Ada Dietz

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Ada K. Dietz (June 16, 1882 - May 13, 1950) was an American weaver best known for her 1949 monograph Algebraic Expressions in Handwoven Textiles, which defines a novel method for generating weaving patterns based on algebraic patterns. Her method employs the expansion of multivariate polynomials to devise a weaving scheme. Dietz' work is still well-regarded today, by both weavers and mathematicians. Along with the references listed below, Griswold (2001) cites several additional articles on her work.

History[edit]

Ada Dietz developed her algebraic method in 1946 while living in Long Beach, California. An avid weaver, Dietz drew upon her experience as a former math teacher to devise a threading pattern based on a cubic binomial expansion. She describes her idea as follows:

"Taking the cube of a binomial [ (x + y)3], I approached [the pattern] in the way applied algebraic problems are approached - by letting x equal one unknown and y equal the other unknown.
"In this case, x equaled the first and second harnesses, and y equaled the third and fourth harnesses. Then it was simply a matter of expanding the cube of the binomial and substituting the values of x and y to write the threading draft." (Dietz, 1949)

A piece based on the formula (a + b + c + d + e + f)2, submitted to the Little Loomhouse Country Fair in Louisville, Kentucky received such a positive response, which prompted a collaboration between Dietz and Little Loomhouse's founder, Lou Tate. The fruits of the collaboration included the booklet Algebraic Expressions in Handwoven Textiles and a traveling exhibit which continued throughout the 1950s.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Schneider, Lana (1998). "Algebraic Expressions: Designs for Weaving". Handwoven (Jan./Feb.): 48–51.