About the Swatch Archive
A Thread Through Time anniversary book grew from the swatch collection of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Over the 75 years of the Guild’s existence, the collection has moved from various locations, and cared by various librarians. It is currently housed in a classroom at the Guild, available for anyone to use for inspiration to design something new or to replicate.
A swatch is a sample of woven fabric. They are frequently 4inches by 4inches, for convenience of storage in a notebook. To be useful for a weaver, the swatch is accompanied by a record sheet showing how the loom was threaded (the draft) and how the pattern was woven (the treadling). A complete record sheet will also say what yarns and how much yardage of them was used, how closely the yarns were compressed in the warping (the sett), whether the sample shrank when washed, and what the project was intended to be.
For the book, forty-seven members of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota created original works, using the Guild’s swatch archives as their resource. Each artist selected a swatch and interpreted that small sample in their own way to create a final project. Each swatch comes with its own story; some swatches were created by notable and formative figures in the local fiber community, such as Hilma Berglund. Participating artists matched the threading of the original swatch, and they decided what to create with their woven fabric. Each new piece is a physical manifestation of both tradition and a new generation of weavers.
These are the swatches and record sheets that are the foundation of A Thread Through Time. Click on a thumbnail image to access the full swatch and record sheet.
A Thread Through Time was made possible in part by a Minnesota Historical & Cultural Grant through the Minnesota Historical Society.