Thank you to the Rogue Valley Handweavers Guild whose newsletter pointed us to this week’s BeWeave It topic.
The industrial revolution put many handweavers out of business, but some hardy souls refused to give up. Siblings William and Elsie Rose helped keep handweaving alive through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. William— known as Weaver Rose—and Elsie's family had been handweavers for generations. The Roses collected over 245 drafts going back to the 1700s, some created by their own family and some by other weavers. The drafts were written haphazardly on anything from bits of cardboard and newspapers to old advertisements, but they survived. Some of their drafts can be found in Marguerite Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book.
While the Roses' collection of antique looms and weaving tools would make many antiquarians drool, it is their drafts, saved from oblivion in the industrial age, that have been vitally important to modern handweavers. If you want to know more about the Rose family, you'll find that Isadora M. Safner’s out-of-print book The Weaving Roses of Rhode Island (Interweave 1985) is worth the search.