I found THREE antique whitework coverlets, also known as counterpanes, recently. Two of them are embroidered, and one is a double-woven piece that is sort of mind-boggling in its complexity. I’ve looked up everything I can find on the Internet (I love the Internet!) and can’t find much about them, except that they’re probably from the early 1800s. Oh my goodness! How could I find something that precious and old in a little thrift store? I assume they are from the same family, and possibly by the same hand. One of the coverlets is signed, “Susannah Taboy” and the “s” characters are turned backward. Maybe done by a young Susannah.

The Double Weave

The double-woven piece was in the worst shape, with several breaks in the fabric and stained from improper storage in a cedar chest. (I’ll lecture about antique linen storage in another rant.) I soaked it and soaked it and soaked it some more–until I felt like I couldn’t get much further along in the whiteness scale, and I feared ruining the poor thing by trying too hard to save it.

There areĀ  numerous breaks in the fabric, and I will try to fix those. The piece is comprised of three panels sewn together.

I can’t believe someone would basically throw these away. What a thrill for me to find them. Do you know anything about 19th century whitework coverlets/counterpanes? I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll post the other two later. Stand by.

Hope you can see the detail in this.

Hope you can see the detail in this.

Hope you can see the detail in this.

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