Overshot Ambitions

  Pattie Graver's miniature overshot drafts provide a great canvas for experimenting with color and treadling variations.
imageplaceholder Christina Garton
Editor, Weaving Today

I can tell you the exact moment I fell in love with overshot. I had previously thought it was lovely, and had admired it on a variety of occasions, but when Pattie Graver brought in her truly stunning miniature overshot towels for the November/December 2012 issue of Handwoven, I was hooked. Vibrant purple provided a base for the shiny jewel-tone pearl cottons. As I examined the towels, I knew I would need to learn more about this structure and weave up my own set of miniature overshot towels someday.


But I did not weave those towels because at the time I was scared. I had not woven a two shuttle design before, so the phrase “use tabby” made me nervous. Then there was the fact that I was told that counting picks and beating evenly and to square mattered in overshot in a way they did not matter in twill (my current favorite). I was worried, and so I refrained from making something beautiful and eventually became distracted by other structures and adventures on my loom.


Now, I realize that I was silly. I have, since that time, woven pieces that required two shuttles and found that while it takes a few picks to get used to, it’s really not that difficult. I’ve also woven pieces where beating to square matters very much and where I carefully counted every pick to make sure my beat was steady. I’ve found in these cases that adding on six inches or so of extra warp helps a great deal so you can sample and find your rhythm before starting the actual piece.


Perhaps best of all Madelyn van der Hoogt, the Divine Miss M. herself, has a new video out about weaving overshot. If there is one thing I have learned from my years of working with Madelyn, it’s that the reason she knows as much as she does is not because she was divinely blessed with the Gift of Weaving, but because she has woven a lot, made mistakes, and learned tricks to deal with the difficult bits. She is a weaver who knows her stuff, and having absorbed her past videos I cannot wait to watch Weaving Overshot this weekend. At this moment I have some lace towels on the loom that are very nearly done (10 inches to go as of this writing) and everything I need to weave up Pattie Graver’s beautiful towels in my stash. I will watch Madelyn’s video and warp my loom for my next great adventure: overshot.


Happy Weaving!


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