun as well. According to the accession file, this coverlet was woven between 1800 and 1825. The donor believes that Priscilla and Sarah Furbee, grandmother and aunt of her husband John Kinder, carded, dyed the yarn used in this coverlet, and wove it as well. See the hand written note on an envelope in the accession file.
Currently not on view
Object Name
coverlet, geometric
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
geometric (overall production method/technique)
double cloth (overall production method/technique)
wool, cotton (overall material)
blue, white (overall color)
overall: 78 in x 69 3/4 in; 198.12 cm x 177.165 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Alice K. Withers
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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