Not Your Mother’s Overshot Workshop has come and gone.  What fun!!  This was a two-day workshop on pushing the overshot structure past its basic limits.  We even did freeform overshot and opphämpta.

Overshot is my favorite structure.  You can get such beautiful, complex patterns with only a simple 4-shaft loom.  If you’re willing to go slow, you can even get it with a rigid heddle loom!  Cool stuff!

Workshop Samples

Overshot Workshop 1

More Classic Overshot – Sort of

We did do a couple of more classic-looking overshot where we explored the use of different weft patterns against the same warp.  We also looked at a basic warp / weft pattern but with the tabby or ground warp and weft being rainbow colors.  So pretty!  I need to get photos of it.

Overshot Workshop 2

Playing With Thicknesses

We did a few projects that broke the normal thread weight rule for overshot.  We also used very, very non-traditional materials – even a pot-scrubbing yarn!

Overshot Workshop 3

Not Really Overshot

Probably the most advanced techniques we worked with were freeform overshot and the Swedish opphämpta technique.  I brought my traveling counterbalance loom set up with the long-eye heddles to do the patterning.  I used a classic Scandinavian knitting pattern.  I think it looks lovely as a woven pattern!!  The freeform technique was the slowest and most challenging.  I need to work with that to make it more accessible.


Lee's Surrender Towel Design

As always, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  One of the members of my online weaving group on Our Unraveled indicated that she would like to make towels in the Lee’s Surrender overshot draft.  Now Lee isn’t easy.  It may be only a 4-shaft overshot draft, but it combines several elements, has a wicked border and isn’t for the faint of heart.  Or at least isn’t for beginning weavers.  The good news is that it is in Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book.  The original book is from the 50’s and the draft is written out in the older format, but it still manageable.  (Hint: beware of getting a new version of the book.  I’ve heard that it has been gutted and has maybe half the drafts of the earlier editions.)

I don’t know where the original draft came from.  In the book Davison says that it is adapted from an earlier pattern.  Since weaving drafts, like quilt patterns, are frequently named for historical events, I assume this one is truly named for Lee’s Surrender of the Confederate troops at Appomattox Courthouse.  If so, that would place it in the late 1800’s.  The border is based on the Blooming Leaf pattern that appears in other overshot drafts, and this gives the border its intricate, eye-appealing size.  The tables that form the center design are themselves quite simple  – a star design commonly found in overshot.  However, they allow the piece to be wider or narrower at the weaver’s discretion simply by adding or removing repeats.

Lees Surrender Place Mat

Lee and I are no strangers.  Many years ago I decided to tackle this draft in a very fine thread intending to make a set of four place mats in the classic blue pattern on white background.  One must understand, however, that I am a Southerner.  As nearly as I an tell, all eight of my great-great-grandfather’s fought for the Confederacy.  So either some curse got thrown in my direction or I got a bad cone of white cotton, but it was one broken warp thread after the other.  After two place mats and 20+ broken warp threads, I cut the piece off the loom.  Still, the two place mats turned out beautifully.

I volunteered to make the draft for the requested towels and post it to the group.  I also suggested that we use it as an overshot weave-a-long or WAL.  Several people agreed and I think we’ll get going on the first of September.  I was able to find the original notes and WIF (Weaving Information File) I entered when I made the place mats.  I hadn’t finished the treadling diagram, but it wasn’t hard to finish up.  I did all the calculations for two towels and wrote up the instructions.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t test the towels prior to releasing the PDF.  I’m hopeful that everything is fine and I didn’t make any mistakes.  I suppose we’ll see.

Equally unfortunately, I decided to make the towels in Ashford’s 10/2 and 5/2 cotton.  Sadly, we’re out of the colors I wanted at Yarnivore,  Hopefully, the cones will be in before long and I’ll be able to get the towels on the loom.  I’m planning to get the origami blouse fabric off the old Schacht Standard so the towels can go on.

And hopefully there will be NO broken warp threads!!


Origami Blouse Fabric On Loom

Dogs On The Looms

It’s been a busy week in the studio! It’s time to get ready for a workshop I’ll be teaching in late October and I have two designs I want to get on the looms.  Unfortunately, three of my six floor looms have “dogs” on them.  What is a dog on the loom?  It’s a project that I started and then lost interest in or I got busy with other projects and put the “dog” aside.  True Confessions time here – I love to design, love to start projects and am the world’s worst at finishing.    The stack of projects that are off the loom, but not finished is reaching critical mass.  Talk about the stack of shame!

It’s funny.  My very first loom, an old used Schacht Standard 4-shaft / 6-treadle loom is the one loom you’d think I would sell.  It’s limited, right??  Well, right, but it just feels good.  I love that old loom and I love to weave on it.  Unfortunately, it seems to attract the most dogs.  I have an Atwater-Bronson lace piece on it intended to be an origami blouse.  Maybe it’s the color.  Maybe it’s the issues I’ve had with the selvedges.  I don’t know.  It’s a dog.  That’s all I do know.  But I want that loom for another piece!  What’s a weaver to do?  I could give up on the project, cut it off and use the woven cloth for something else.  That just offends me, though.  So I decided to buckle down and finish it.  After I moved the stack of finished (and yet unfinished) projects off the loom and dusted the poor thing off, I sat down at the loom… and remembered how much I love weaving on the old thing.  And the weaving went better as well.  I think I’m going to like this blouse, if and when I ever get it done.

Getting Ready for Workshops

I’m busy getting designs finalized and written up for my upcoming overshot workshop.  I’m excited to be giving a workshop and I think I have some good ideas for this one.  It always amazes me how much I learn when preparing for a class or workshop.  I’ve had to completely rework one of the designs.  I thought I had it simple enough for the project and the sample didn’t agree.  In fact, it didn’t agree for quite some time.  Finally, about midnight, I got it down to a workable treadling.  The threading was fine from the beginning, but the treadling was simply too fussy.  I’m very pleased with the outcome, and I think my students will be as well.

Now to try out my next design in my next sample.

Until next week,

Weave on!