This particular ‘favorite things’ post may be viewed as a little self-serving; however, I’m solely motivated to get more weavers intrigued with overshot. In the current May/June 2014 issue of Handwoven I have a project that is a pair of overshot gamp dish towels. I’m so pleased with how they turned out . . . if you haven’t seen them, below is a picture of one of the towels hanging from the bar on my oven.
The first thing I ever wove was a fingertip towel with an overshot border. Over the 45 years since I’ve learned to weave, I have woven a lot of overshot. I’ve always remained fascinated by the multitude of patterns possible . . . even on four shafts. Yes, the above towel was woven on merely four shafts.
Weaving overshot reminds me of how important the tie-up and treadling is . . . not just the threading. If you’ve never woven overshot, there are a multitude of resources available. To get you started, here are a few you may enjoy.
Original Miniature Patterns for Handweaving – Parts I and II by Josephine Estes
Available for download is a pair of overshot publications by Josephine Estes titled Original Miniature Patterns for Handweaving. This is a wonderful collection of many of the smaller overshot threadings. I have always gotten a kick out of overshot pattern names . . . such as Young Lover’s Knot, Royal Crown, Queen’s Delight, and more! They sound rather grand, don’t they?
The two publications each provide 24 different overshot drafts. Pretty cool! What I really like about these patterns is how accessible these patterns are because of the relatively short threading sequences. Check out some of the pages . . .
Original Miniature Patterns for Handweaving – Part I – http://www.cs2.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/monographs/eje_min1.pdf
Original Miniature Patterns for Handweaving – Part II – http://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/monographs/eje_min2.pdf
Now, if those resources encourage you to weave overshot, you may also be interested in a couple more.
Different Methods for Weaving Overshot by Nellie Sargent Johnson – http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/periodicals/hwn_39_12.pdf
An overshot threading is really a type of a twill threading and just because you’ve threaded for overshot doesn’t mean you have to weave it as overshot by alternating a pattern weft and a tabby weft. In the article above, it outlines a few more ways to weave an overshot threading, such as on-opposites, twill, and honeycomb. Below is the threading in the article, but these treadling approaches may be done on other overshot threadings.
Last, but certainly not least, is an article Six Block Overshot on Four Shafts – http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/periodicals/zmw_42.pdf . . . you will need to scroll down through this November 1958 issue of Master Weaver to page 8. No, it’s not the prettiest article, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Six blocks on four shafts???!!! Hopefully, more than a few weavers will be intrigued to see how to get more out of less.
Overshot sometimes gets a bad rap since many people equate it with Colonial coverlets, but overshot is so much more than that. If you haven’t tried weaving overshot, give a chance . . . you may be pleased with the results.