Monday, November 17, 2008

Some rare and beautiful early Pennsylvania homespun linen.....

Whenever I do a show, I always bring lots of early Pennsylvania textiles - especially homespun linen. I am always asked if I have any "onionskin" (copperas) and natural in a larger check. I do indeed, and always sell those pieces instantly but I always wonder why people are so obsessed with that particular color scheme for they are (actually) missing out on the rarer colored pieces for their collections such as the ones pictured here. Consider the top piece: true indigo, bittersweet and natural......what a fabulous and breathtaking runner this is! And the color combination is not very easy to
find. The second piece is a sweet chocolate and natural check cut long ago from a bed tick and made into a tablecloth. This piece was found on the oldest farmstead in Bethlehem Township, PA. The third is actually the prize and the earliest: a bittersweet (or copperas) and natural striped bed case from Northampton County, PA. When looms became more sophisticated, stripes were abandoned as checks provided more variety and color for decorating the bed.
I acknowledge that there is a color-scheme that people tend to use in early homes and the onionskin (copperas) pieces fit that decor so well. But I also advise collectors not to overlook truly rare pieces that will enhance one's collection. Adding just a slight bit of color, or a different pattern may actually give one's collection a reinvigorated look as well as make each piece in the pile look a little less like "just a pile" of monochromatic textiles that all start to blend together in the eye of the (untrained) beholder. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely adore that look. I just wanted to call your attention to the fact that there is more in the world of brown homespun linen than just "onionskin" (copperas) to collect and enhance your collection. These pieces are vital to a truly well-rounded collection of Pennsylvania homespun culture.


  1. HI Anne~ is the stripe available? please let me know! What a wonderful cooincidence that we both posted on linen on the same day
    kindest, Rachael

  2. What beautiful early browns, thank you for sharing your knowledge and love of these early fabrics. I am so glad to have found your blog and will visit often. I have been in Adamstown years ago and hope to visit again soon. Pa is beautiful country.

  3. I love your blog, especially the cat illustrations on the site off your blog!good luck with your shop.
    I sold my first etsy teddycat today and I am very pleased.
    Greetings from Belgium!
    Danielle Roothooft