Two months ago I purchased The Coverlet Book by Helene Bress. It comes as a 2 volume set, and weighs in at 14 lbs total! These are really hefty books, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Helene really took a lot of careful notes when constructing this book. You could replicate any pattern you wanted to with The Coverlet Book. It is simply amazing! It also comes complete with a CD you can look at in your computer. The CD is full of huge drafts that couldn't be easily seen in the book. There are a lot of 4-shaft patterns, especially in the first volume. But the second volume as an assortment of drafts for all kinds of looms. I love the way Helene wrote this book, it feels so friendly and casual, almost like you are standing right beside her as she investigates these coverlets. She allows you to hear her true thoughts. Sometimes she so brutally honest that it's kind of comical and I find myself chuckling at her opinions of these weaves and weavers of years ago!
My most favorite section (which is hard to choose from a volume set with 1000+ pages...) is the section on overshot, which is actually most of volume I. I love looking at these old drafts, and seeing the colors that some of the weavers chose to use. This set has given me some really good inspiration to retrofit the designs to fit into more modern times with more modern uses. I can just see myself setting up my loom very soon with some placemats based on these old designs. I can't wait!
Volume I of Helene's book reminds me of another one I have spent a lot of time looking at and studying. For the last month and a half I have been coveting the book called Of Coverlets: The Legacy, The Weavers by Sadie T. Wilson. This book was only published once, and it was way back in 1983. I have seen prices on this book range in the $200-$400 range! Wowzers... I just keep checking it out from the library and hoarding it! However, I think The Coverlet Book by Helene Bress is very comparable to this book. Helene's book might actually be better because it's slightly more comprehensive, and I am really happy that I found a much more cost effective replacement! However, the Of Coverlets book does have more historical pictures of families and weavers that are neat to study. Maybe someday I will come across Of Coverlets at a yard sale or thrift store. In the mean time, don't go looking for it in this area because I've probably got it check out!