Weaving Overshot all wrong

Weaving Overshot all wrong

Many years ago, I finally got to try weaving. I took the Beginning to Weave workshop through the Ottawa guild. At that time, 1989, the OVWSG did not have a studio space to house what guild equipment we had acquired. (The Guild had an old second-hand 100 inch loom and 6 or 7 table looms. There may have been a floor loom too but I was distracted by the 100 inches of loom, so do not remember). All the looms lived in one of our guild members’ very big basements. On weekends, she either taught weaving workshops or hosted weavers working on the 100 inch loom. It sounded like a busy basement! I remember 4 weekends of driving to a little town just east of Ottawa. I took the table loom home each week to do homework. I still remember the sound of the mettle heddles rattling as I drove down the highway, back and forth to the classes. Then I think there were two more weekends of Intermediate weaving and Dona sent me off and I was weaving!

It all starts with yarn, wind it carefully, attach it to the back beam, wind on, thread the heddles, slay the reed, tie on to the front beam, check the tension and then start to weave. It sounds like a lot of work but it is all worth it as you start to pass the shuttle through the shed and the cloth begins to appear. Weaving was like Magic! From a pile of string to POOF, actual cloth!!!

During the workshop, I found pickup seemed strangely familiar as my brain watched my fingers happily lifting and twisting threads for the various lace and decorative weave patterns. The other thing that my brain went “ooh this is cool!” was Overshot. It is a weave structure that requires a ground and a pattern thread, (two shuttles). One is fine like the warp and the pattern thread is thicker and usually wool. I was still reacting to wool so I used cotton for both.  My original goal was to draft and weave a Viking textile for myself but I put that aside for a moment, I will get back to that later.

The first thing I wove after my instruction was a present for my Mom. she had requested fabric to make a vest. I looked through A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison and found an overshot pattern that I thought we both would like. I wove it in two shades of blue (Mom’s favourite colour), at a looser thread count than usual. (Originally the overshot weave structure was used to make coverlets, so were tightly woven and a bit stiff, while I liked the pattern I wanted the fabric to be much more drapey.) Even worse, I did not want it to be as hard-edged in the pattern as it was originally intended so I tried a slub cotton as a test and loved it.

1-3   Cover of Marguerite Davison’s Book, an interior page showing overshot patterns, and a close-up of “Weaver Rose’s Coverlet no.28”

So, for any sane weaver, it was all wrong! Wrong set, wrong fibre, wrong colour choices! It was fabulous and perfect. I kept the sample as a basket cover and at either the end of 1989 or the beginning of 1990, I gave Mom the yardage for her vest. “Oh this is too nice to cut” Mom Said, so it lived on the back of her favourite reading chair as a headrest until her most recent move (2015?) it never did get to be a vest but it has been well enjoyed.

I don’t have a picture of her yardage but I do have pictures of the sample I kept.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

4-7 My demo basket with cover at Plowing match demo, Algonquin demo, Richmond fair, Carp fair and Farm show.

My sample piece, which became my main demo basket cover, has been in the background of many demo photos. This year it was used as an Old example in part of the guild Exhibition. You can see the subtle distortion of the pattern when a slub yarn is used.

Overshot sample of overshot cloth in blue and grey on Left and Inkle woven band in purple and blue with suplemental warp of fuzzy slubs.8 Exhibit from the 2022 guild Exhibition and Sale

In the Exhibition The Inkle band, hanging beside the overshot, I wove much more recently. I used an Inkle loom and a supplemental warp thread. This means weaving with an extra separate thread that was not part of the main warp on the loom.  I used a yarn with a fuzzy caterpillar-like slub.

Close up of Inkle woven band with slubs woven in Inkle band on Inkle loom. suplemental warp is weighted and hangs over back peg, 9-10 close up of Inkle woven band with inserted slubs from the supplemental warp, Inkle loom set up with the supplemental warp slubs.

You may be able to see how I wove the weird slubby supplemental warp. The yarn is weighted and left hanging over the back peg of the Inkle loom. It comes over the top peg (usually labelled B in diagrams) and floats above the weaving.  In the areas where the Caterpillar (Slub) is not present I catch the yarn with the shuttle and weave it into the band. In the area the caterpillar appears I would leave the yarn above the warp and then start weaving it in again as I reached the end of the caterpillar. I hope that explanation doesn’t sound like mud and makes a bit of sense. Using a supplemental warp on an Inkle loom is not quite normal but it is a lot of fun.

Over the years I tried out other two harness techniques that you normally don’t see with an Inkle loom. It turned into an entire 2 day, with a week in between days, workshop (with a homework assignment) and lots of samples!! I think it’s the fault of my dyslexic brain wandering off into odd thoughts again.

I was going to tell you about my original goal in learning to weave, the mysterious Fragment #10 from a Viking excavation from around the year 1000, but  I have likely confused you with weaving enough for one day. So I will save that for another chat. (don’t forget the Inkle loom I would like to tell you a bit more about that in another post too. I promise I will get back to felting in the not-too-distant future)

10 thoughts on “Weaving Overshot all wrong

  1. Wow Jan, you’ve jogged my elbow about overshot – my sister took overshot one step further and, using a “name-draft”, wove fabric for a silk jacket. I have the photos etc., to write a post about it and you’ve given me the nudge.
    I love that inkle braid you’ve shown us, beautiful colours. I thought initially that the caterpillars were dyed silk cocoons. Thank you for the explanation of supplemental warp. Now I understand – I’ve been looking at images and reading books but could never quite get my brain round it – your description and images have made it clear.
    Looking forward to hearing about the Viking fragment.

    1. Thanks Ann, i experimented with large flat rectangular beeds and figured out how to wate the suplmental warp thread to keep it above or below the warp as i was weaving. i used little mettle wates with aligator clips attached to them. i got them from dollerama , they were originaly perpoused for holding down a picknick table cloth. silly fools!!! its a weaving impliment obviously! well the ones shaped like dragon flys, i am not sure about the lady bug shaped ones that came with the dragon flys, maybe they are for table cloths? the catapillers almost look like little fuffy slugs since i have woven in the yarn between them creating a dotted line a little like a slug trail only not as slimy. i kept them in the same row but you can get them to meander across the band too. there a lot of fun. oh i got the weird yarn at the doller store too. i think its polyester and someting.(i have long since lost the lable!)

      i look forword to hearing about the namedrafted Overshot! there are actualy lots of variations on overshot but the way i did it was not one the other weavers at the time thot was correct. since it remains a fabulous basket cover i may be vindicated in my odd slottering of the traditional overshot pattern. Maybe?

  2. Lovely post Jan and your sample piece is beautiful!
    As non-weavers (unless using a child’s toy loom counts) we found your photos and explanations very interesting and we’re looking forward to the post about the Viking fragment.

    1. Thankyou both! weaving is like magic its slow magic, not like felting which is fast magic. fiber, water, soap, adjitate Poof Felt!! or fiber poke, poke, prod, stab, Poof Felt! still watching the fellline advance as the cloth magicly apears is amazing. maybe you would enjoy an inkle loom, set up is quite quick and your can do so many unexpected 2 harness weave structures with it. or just use colour to create bands. it will also hold tables to make tablet woven bands. if you are felting a bag you mite like to weave the handles or strap? you can even weave shew laces if your shews have laces! (this time of year with slushy snow or rain i usualy ware rubber boots and warm socks! or try to stay inside.)
      Have fun and i will tell you about the fabulous fragment #10 soon.

  3. Lovely weaving Jan! I always admire weaving before never have the fortitude to learn how to do all the prep work. The Inkle loom sounds possibly doable but I don’t have access to one. (And yes, we have a local weaver’s guild but I don’t have any time at the moment.) Looking forward to hearing about the Viking fragment.

    1. Thanks Ruth, I am sure you would like inkle weaving it has only 2 options up or down for weaving and its quite simple to set up. you can aproch it with colour order for patterns, try other 2 harness weave structures or investigat Pick up patterns, so lots to do with a little loom. Big looms are fun too but you are right there is a lot of set up.

      the viking textile started my quest to weave which lead to my distraction into spinning which lead to a hord of fiber and trying felting……. its a slippery slope these fiber arts. you may wake up one morning and find a loom in your living room. (maybe this xmass?)

  4. It is a great piece of cloth Jan. it enhances your basket and I can’t imagine a demo without it on the table. Inkle weaving is where it’s at for me, fast to set up and fast to weave. I am so impatient.

    1. thanks Ann! i agree inkle weaving is fabulous. its quick to set up, it can be quick to weave, it has more options that just pattern by colour, there is even pickup for more pattern options but that is slower than just weaving normal colour patterns. it can make you cat leashes, straps, belts, ties, and can be woven round or flat! i am not sure a floor loom would be very impressed making cat leashes with round handles!
      but i gess my inkle looms would not be as thrilled to make a large blanket! too many thin strips to sew together at the end!!

  5. Your overshot blanket has proved the thermal value of wool on any number of occasions when the weather at the demos was less than enjoyable. I got to use it at the Carp Fair, lovely practical and beautiful piece of weaving.

    1. Thanks Bernadette! i will be sowing the wool blankets in the viking post! yes its good to be able to show the thermal value of wool at a demo but its hard to spin or felt if you cant feel your fingers!!!

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: