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Pioneer families worked hard to protect their sheep and the precious wool they provided. Because so much of the land was still forested, wolves were a constant threat to the flocks during the early years of Canadian farming. Pioneers worked on making textiles together, just as they accomplished other tasks such as planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall.

Where was this textile created?

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The Overshot Coverlet

North America: Canada, Eastern Canada, New Brunswick
Mid 19th century
Woven wool and cotton yarns
225 cm x 154 cm
Anonymous gift
T00.36.1 Textile Museum of Canada

This overshot coverlet was made from wool, which was woven to float over or “overshoot” a cotton warp and weft. The design contains interdependent blocks, and is called “Chariot Wheels and Church Windows”. Although Canadian homesteaders sheared fleece from their own sheep, then spun and dyed it, they likely paid a male weaver to complete the coverlet.

Overshot coverlets – warm, handsome and economical of materials – found their way to Canada with the first Scottish immigrants. Because the Industrial Revolution occurred late in Scotland, settlers came to Canada with textile-making skills that were already lost in England.

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