This monumental candlewick spread recalls the large-scale motifs and sheared surfaces of early yarn-sewn bedcovers known as bed rugs. The raised designs were made in a technique known as tufting, in which the cotton roving was embroidered over twigs, creating loops on the surface when the twigs were removed. The loops were then cut or sheared, leaving the strands standing in the air. When the textile was washed, the strands fluffed up in a pomponlike effect. Because the technique is applied to large areas rather than small elements in this spread, the tufting gives the impression of a pile. The presence of a name, date, and hearts in each corner indicates this may have been made as a wedding quilt.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Candlewick Spread," exhibition label for White on White (and a little gray). Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2006.