Tips for Overshot Weaving Success

Want to weave simply dazzling overshot towels, on just four shafts? I know I do. Bertha’s Towels, based on the miniature overshot designs of Bertha Gray Hayes, are among the most popular Handwoven projects from the last decade. Now, it’s easier than ever to weave these towels, as we are releasing not one but two Bertha’s Towels kits!

overshot weaving

Weave stunning overshot towels with this kit! Choose between the two-towel version or weave four towels and give a few away as gifts.

Choose whether you want to weave just two towels, or weave a full set of four, and we’ll send you all the yarn you need, in the gorgeous colors featured in the magazine. Plus, you’ll receive the Winter Weaves pattern pack, full of more inspiring weaving projects for cold weather.

Nervous about giving overshot weaving a try? No shame in that—the intricate patterning sure does look complicated! But this is actually a great project for weavers new to overshot. Plus, here are five tips from designer Pattie Graver to ensure great overshot results!

Five Overshot Weaving Tips from Pattie Graver

1. “To help “beat to square,” I followed the advice of Helene Bress in The Weaving Book: identify a diagonal line that appears in the cloth as you weave and try to keep that at 45 degrees. I keep a protractor by my loom!”

2. “Advance the warp often, but not too far. Keeping the beater closer to 90 degrees (plus or minus) allowed me to maintain a more even beat.”

3. “Sample, sample, sample. Do consider putting on an extra yard (or more) of warp in order to get a feel for the draft. This will allow you to test for proper beat, colors, and other “what-ifs.” I often put on a 6-yard warp and use at least half of the warp for sampling.”

overshot weaving

With a little practice, you too can weave to square!

4. “As you explore other designs, spend a little time studying the treadling of your overshot draft. You may wish to choose a different starting/stopping point than the one specified. As you study the drawdowns, you will discover that some drafts have small sections that can be woven separately from the overall design.”

5. “Consider the values of your colors. If warp and pattern weft are too close in value, the overshot designs will not appear in strong contrast. Remember, too, that the eye follows light, so bits of lighter pattern weft add interest to the cloth.”

I’m still concerned about weaving to square, myself, but I think I might just have to give these gorgeous towels a try. As a new weaver, it sure would be nice to weave something truly dazzling!

Choose between the 2-towel version and the 4-towel version, and try your hand at these gorgeous towels. They would make truly stunning gifts! Imagine the looks on the faces of friends and family when you say, “Oh, by the way, I wove that towel.”

Happy Weaving!

Weave Bertha’s Towels yourself with these products from our shop!