Diminishing Dimity

The dimity warp is diminishing as the dimity fabric grows!Dimity Beginning 1

Several things have come to my attention as I wove today.  One is . . . now I remember why my beloved mostly black wardrobe got shelved . . . every flying fiber visibly embeds itself into this black fabric.  I guess flying animal hair is a more apparent sign of Spring in our house than the fragrant lilacs (I am blaming spring shedding rather then face all-season lax housekeeping).

Another issue is  . . . I seem to be shrinking – bummer! I don’t use my big Harrisville rug loom as much as I used to.  I wove miles of mohair throws on it before I got my AVL.  I am tall, and the 60″ width wasn’t much of a problem, neither was the fixed bench height which places the weavers body over the fabric as one weaves.  Again, this wasn’t a problem before . . . now it is a sadly comic sight to see myself throw the shuttle and slide my bum back and forth across the bench to catch, then reach down to treadle with my tip toes.  Has anyone ever seen the Laurel and Hardy short “Brats”?



sort of like that.

A little progress

Finally, I became re-aware of how much I love Dimity. Thanks Ute!  It really is a miracle structure.  The side facing up in the picture is the back side.  The ribs are composed of threading blocks that weave plain weave next to blocks that weave intermittent plain weave.  Meaning that the weft weaves in those blocks twice and then floats twice.  So it is not a reversible structure, but it is so textural and can also be woven as honeycomb for an even more textured surface.

Dimity beginning 2


15 thoughts on “Diminishing Dimity

  1. Do you know where I can find info on dimity? I have looked all over and it seems to be difficult to find. I would like to study the structure and weave some of it.

  2. Hi Susan,
    My resource for Dimity is my mentor and weaving goddess Ute Bargmann. She wants to be clear that it is specifically dimity used in counterpanes from the south which she says wasn’t really a specific structure, but rather a “textile with textured stripes”. She has done an amazing job of digging up old pictures and drafts and weaving samples from what she calls her “chicken scratch” findings. I was part of a guild study group that she put together. She was talking with a fellow enthusiast Kathy Grant about putting a book on Dimity together – I keep encouraging her to do it! The samples are AMAZING! When I ask her to define dimity – she says, “it’s anything really” . . . not too revealing to the uninitiated:))) I will ask if she minds if I share some of her writings and drafts, and if she doesn’t, I will email them to you. Some of the characteristics of the pieces that she studied are that they were woven in fine, white cotton using singles cotton as weft, beaten hard with a heavy beater and boiled vigorously to finish. The defining characteristic of the samples I wove is that the stripes were formed by alternating blocks of various sizes in which one block is plain weave woven every pick and the adjacent block is plain weave but every other pick floats, this causes the density of the blocks to be different giving the puckered texture. All woven on 4 shafts. Ute used Mary Meigs Atwater as a source for some of her drafts. As a side note, I did see a piece woven in a 1/3, 3/1 twill collapse referred to as dimity too. Anyway, I will let you know what Ute says.

  3. Thank you so much! I would love to weave this. (I also don’t check my communications very often, hence this late reply)

  4. Hi,

    Is it possible to get the information on Dimity. Your description sounds lovely! I would love to learn more about this weave structure!

  5. I also would love to learn more about dimity from Ute Bargmann! (I read your enticing bio blurb in my Handwoven magazine that came in the mail today, and went searching on Google to see what I could find!). Our guild is working on a project to bring to life (weave) the antique drafts collected by our first guild president (the drafts probably date from the 1840s and 1850s and are from Grayson and Carroll county, Virginia). Some of the drafts are labeled as dimity. I was wondering what kinds of treadling was used? We are starting with tromp as writ, but would appreciate other clues to move forward with!


  6. Hi,

    I am looking for more information on Dimity too! My new guild did a study group on textured weaves and one of the ladies did a Dimity scarf. The scarf was really stunning. She doesn’t have much information – just what is from Mary Meigs Atwater, but I would love to know more.

    Ngaire from Dustbunnies under my Loom

  7. Hello,
    I stumbled across an image of Dimity on Pinterest and am very inspired to learn more. I am wondering if you might be able to share some of the information and drafts you have gathered?



    • Hi Shirley,
      I can send you a short paper on Dimity written by my friend/mentor Ute Bargmann, but the drafts I have have mostly been devised or deciphered by Ute, so I don’t feel right about sharing them. However, I’ve been pestering her more about assembling all her work into a book, and she’s been in touch with a weaver/publisher in Germany who may be the perfect helpmeet to get it done. Let’s hope!!

  8. Greetings! Are the Dimity docs still available? If so, I’d very much appreciate the chance to see them. Thanks so much! Leslie

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