Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Hi Madelyn,

I have come across a question about determining which tabby to use after weaving the first pattern pick to make the pattern look 'right' in overshot. Donna Sullivan, in Weaving Overshot, says "To determine the emboldening tabby order, find the center turning block and note which shaft the edge warp ends are threaded on. This shaft must be left down for the tabby shot between the first two pattern picks of the center turning block.  Alternatively, note the shaft number of the first warp ends on either side of the turning block and remember that this shaft must be lifted for the tabby shot between the first two pattern picks of the center turning block."

Okay, so I think I understand that and that we have to count backwards from the center to find the correct tabby. But Mary Black in Key To Weaving, says, "According to the tabby sequence, pattern shots are either paired or unpaired. Consequently, to keep the pattern the same in reverse the same tabby shot must be used between the same pattern shots to form the same pairs."

HUH!  Please enlighten me!

––Sharon Loyd

Hi Sharon!

Donna Sullivan’s description is right but maybe makes it sound hard. And I’m not actually sure it always works. You could have a motif with an even number of pattern picks, though in that case, you will have one effect on one edge and the other effect on the other edge.

Anyway, what the Key to Weaving is trying to say (which is also right) is that any two picks in a row of overshot pattern in the same block will either cuddle together at the outside edge of a motif or split a bit apart. Usually, you care how that looks at the outside edges of the start and end of a motif, not in the center. If the last thread on the edge of the motif is up for the tabby pick between the two pattern picks that begin and end it, the two pattern picks are sort of split apart at the outside edge. If last thread is down for that tabby pick, the two pattern picks cuddle together. In a star motif, you might want them split. In a rose motif you do want them to cuddle so the rose looks more round.

However, if you beat very firmly you can’t tell the difference, and that is how I always do overshot—beat very firmlybecause I like the pattern weft to really cover solidly. Otherwise, the way I would figure it out is try one tabby order and the other and choose the one I like best without following words about it.

Hope this helps!


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