Overshot Workshop at Yadkin Valley Fiber Center

On January 10-12, 2020 I taught an overshot workshop at Yadkin Valley Fiber Center to a delightful group of students. They came prepared with looms warped and questions ready. We had a full two and a half days of weaving, talking, learning and sharing. Students started with the same threading pattern and worked their way through various treadling variations. Each made their own decisions regarding color and thickness of the weft. Along the way we talked about the theory of overshot, how to design overshot and what life must have been like for the weavers who came before us.

For new or non-weavers, overshot is type of weave structure that creates blocks of pattern when some threads skip, or shoot, over the cloth. The structure was used in making coverlets. Old time weavers used cotton (or linen) thread crossed with wool thread. The resulting cloth was lovely and warm. We used cotton thread and some wool thread in class.

One student had mistakenly used warp twice as thick as what was called for so her samples were extra large.

Giant Full Sampler
One student mistakenly used warp twice as thick as what was called for. The results were spectacular (after we re-sleyed the warp).

It is always fun to see how each student’s work is unique, even though all start with the same instructions. That is what makes handwoven creations works of art. You can see it in the photos below.

We didn’t just weave traditional overshot. We added some other structures that are possible to weave on an overshot threading, like the flame point variation shown in the above pictures. We also wove honeycomb.

Green and Red Honeycomb
This is a close up of one student’s honeycomb treadling.
Blue and White Honeycomb
Here’s another example of honeycomb treadling.

The students labeled their work as they went. When they went home, they cut the sampler off the loom and washed it. Everything changes with washing. The warp and weft threads relax and settle around each other. Some cloth that looks two dimensional on the loom becomes more three dimensional after it is washed and dried.

I’m proud of the work everyone put into the class. Everybody helped each other, sharing tips, supplies and extra yarn. Thanks to Leslie at the fiber center for wonderful hospitality in her new surroundings. It was a great place to meet. I came home from the class inspired by my students and ready to try some new ideas of my own.

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