Anita Heist is a full-time professionally trained hand weaver and designer who has been weaving early American textiles for more than 40 years. Currently she focuses on limited editions or made-to-order textiles in a wide range of early American weaves, from traditional home weaves to more complicated patterns—doubleweave, beiderwand, star & diamond, complex twills, etc.—done by professional weavers.
Heist works from pre-1860s original manuscript drafts and textiles, using her extensive textile research, pattern library, and experience to make interpretative pieces that are period appropriate, heirloom quality, and easy to care for. She starts with high-quality wool, linen, and cottons to weave coverlets, blankets, runners, towels, yard goods, rugs, and placemats. When feasible she hand spins the wefts from raw wool and dyes wool, cotton, and linen with natural or commercial dyes.
Heist does all of the work herself, from designing and drafting to wet-finishing and hand-stitching the hems. Her looms are old-fashioned hand looms (no fly shuttles) and include a late-18th-Century barn loom and other vintage equipment. Because she enjoys the challenge of more complex weaves, she sometimes makes double harness and draw-loom setups.