Thoughts on Overshot

This July I will be teaching a workshop in Reno, NV as part of Handweavers Guild of America’s Convergence 2018. The workshop explores the possibilities of a weave structure known as overshot, one of my favorite types of weaving. In preparation, I went back through old photos to find examples of my own overshot exploration. As I reviewed my previous overshot pieces  I reflected on why I find this weave so satisfying, and a few observations came to mind.

Overshot has some strong pattern lines. As you weave it you see the pattern unfold one shuttle-throw at a time. Lines build upon each other to develop curves.

This table runner was woven in the traditional Rattlesnake Trail pattern.

Overshot also has strong ties to history. Many coverlets seen in early American reproductions are made using overshot patterns. Weaving overshot ties me to the many weavers who came before me.

Detail of a traditional Mary Anne Ostrander overshot runner.

Overshot also allows for a lot of color interaction. Sometimes the weft makes long floats over the warp so you see areas of pattern weft color. Sometimes you see more of the background plain weave where thin warp and thin plain weave weft intersect and form blocks. In other areas you see the pattern weft going in between warp and the two elements blend to get a completely different color.

Overshot treadled in a style called “on opposites”.

In the workshop I teach we try out different ways of combining pattern and color to get cloth that doesn’t look like traditional overshot.

Italian style treadling of an overshot threading.

Flame treadling of an overshot threading.

If I had to choose only one type of weave to concentrate on for the rest of my weaving career, it could easily be overshot. I could play with it for a long time without getting bored.

Recent shawl in cotton and wool/silk blend

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