Keep Me Warm Towels

If you’re a fan of coverlets, you’re probably familiar with the book by Harold B. Burnham and Dorothy K. Burnham. A love letter to Canadian coverlets, their book has inspired generations of weavers to use the drafts within to weave not just coverlets but all sorts of other items. As a former historian, I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to weavers long gone than to use their drafts in new and inspiring ways. Elizabeth Evans does just that with her Keep Me Warm Towels from the September/October 2018 issue of Handwoven. Here’s what Elizabeth has to say about her inspiration and how she designed her towels:

warm towels

Elizabeth Evans’s Keep Me Warm One Night Towels.

Designer Elizabeth Evans’s Statement

In conjunction with Canada’s 150th birthday, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) hosted a symposium titled Cloth Cultures: Future Legacies of Dorothy K. Burnham in November 2017. Dorothy Burnham was the first curator of textiles at the ROM as well as coauthor (with her husband, Harold Burnham) of the iconic weaving text Keep Me Warm One Night. She passed away in 2004.

warm towels

Elizabeth Evans’s Keep Me Warm One Night Towels and a sample of a tablecloth in the ROM archives that was the inspiration for the towels she wove.

To honor our country’s heritage and birthday, the Etobicoke Handweavers and Spinners (EHS) Study Group undertook a study of the Burnhams’ book, weaving samples from the book’s often incomplete and occasionally inaccurate profile drafts. In addition, the group visited the ROM archives, where we were able to examine coverlets featured in the book and take photographs of the coverlets and structures. At the symposium, the EHS study group presented a display of our work and research.

Happy Weaving,

Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 4-shaft.

STRUCTURE: Spot weave variations.

EQUIPMENT: 4-shaft loom, 22″ weaving width; 12-dent reed; 1 shuttle; 3 bobbins.

YARNS: 8/2 unmercerized cotton (3,360 yd/lb; Brassard et Fils); 16/2 unmercerized cotton (6,720 yd/lb; Brassard et Fils).

Featured Image: Elizabeth Evans’s towels were inspired by a coverlet draft from the book Keep Me Warm One Night.

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