Ch. 6-Compound Weaves

We can discuss our studies of compund weaves, such as overshot here! Shoot for the moon!


Posted on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 12:29

and ask what/how Alderman define as overshot?

To me, the word looks generic, as in "if the pattern weft shoots over, under or both, many ends at a time", giving both (what we Swedes usually call) daldräll, monk's belt, (free) rosepath (and probably more "named" weaves I can't think of at the moment) as "overshot".

I understand that what often is meant is daldräll (4 blocks on 4 shafts where one bloch is threaded on 1-2, next on 3-2, 3-4 and 4-1, tied up to batavia and woven with tabby), but is this *the* overshot, according to definition?

Posted on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 14:19

Hi Kerstin,

There does not appear to be a chapter devoted to overshot in this book, I think Erica just felt that overshot discussions might naturally fall within the weave structures discussed here.   Instead she treats it as a compound weave - I think reflecting the complications that you brought up.

Posted on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 14:50

u almost figured out my mistake! The next chapter is compound weaves, and I will be weaving Overshot! I will updat the thread today! :)

Posted on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 16:15

Kerstin, I will doubke check the definition for you. From my recollection of the resding your description is the same, bht I'll need the wee one in bed to verify! :)

Posted on Sun, 05/31/2015 - 18:56


Here is a quote from the book "Overshot is a 3 element weave...Overshot requires just four shafts, although more may be used. The structure is based on 2/2 twill. For a four-shaft overshot, there are four blocks: 1,2; 2,3; 3,4; and 1,4." This sounds like what you described, though the order of the shafts in 2 of the blocks differs from what you wrote. The key to overshot is the tabby shots between, therefore the block always alternate odd and even shafts.

I must thank you for this discussion. As I said before I was initially planning on overshot for my focus this chatper. This discussion has reminded me that this chapter is about complex weaves. AFter the presentation of the chairperson for the Certificate of Achievement and some reflection, I am going to thread for summer and winter, but weave taquete, then maybe some summer and winter, then probably some saitum and if there is some warp left, I'll weave overshot. Why the change? Well my focus for the Certificate of Achievement syllabus is to explore weaves, not just weave through a check list. The second reason is this warp is on my 16 shaft loom and it makes much more sense to rethread for taquete, samitum, and summer and winter rather than something that can be woven on just 4 shafts. :)

Happy weaving,


Posted on Mon, 06/01/2015 - 07:12

Thank you, Erica.

The reason we Swedes reverse the order of the shaft # between blocks is that, with this modification, the odd-even progression is maintained w/o having to "think"

If we thread 1-2, wanting next block to be 2-3 we need either to add an incidental OR subtract one end...

Posted on Mon, 06/01/2015 - 09:54

You're right we thread with incidentals. I hadn't seen your approach before, makes good sense to me:)

Posted on Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:11

here's an online glossary written by one of the leading Chinese archeologists and scholars which gives you a good overview of the many compound weaves and how museums classify textiles, take some time to page thru it....lots of rabbit holes to follow...

here is his background

Posted on Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:27


That is a great resource. I will definintely look at it! As someone who looks at historic textiles on a regular basis, this will be most useful.

The point of my question was to get those in the study group to put the definintion in their own words to better our own understanding. :)

Posted on Sun, 06/21/2015 - 09:14

I also read in Vav magazine, issue 2/12, page 22, that ''The difference between overshot and our daldrall is that the American patterning is more symmetrical...Daldrall has differently sized checks and shadow areas, even if the pattern blocks are the same size.''  

So, daldrall can be more complex in regards to the actual blocks as well, it seems.

Posted on Sun, 06/21/2015 - 22:53


that is really interesting , I wish I could see a picture of Daldrall. Thanks for your input I think our Guild Library has some Vav magazines I don't know if that issue is in the  collection. I will look for it though!


ah, just realized the Public Library probably has the magazine!

Posted on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 17:04

Cathie, I dug up a very used and abused towel (woven 25 yrs ago?) and took some pics. First overview of front, overview of back (not great pics...)

Now, some better (I hope) details - front AND back:

So... how to know which is the front and which the back? 'Cos the pattern weft gets "paired" on the front, but is "divided" on the back, because of how it interacts with the tabbies (just like in summer&winter, actually). Like so: (front first, back second)

I hope you can see what I mean: on the "front" there are 2-and-2 (paired) pattern wefts; on the "back" there are 1-2-1 ("divided" is perhaps not the best description, but...).

ETA: warp & tabby were once black, cotton 16/2 (most probably); pattern handspun natural linen, thicker than the tabby


Nassajah, I don't have Väv, but your post made me start trying to dissect the various "overshot" options I can get from Fiberworks (my fave software), but it will take some time. It appears Fiberworks and I have different definitions of both "incidental and "balance"... - so it will take some more time until I have an opinion  :-)

Posted on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 23:01


thank you so much! Yes, I can see very clearly the differences between the front and the back now that you've pointed it out. so the way Daldrall pairs differently on either side is one way it is differentiated from Overshot, plus Overshot usually  takes one pic one tabby etc. to build a block, so no pairing. What does this do to the design?  I think overall the Daldrall is softer looking than the Overshot( woven as drawn in) , in that the double pick has a softer edge, while the Overshot with it's single pic,tabby tends to crisp outlines ? 

Kerstin, I imagine Daldrall has many ways of treadling. Are there standards like our Overshot , such as " Rose Fashion" ? Plus I couldn't quite tell how many shafts that towel was woven on maybe 8? I'm not sure.

thank you again,


Posted on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 23:03


i think I finely get what the quote from Vav means! wow, I'be been trying to figure out that sentence for a few minutes here! I think that if I run my eye horizontally on Kirsten's first two pics, I see the checks and shadows change size while the pattern blocks remain the same. That is true that it doesn't happen in Overshot and another reason why I think the Daldrall looks softer, no angular sharp corners, fascinating:)



Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 07:14

... because we regard it as a "simplified dräll" (read more here, on my blog)


Here are a couple of pics to explain what I mean w "paired". First a portion of the profile draft (for the towel, but just from "looking" at it... so it might not be correct) - draft for sinking shed (all of them)

Detail threading according to Swe standard, colour coded to show that all blocks have all four ends - it gives a true tabby as long as not skipping a block

Now, with tabby inserted - front side. The circle shows the "pairing"

Reverse side of the same portion (this would happen on the front if the tabbies were reversed). The two center pattern picks will be "paired" (the red circle)

(Oops - didn't notice the "add tabby" also added tabby treadles... no need for *4* tabby treadles!)

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 08:33

Can hardly believe that towel is 4 shafts, I guess I'd have to see it up close. It looks quite complex, part of it's charm. thanks for the draw downs , I can clearly see the pairings and tabby. 

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:02

("read" from the towel - but you will have to work out the repeats yourselves. There may also be errors)

Substituted the swedish way, compacted a lot, top front side, bottom reverse

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 15:01

Now I can read the towel, don't know why I couldn't before. I still find it interesting that people lump this together with Overshot when the pairing really makes it quite different. I also think it looks different. Agreed they Both have the radial symme try, but I don't see the strong twill lines in the Daldräll, because of course it's paired,  I would expect the reason. Does one still strive for a 45 degree angle?  I think it's quite lovely. Do you agree that it looks softer too? it's also different because the back is not the reverse of the face as in Overshot. I have learned so much about this weave , I'm sure if someone came into the Guild with a " mystery weave" I would now be able to identify it:)

have you figured out Fiberworks yet?


Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:38

Dear moderator, if you think we aare threadjacking, please remove to a more appropriate thread/forum!

Now, Cathie - I beg to differ on some points. That is, assuming what Fiberworks sees as "standard overshot" (it suggests "common threads" and "balanced"), is also what you (all) see as "atandard overshot".

Using the same profile, doing the substitution as above ("common threads" and "balanced"), I get a 65-end threading (compared to the 72 I get when doing it "Swe fashion"). Here it is , colour coded as I did the "SWe fashion" above:

How did I decide which ends to get which colour? I compared them to the Swe fashion 72-ends threading, like this:

Then I did the "add tabby" - this is the front side:

- and I found the "paired" pattern ends. Went to the reverse side, and... some of the blocks retained the "paired" pattern ends...

Some of the pattern on the reverse is still "paired" (top circle), but some of it is "divided" (red circle w black circle inside) - below that the pattern picks are divided, too.

So... to me (but I am biased, I suppose :-) the mystery is: how come *some* pattern picks on the reverse (of "standard overshot") are still paired?!?

... still thinking about "the back is not the reverse of the face as in Overshot"... which means this is probably not my last opinion on this.


I guess one VERY important question here is: what, exactly, IS overshot - for me, the Swede, preferrably compared to whar Fiberworks "suggests"?

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:59

This discussion is awesome and informative! Keep it up! This is a study group, so the goal is learning! Your posts are in lone with that goal!

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 19:19

Well, really just putting in too many hours at work, but am feeling a bit guilty about my slow progress in this group.  That means I am super happy about  kerstinfroberg and Cathie's discussions.   

Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 20:30

Hi Kerstin,

right, I would be surprised if the weaving software programs understood the nuances we're speaking of.

Kerstin, I am quite wrong in saying that the face of Overshot is the same as the back. This is not true. I got out some samples and saw that where there were floats for instance on the face to make a block were solid tabbly on the reverse of  these samples. Though Half tones seem to remain the same. See below.

the faceovershot face


overshot back

Then I had been taught that Overshot had 3 aspects, floats, halftones, and solid tabby. but what about Polychrome? this is also bilaterly symetrical not radial. it does have the same blocks showing on the same spots in the same way on both sides( polychrome Overshot facereverse reciprocitiy)


polychrome overshot back

The only thing I can think of Kerstin to answer your question  about pairing on the reverse, is when treadling that perfect 12,23,34,14, that perfect reverse is happening on the underside. It's exactly even.

You are so way ahead of me on this Kerstin, and I'm finding it so interesting but I hope I'm not boring you and others on this thread! Now I'm starting to wonder what a good definition of Overshot is too! 




Posted on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 20:35

- just "interesting"  (in quotes, 'cos I'm not sure what I mean... getting on for sleeping, at my corner of the world)

Promise: I will read, and re-read, (and make drawdowns?) tomorrow... have already branched out to summer & winter

Posted on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 16:18

Forget (parts of) what I wrote earlier - now I have tried to make systematic comparisons between daldräll ("hand-substituted" to avoid oddities coming from misunderstandings between me and my software) and the Fiberworks "standard" overshot (ie: Fiberworks suggests the threading of the blocks, suggests also "common threads" and "balanced" - "common threads" mean that warp ends are subtracted in a way that is not totally transparent to me).

Anyway. These comparisons lead to a brand new page on my website,, 'cos it got waaay to long to post here...

I would really welcome all thoughts and corrections. Perhaps right here is a good place to discuss? (Mod, if you throw us out, pls give a link...)

Posted on Mon, 06/29/2015 - 20:28

Hi Kerstin,

I have noticed a difference in the setts of American overshot and Daldräll.  Perhaps this is from the fabrics coming from the Swedish power operated looms.  The setts of the warps can be very close on these fabrics and that causes the wefts to be more separated.  Then you can see the pairs of weft floats.  Most American overshot weaves have more open setts so that the weft floats touch each other.  When finished, it can be hard to notice the pairs of wefts and the single wefts. 

Another difference is that Swedish weavers use much finer threads, often cotton or linen or a combination.  These Daldräll pieces are sometimes tablecloths.  American weavers are influenced by our past when the overshot weaves were woven as coverlets with a wool pattern weft.  In Dalarna, there are many Daldrall woven coverlets or similar with a wool weft, but still finer threads are used. 

I realize there is a wide range of uses of these weaves in both countries.  I am just commenting on what I have seen.



Posted on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 01:03

Hi Kerstin and Joann,  first Kerstin thank you for the most thoughtful comments and descriptions of Overshot and Daldräll that you wrote on your blog. 

I am out of the country and am yearning to take a tapestry needle to some of my overshot and look for " pair wefts". JoAnn is it only certain treadlings of Overshot that have paired wefts? I have always thought, perhaps naively , that they were single ?

not my area of expertise, but curious minds what to know:)

thanks to you both,


Posted on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:11

Cathy, if you look at the drawdowns where all threads are present: warp, here coloured in blue and purple, to show which end is odd-numbered and which is even-numbered, pattern weft (here white) and tabby weft it can easily be seen that pairing and/or dividing will happen, regardless of threading, sett or materials chosen.

It may not be obvious to the viewer, but structurally it will be there - as long as there is a tabby ground.

(This drawdown is done on, I think, "standard" "overshot" threading, that is with "common threads" eliminated and a "balanced" threading - according to Fiberworks PCW)

Posted on Wed, 07/01/2015 - 19:40

Most Excellent Kerstin, Thank you! Yes, I can easily see them on the drawdowns . Although I'm really enjoying myself in Croatia, part of me wants to sneak home to my studio and see this in action in my own work. I never looked at it this way. 

Well I almost want to sneak home, in a few days I'll be home and can look, Croatia is beautiful:)