2009 Weave of the week #7: Ad Hoc Softwares
February 15, 2009

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).