Making Mary Meigs Atwater’s Recipes

This is a fun thing.  Up till now, I had not paid much attention to Mary Meigs Atwater.  None, to tell you the truth.  One day, at coffee, a friend of mine quietly pulled out a Recipe Book, as a gift from her mother-in-law, a former weaver. And that is how it all started.

It was fortuitously just before I was planning a baby blanket for my latest great-nephew.  Hmmmm…. there were quite a few possibilities, and I settled on the Recipe for Couch Blankets or “Afghans”, version (b). Had no problems measuring the warp, things went pretty well – all 8/2 cotton, washable, life is good. While the pattern developed I was amazed how much the pattern resembled the Catching Fire Scarf pattern (Hunger Games movie #2, Katniss’s scarf worn when in District 12) that I had been fantasizing about making for a while now. Instead of running a full-on charge forward, I let myself get distracted with the version (c) Modernistic pattern in the “Shadow” weave, which is on the same page.  This one had me sweating a little since there is not a lot of explanation, and I had to rely on my gut about the balance of the pattern and the question of odd versus even overall thread count. It turned out to be a pretty nice set of placemat runners for the table. Linen and cotton, they wash up well and have a nice drape, which is something that it not usually looked for in a placemat.


It’s ironic how life events can morph planned projects.  Catching Fire waited once more, as Standardized Baby-Blanket Recipe (Series VI No.1) made it on my loom for [YES!] another baby blanket. 8/2 cotton, two color border – grey and purple to match the baby room, pink to signify gender.  This was fun to weave, even though I wasn’t sure how the huck lace would bloom with a loose sett. I added an inch of plain weave at the beginning and end to create a hem.


My loom is now screaming for its next project.  I listened to its sadness at being undressed through two separate houseguest visits, and Thanksgiving hitting the streets. Yes, I have yarn set aside for another shibori crimp scarf or two.  But I really can’t pushing my fascination with the Catching Fire scarf to the back of the line forever. First, which fiber? Closure of a local yarn shop facilitated getting my hands on a batch of Juniper Moon Zooey – 60/40 cotton/linen. Perfect candidate. In September a good weaving fine of mine found an article that looked right on for the Catching Fire pattern. I finally read the fine print on that article by Lynn Tedder on Integrated Cells Weaves (published in Weaver’s Fall 1997).  My pick for the experiment is version 2, Single-layer cell weave symmetrical cells. You can only imagine how I smirked when I read that version 5, my second pick, is based on what was referred to in the article as Recipe for a Colonial Shawl.  Yeah.  Series IV No.14 – Recipe for a Stole – pattern from an ancient Colonial Shawl. Got it.  Thanks, Mary! This is going to be too much fun!


Post Script – For the Series VI No .5 Recipe for Couch Blankets or “Afghans”, this is the final version (mostly worked by Lina) that I loaded into WeaveIt – it keeps to the original treadling, and adds shaft 4 to the threading by replacing the second shaft 3 thread in position 6. The tie-up had to be changed almost completely.

11 Responses to Making Mary Meigs Atwater’s Recipes

  1. Lina Echeverria-Aitken says:

    I have a question on Mary Meigs Atwater Recipe for couch blankets or afghans (series VI No. 5) version (a), and I wonder if you could help me The figure for the threading does not show any ends on harness 4, but the treadling does show that treadle 3 pulls harness 4. This seems to be an error of omission. Can you provide me with the complete threading?

  2. vairarenbeth says:

    Looking at that page, I remember seeing that omission and thinking it was an error – I didn’t even attempt it. However, I am curious – I plugged it into the WeaveIt drafting tool. For the treadling and threading, the odds are a dark color and the evens are a light color. So I thought that shaft four should be in the threading as a light. I did not get the same structure as the accompanying picture for (a) – it was sideways. So, I turned the draft and got it.

    So try threading from right to left 343121 as ldldld; and treadle 123243 dldldl (top down) and use the same tie up as in the book. Good luck!

    • Lina Echeverria Aitken says:

      Wow! Thanks for your prompt response. I agree that shaft 4 should be a light end. This is a shadow weave, so in an intuitive way, it seems that the threading (r to l) should be 1,2,3,2,1,4 (ldldld) and the tie up and treadling as shown. Did you try this version on the Weavelt drafting tool?
      This is the first time that I spot an error on MMA recipe book, which I often refer to.

    • vairarenbeth says:

      Same here. I tried it in response to your question. I did try that modification, the visual results in a vertical triangle.

  3. vairarenbeth says:

    Oops – Tie up change: Shaft 1=1,2; S2=4; S3=1,3; S4=2,4

    • Lina Echeverria Aitken says:

      Sorry for being so insistent—obnoxious, even!—but I wonder if we could figure it out using the same tie up and weaving sequence as MMA, by just adding the end(s) on harness 4. I can’t imagine that she would be THAT far off, and would like to think that it is just one or two harness 4 ends that are missing. At this point it feels like a nod to Her to figure out what she is showing us. Please let me know if you prefer to drop it, however.

  4. vairarenbeth says:

    It’s just that I have too many deadlines going on right now to devote to this. However, I will email you the screenshot of the adjustment changing 3 to 4 and you’ll see what I mean.

  5. Lina Echeverria Aitken says:

    Yes, thanks for your responses, I understand

    • Madelyn says:

      It is pretty funny that I am working on this as an Ask Madelyn and googled Mary Meigs Atwater blankets or afghans and got here! I also think the threading should be 1-2-3-2-1-4, but I’m not sure what her intended treadling is. I have something, but it doesn’t exactly use her tie-up. Let me I would love to see that screen shot!

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