I remember well my fourth grade reader from the Catholic Diocese of Baltimore. So much colonial stuff, and it was my entry into the literary and the sense of touch and feel evoked, and the waiting for the unloading of necessities and fripperies to the homesteads on the James River, or any other inhabited river in Colonial Times. Dimity. Dimity. Such a pretty word. And the young colonial girl was waiting for, and anxious to unpack what was on order for her family. She was most excited about 'dimity' and ribbons.
When I started this blog, there was an incident or a sighting of the word, and the 'rising up a balloon' feeling of an evoked memory. Dimity. Dimity. And, I had just happened into some ribbon, Vichy Plaid, that I had written a separate blog about .That ribbon seemed to attract me like a point on a compass. And where do I arrive at, but at a fantastic site, Thistle Hill Weavers. I could follow it all day, but the time is not there today.
Also, I always wanted to work in fabric technology, as a chemist of the christal and organic type. My life did not work out to that result. But, I did stop in at Edenton, North Carolina, one day in the early 1970's, and driving around found some single story brick long building, much like brick railroad cars, as I walked around and stretched my legs. I found an open machine entry area, and called out. My voice echoed in the silence, but a person eventually appeared. It was a real, operating cotton mill, taking cotton from the bales to threads. I couldn't believe it. He offered me a quick tour and I saw where the bales came in, and actually saw some of it being spun and wound to large cones of thread. They would be shipped out to a dying facility. When I left, I headed towards the main street, and a little museum, and my leonine hair was coated with whisps of cotton, as if I had gone prematurely grey, a frosting, if you will.
I loved stopping in at Edenton over the next couple university years, to eat at little place right off the highway. When hurricane Isabel came thru back about ten years or so ago, Edenton had lost 80 percent of its trees in the little town. But, I am sure those that were worth it were preserved, and pruning and seeing light thru windows that had formerly been shady had required that steps be taken to protect fabric and rugs.
Anyway, here is the definition of dimity, followed by the Thistle Hill Weavers site, the deserves being explored in every nook and cranny.
dimity, (from Greek dimitos, “of double thread”), lightweight, sheer cotton fabric with two or more warp threads thrown into relief, forming fine cords. Originally dimity was made of silk or wool, but since the 18th century it has been woven almost exclusively of cotton.
The name was applied to two types of corded cottons: a heavy material used for bedcovers, drapery, and the like, and a lightweight, almost sheer fabric either corded or made in check effects. Dimity now refers primarily to the latter. (Encyclopedia Britanica on line)