A Color and Structure Gamp

Marcy Petrini

February, 2020


I was reading the book Frances L. Goodrich’s Coverlet and Counterpane Drafts by Barbara Miller and Deb Schillo and I was struck by the variations of the counterpanes which they describe in Chapter IV. I thought of counterpanes as square of a structure surrounded by stripes; some, indeed, are, but others are not squared, areas vary in size, and some others are actually called dimity, which usually have stripes of textures, also as a result of changes in structure.  

Counterpanes started out, the authors say, as white summer bedcovers, but the drafts were also used for other household items and color later added. Unfortunately the subtlety that counterpanes are actually a combination of structures and not just a bedcover (or a quilt!) seems to have missed the etymologists; contemporary dictionaries and photos of counterpanes pretty much show the use as a synonym of any bedcover. 

I was particularly drawn to Sarah Nelson’s Draft # 6 (page 134-135) “Huckeyback and twilled”, which reminds me of a structure gamp. The variation in this sample is both in the threading – left hand and right hand straight twill and huck – and in the treadling, to get blocks of the various combinations.  

I promised myself that I would weave a counterpane and a dimity from the book “one of those days”, but I am not sure how I went from that sample to this color-and-structure gamp, I guess my mind meandered…. It is neither a dimity nor a counterpane, but fun nevertheless. 

I made the scarf 8” wide, 2” each of #5 red, #5 red purple, #5 purple, and #5 purple blue, 10/2 cotton from the Lunatic Fringe, sett at 24 epi; each color stripe is separated by 2 black 10/2 cotton threads doubled. The #5 designation in the yarns is from the Munsell color system, indicating the midpoint in value for a given hue. 

The drawdown below shows the straight draw threading with four treadlings: plain weave, straight twill, crepe, and broken twill. The four colors were used for each treadling, again separated by 2 doubled black threads.  



Click here for the full-sized draft (a PDF will open a new window)

Here the four sections: 

Plain weave 



Straight twill 






Broken twill 



Squares within squares, inspired by the counterpanes. 

At the end of the broken twill, I reversed the structures and colors, starting with the broken twill and the purple blue.  

And here is the scarf. 



Who knows where the next inspiration will come from! But those counterpanes and dimities are calling. 

Happy Weaving!


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