TATTER Exclusive Cotton Throw Blanket by The Weaving Mill


TATTER Exclusive Cotton Throw Blanket by The Weaving Mill


50″x80″ cotton throw blanket from The Weaving Mill in Chicago.

This project weaves together a number of elements: first and foremost are the fabrics themselves. We wove a heavy cotton slub yarn into cloth on our 1983 punchcard loom. The punchcard patterns came from the Chicago Weaving Corporation, the company which previously ran the space which is now The Weaving Mill. Next, the constructions: each of the items in this collection features a distinct combination of weave structure and material, demonstrating how the same materials combined in different fashions can yield unexpected results (not so dissimilar from the ways in which colors and fibers might mix?) Color: Some fabrics are undyed, allowing the fiber and constructions to stand at the forefront. Some are dyed with turmeric, bringing a warm and deep yellow to the cloth that will, inevitably, fade over time. If you would like to add more color to your fabric, might we suggest first meeting the cloth, then adding a goodly amount of turmeric (or perhaps some combination of the yellow-producing plants listed here?) to a spacious pot (don’t crowd the pot! A lesson worth remembering in contexts far removed from the dye kitchen), adding your preset fabric and then letting the whole concoction cook for sometime, making sure to stir frequently (we’re fairly certain there is no such thing as an over-stirred dye pot). Textiles, like people, change over time. How liberating it is to see fading not as a failure of fastness but as proof of a life well-lived and an opportunity for rejuvenation!


Some thoughts on natural color & fiber

“It is much more fun to pick the blossoms or gather the leaves from your own yard and see what you get. It is almost certain to be a shade of. yellow for nature has been most lavish with that primary color…”

“The fastness of or permanence of a dye is important, but no dye is absolutely fast under all conditions…”

“The word mordant is derived from the Latin modere (to bite) the old dyers once thinking the dye bit into the fibers. Actually there is a chemical union between them and the coloring matter…”


An incomplete list of yellows

Aster, flowers and stalks; Barberry, stems and roots; Bedstraw, stems and tops; Bloodroot, roots; Broom, plant; Calamint, whole stalk; Catnip, whole stalk; Cherry (wild), bark; Chrysanthemum; Clematis, leaves and branches; Coreopsis, plant; Dahlia, flowers; Dodder, vine; Everlasting, entire stalk; Goldenrod, leaves and flowers; Horse Sugar, leaves; Ironwood, bark; Joe Pye Weed, stalk; Lily of the Valley, leaves; Marigold, flowers; Nodding Marigold, plant; Mullein; Onion (yellow), skins; Queen Anne’s Lace, stalk; Spinach, plant; St. John’s Wort, flowers; tomato, vine; Yellow Top, stalk; Yellow Wood, wood; Zinnia…



About this collaboration

The Weaving Mill (TWM) is a Chicago-based, artist-run, industrial weaving studio that designs and produces woven cloth, as well as educates, collaborates with artists, and creates community. The organization began in 2015 when Emily Winter and Matti Sloman revitalized a weaving facility previously run by the Chicago Weaving Corporation. The Weaving Mill is now run by Emily Winter, Kendall Schauder, and Alexa Kudrak and aims to “fill the space between the hand and industrially made.” 


This Tatter-exclusive series of objects are a response to a curation of books, from the Tatter Blue Library, about natural dyes. This selection of books explores many aspects of the color relationship between plants and cloth. The Tatter-exclusive products from The Weaving Mill include turmeric-dyed cotton textiles alongside natural undyed cotton textiles, intended to explore the natural fading of color from cloth and the possibilities for overdyeing as an act of maintenance and care.


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