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Dishtowels in Dimity for Hill House

Sally Orgren's picture
Beaming 6 yards with 2 pounds of water weights on each bout for consistent tension, and a rock-hard beam.
Threading. I rigged some sticks to hold the lease sticks and cross in close proximity to the castle to make this process easier.
Project Status: 
Project Date: 
Fri, 08/23/2013
Number of Shafts: 
Number of Treadles: 
Length on Loom: 
5.00 yd
Width on Loom: 
21.50 in

This pattern had some specific criteria since it is to be woven by volunteers over the course of several summers at Hill House, Millbrook Village, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

Hopefully, the loom will be dressed and weaving by the first weekend in October — which is the annual Millbrook Days.

The criteria:

> 4 shafts, and not wider than 22" (home-built loom with quirky operation)

> No budget for yarn, draw from the stash or donated yarns (cheap materials)

> Easy to weave, one shuttle, any volunteer can pick up the pattern 

> Historic pattern if possible

> Pleasing colors/pattern so visitors will be engaged, along with the volunteers

About Dimity: What many folks don't realize is that it is the compression of the twill stripe (compressed in the sett) that makes these areas rise up and give Dimity its distinctive look. In this draft, I will be varying the sett between color stripes (because the natural 8/2 would require a sett of 20 dent and the blue 10/2 would be 24), and also varying the sett of the twill stripe within each stripe. In the draft, it looks like one stripe is wider than the other, and technically, the 10/2 blue has a few more threads than the 8/2 white areas. But I am hoping in the sley order I designed, that will even out.

I wish I had a variety of reeds to choose from, but in this historic venue, I must use an 8 dent reed that came with the loom. So figuring out the sley order was a bit complicated. Here's my plan so far:

| 3 | 2 | 3 | 2 | 7 | 2 | 3 | 2 | 3 | = 8/2 white stripes with 10/2 blue twill line 

| 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | = 10/2 blue stripes with 8/2 white twill line

Fingers crossed! I am hoping theory and the real-world are compatible in this case.

Update 8/30/13

I started winding the warp last Sunday and I wasn't happy with the way the thinner blue (10/2 pearl cotton) stripe looked against the 8/2 natural homestead. So I bit the bullet and ordered the 8/2 Colonial Blue from Webs during their August sale. I think this is going to prove to be a better plan, but NOW I have to go back and adjust the draft, plus redo my warp calculations! (And remove about 3" of warp from the warping board.) Three steps forward, one back...

Update 10/2/13

I went out to the NPS on Sept 30th to pick up the loom for dressing at home. I dressed the loom over the weekend. 6 yards and it went quick! I ended up sleying this way:


| 3 | 3 | 3 | 1W+1B | 5 | 1B+1W | 3 | 3 | 3 | = 8/2 white stripes with 8/2 blue twill line 

| 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | = 8/2 blue stripes with 8/2 white twill line

The treadling is easy (2+4, 1+2+3, 2+3+4, 1+3, repeat). This produces a raised twill pattern in the thin stripes centered in the wider color stripes. It can also be woven plain weave if a volunteer thinks that treadling is too complicated.

Unfortunately, with the gov't shutdown in progress, the event I was preparing this warp for has been cancelled. When the gov't reboots, I'll need to work out an arrangement to return the loom to the NPS site.

FYI, this appears to be an unsual loom. Here is the maker's mark I found when lifting all the shafts for ease in threading. Has anyone ever heard of these looms? Are there any siblings to this loom out there? (Bloomsburg, PA is the location listed, "Mcauley Mountain Loom Works".

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)
endorph's picture
Joined: 09/12/2011
I need to

try this at some point in time - I love the look of this pattern

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Cathie Beckman's picture
Joined: 08/05/2010
Nice Dimity Sally! Good idea

Nice Dimity Sally! Good idea for a historical demo.

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Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Dimity article

Handwoven, Sept-Oct 2008.

(I had to pull it out to develop this draft ;-).

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Queezle's picture
Joined: 10/18/2012
Beautiful! How interesting

Beautiful! How interesting to have this historic challenge.  This summer I went to Gilbert Stewart's Birth Place.  There were beautiful coverlets, and I was pleased that the response, when I asked about them, was that the patterns came from Weaver Rose.

I hope to hear more about the success of your project.

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Weavingholiday's picture
Joined: 11/13/2012

Just amazing that, with all those conditions (and your skill and talent) you have managed to devise something so lovely!

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buckskinhawk's picture
Joined: 10/10/2012
The project is great

Love the draft and the colors are great.

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frontporchindiana's picture
Joined: 10/30/2011
Love this draft. I work at a

Love this draft. I work at a historic site and this would make a great project, good choice on colors too. 

I've not heard of the loom before, but it looks interesting. 


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endorph's picture
Joined: 09/12/2011

for the close up photograph - the stripes do really stand out - I am thinking this is a draft I might need to try out!

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alfred's picture
Joined: 02/25/2013
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