Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Monday, May 23, 2011

Woven treasures

When we lived in the red cape, we had a nice collection of early textiles, some important ones even, like a rare 18th century set of bed hangings! All those were lost, and I resisted gathering any more for a long long time. But one we use over the back of a settle in the breakfast room at the new house, is a woven coverlet with a border of birds like I used in my rug design "Ohio Coverlet". I could not help but purchase that one even though it has a lot of lost edges. The colors are bright and lovely. Then a few years later I saw a large blue and white one which I just NEEDED to hang over the stair rail in our entry way. This was followed last year by a simple indigo and white geometric Jack found at a local tag sale.

So we were collecting coverlets again after all! Five more have found their way to us. The red and white one with the center medallion is a small charmer, I wonder if it was made for a trundle or a child's bed. I date it about 1850, our latest perhaps. I welcome input and comments on all of these, I am not expert though I have bought and sold at least 50 over time.

The deep dramatic colors of the Pennsylvania type Brown and orange shot through with almost electric blue are gorgeous. It does have damage. Most of the rest are in nice condition with the exception of fringe loss. The Overshot in ochre and indigo and natural cream, is one of the nicest, and has a special fringe, I have seen this fringe before and do not know it's name.

A prize is the flower patterned one with folky birds in the border on all 4 sides, woven of deep indigo and natural. It was given to us by a friend of about 40 years. How can that be!! Surely we are not that old!

The red, green, and natural one will be fun to show off at Christmas, and I think could be used near pots of red geraniums for a spring arrangement.

Handwoven textiles have always been loved here. Last Christmas, our friend Penny gifted us with a precious tea towel she wove herself. I think she has not made many and I feel greatly honored! I want her to embroider her initials on it.

Great Granddaughter Elizabeth wove a wonderful red shawl in our living room for six weeks one winter. I count that one of the peaks of my life experiences. Later she won a blue ribbon at the county fair with that entry. From her early years she would stroke handwoven swatches used in our living room on tables as beverage coasters, she was drawn to these and seemed to know they are special. In the busy teen years she is far from these things, but there may yet come a time many years in the future when she will return to this joy of feeling the fibers in her hands as a new textile takes form. A young woman of 13 is so full of wonderful possibilities! She comes along behind me with so many of the same songs in her heart. Edyth


  1. Oooo! Yummy post, Edyth! I love all of the gorgeous photos of woven textiles and I especially like the story about your great granddaughter. She sounds very sweet!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. I have always loved coverlets. Cheri

  3. Thank you for posting the pictures of the coverlets. I bought my first one today. It is blue and white with a flower basket border

  4. Dear Edyth - how beautiful. I think of the care and love that went into creating those coverlets and know that you are giving them care and love now. What a wonderful way to brighten our present lives and be connected with those who came before us, and in your case to also connect with the ones coming after. A sweet story.


  5. I love weaving and bought a small wooden frame to try place mats with. What i was wondering was, what types of threads or yarns do you use?


  6. I love coverlets too! Your's are beautiful. I have a couple of very tattered ones, but they are still treasures to me.

  7. beautiful coverlets. where do you find these?


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