Fear of Overshot!!

I've always looked at overshot pieces in awe, feeling like I could never do it. Use two different shuttles at the same time for tabby and pattern? With two different weights of yarn? And on my 4-shaft loom? My next project was going to be a sampler of various twill patterns, but now I've decided to face my fear of overshot instead and do an overshot sampler. I'll be using the Maltese Cross threading and treadlings from the Overshot Novelties chapter in my copy of Marguerite Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book. I'm going to get everything ready, yarn chosen, warp wound, draft enlarged and copied for use by October 3rd and then have at it!

Hopefully, there will be others with experience to help if/when I get lost in the web...


p.s.: Is this the kind of thing you were thinking of for the Spook of the Loom group?


Posted on Sun, 09/11/2011 - 17:03

Hi Kitty

Welcome to 'Spook of the Loom!

Your fear of Overshot sounds like an ideal Demon to slay! Any Dare is possible at Group Spook.


PS I have a copy of Marguerite Davison's Handweavers Pattern Book, so I can try to help you with any pesky spiders webs.


Posted on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 17:35

I'm going to get the warp wound and want to begin dressing the loom today. Here is my question for the experienced weavers. I have only a 12-dent reed for my table loom, the yarn I'm using for the warp is 28 wpi and I want a sett of 14 epi. Will it work okay to thread the reed this way: 1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-2 ? Is there another, better way that anyone recommends? Do I need to get another reed or different yarn, do you think? I'm working on a very tight budget these days so I'm trying to work with what I have on hand.

Thanks for any help!



Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 12:31

Kitty - I sure don't consider myself an expert weaver, so hope that others will offer their opinions, too, but here's mine.   Don't spend more money.  Use the thread and the reed you've got.  The reed threading pattern you outline should work fine.  IMHO, I doubt you'll notice the difference in the threading pattern after the piece is wet finished.

Keep us posted!

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 13:37

Hi Kitty

I've never woven overshot before, but I'd also say that your plan to thread the reed with an even distribution of your sett sounds fine.


Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 14:42

Kitty, What yarn are you are using (grist, fiber, ypp)?  It sounds like it might be 3/2 cotton at 1260 ypp?  Wraps per inch can be rather imprecise when determining sett.  I'd be a little concerned about your irregular sley in the reed - being so far apart, the doubled threads in a dent may take a very long time to wash out. 

Also, with a yarn this coarse as the warp, you may end up with long floats - check to be sure the float length will be suitable for the intended use. 

Overshot is fun - enjoy!

Laurie Autio

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 19:41

Laurie, the yarn I'm using is linen, not finespun but rather kind of rough to the touch. It's an old tube and there isn't any information on it. I think I will go ahead with what I've got. Since it's a sampler, I'll see how it goes and learn from it. I'll be watching for the things you mentioned. Thank you very much for your input!

And thanks to Beth and Peg!


Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 20:10

Hi Kitty-I do a lot of overshot and a couple thoughts on your sett worries. Since overshot at 14 e.p.i would have 14 shots of tabby AND 14 shots of pattern weft, I would advise to go for 12 e.p.i., especially since linen is very inelastic and even though it wraps out to 14 e.p.i you may have a heck of a time beating that many shots per inch. You don't mention what your pattern weft is. It should be approximately twice the size of your tabby weft/warp so that the floats cover the underlying balanced weave. I suggest a soft yarn for the pattern weft so it's easy to beat in with the linen. Have fun!

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 20:50

Sounds like a tow linen, which was quite common.  If you have a McMorran balance (cheap and should be in every weaver's toolbox), you can measure the yards per pound easily. 

Overshot is somewhat forgiving. I agree with Deb - try setting this yarn at 12 epi, then adjust to square by changing the wefts.  If it won't pack in enough, use a finer tabby weft (right down to sewing thread if you have to).  If it packs too much, try a heavier pattern weft.  A soft wool, cotton or rayon floss, or multiple strands of a finer yarn (such as 6 strands of 40/2 linen) should work well as pattern.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 22:48

I'll use the 12 epi sett. I haven't chosen my weft yet. I'll keep in mind the idea of a soft weft twice the size of the warp when I go shopping. Also, great information about beating and the inelasticity of linen. It's such a long time since I did much weaving. I don't really have a feel for what to expect from the various materials. I was planning to use the linen for the tabby but if it doesn't beat down well, I'll go to something finer.

There's a lot to think about with overshot. That's why I've been hesitant. Thanks for the great ideas and support! It's greatly appreciated!


Posted on Wed, 09/28/2011 - 22:45

I rooted through my stash of crochet yarn and found a few different soft natural fiber yarns to use in my sampler so I won't need to go shopping after all. :)

Posted on Sat, 10/08/2011 - 03:56

I've started weaving the second section of the sampler and put a picture of the two together for comparison.

It's a fun pattern!



Posted on Sat, 10/08/2011 - 13:36

This is so interesting and educational to follow. I'm still new at the 4-shaft, so it might be a while for me to try, but all the great suggestions give me hope!

Posted on Tue, 10/18/2011 - 13:46

Okay. I've received my 8/2 Cotton/linen which I think will be good for the "base." Now to choose and interesting pattern yarn. Hmmmm.

Posted on Wed, 10/19/2011 - 23:06

I had run out of yarn that I wanted to use for weft so I cut out a coupon and hied over to JoAnn's. I found a pretty merino wool blended with micro-denier acryllic (see below) that has a nice sheen. The color is called "claret" and so is a nice, deep red. I've finished all the samples and so the last section of warp I'm going to weave a small table runner combining two of the patterns.

I can't wait to see pictures of your project, Chris!

I never heard of micro-denier acryllic so I looked it up:

Micro-Denier Acrylic: Acrylic yarn
made up of filament fibers measuring in diameter less than 1 denier per
filament. The small denier of the filament allows the yarn to have an
extremely soft hand.

Posted on Thu, 10/20/2011 - 05:43

Micro-Denier Acrylic sounds nice; I shall have to see if it is available in the UK...can't wait to see what your final project looks like!