2009 Weave of the week #7: Ad Hoc Softwares

Ticking dishtowel

Ticking dishtowel

This week’s weave is a dishtowel, one of a group of interesting imported dishtowels that I accumulated over time from Ad Hoc Softwares, in Soho, NYC. And this is a fan letter to Julia and Judy who closed their shop in June 2002, after 26 years.


Ad Hoc Softwares was not a computer store, but a spacious, unpretentious, home furnishings design store. (The was back when you could say “Softwares” and NO ONE would think computers.) I lived in the neighborhood at the time, and I often stopped by and came away with French or Belgian dishtowels in interesting weaves, which I justified buying as “design research.” And since I love to mix patterns, I never bought two of anything (see photo above).

At Ad Hoc you could find industrial shelving, china, glassware, books, toys, stationery, bankets — anything Julia and Judy thought was interesting. They sometimes sold my handwovens, too, but wearables were a very small part of their business.

The store’s look was clean and modern and the merchandise was functional, often quirky, and always well-designed. It was a pioneering store and I still appreciate and share the owners’ generous definition of good design, which included beautiful dishtowels.

The towel shown above is all cotton, woven in Belgium. The white borders and the red and white ticking stripes are tabby, and the flowers and leaves are supplementary-warp jacquard. I never would have thought of using such long floats in a dishtowel, but they have held up better than the tabby area.

Although Ad Hoc Softwares is gone, I don’t feel dishtowel-deprived, thanks to Rachael Emmons (weave of the week #3).  I  have a collection of her beautiful handwoven dishtowels that would have been right at home there (see photo below).



3 Responses

  1. Thanks for letting me know about the tulip towels on your Gallery page! I love the things 16-shaft looms can do!!!

    Weirdly enough, I was reading through a pile of old Handwoven magazines, and in the March 1986 issue, covering patterns from the loom, there was a flower design that reminded me of this one. It didn’t have as many leaves or stems, but it was similar.

    I love patterned textiles, and I look forward to exploring them more as I weave!!


  2. Hi, Sue, I just posted another dishtowel on my Gallery page that has tulips clearly woven in. Both flower towels use supplementary warp motifs, but the tulips can be woven on a 16-harness loom.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Those are beautiful dishtowels!! I would never have guessed that the flowers were woven in, rather than printed, if you hadn’t described the fabric so well. (Oh, and of course, because this blog is about weaving!)

    Funny thing about weavers….how we’ll go to another weaver’s house and be excited by what we find in their drawer of dishtowels!!

    Thanks for sharing these!!


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