Overshot on Plaid

Over the last year or so, I have been working through a series of scarves in Overshot and exploring the variations of this weave structure.  In today’s scarves, I have been influenced by the lessons of Jane Stafford and her Online Guild, which introduced me to the concept of using silk weft on a cotton ground, and the concept of overlay.  Another strong influence was Robyn Spady’s workshop “Extreme Warp Makeover” where we explored using many variations of weft and treadling on a classic weave structure.  Both great teachers.

For these two scarves, woven on an overshot treadling, I considered the traditional Overshot structure where a coloured pattern weft is woven over a solid neutral plain weave ground.

For this study, I thought, what would happen if I start with a plaid as my ground cloth.  This one has a blue square in each corner, intersected with a yellow stripe, and two red squares in the centre, bordered by black stripes.  So, red, yellow, blue and black are the colours in play.  The warp is 2/8 cotton, sett at 18 ends per inch.

For tabby weft I chose Bambu 12 in colours similar to the warp.  Bambu 12 is soft and drapey, very light in weight, and about half the gist of the cotton warp.

For pattern weft, I chose 2/20 silk, which is about the same size as the 2/8 cotton, but stands out as the pattern weft because of the way it picks up and reflects the light.  The pattern design is called Orange Peel.

For the first scarf I chose Black Magic, 2/20 Tussah Silk, and dark green Sitka Spruce, 2/20 Bombyx Silk as the pattern colours.  Some of the pattern motifs are woven in just one colour, others in a combination of both.  I wove the pattern “tromp-as-writ”, star-fashion, with the tabby weft following the warp colour order.  Understated elegance.  In the first photo you can clearly see the blue corner squares, the centre red square and the yellow and black accent colours creating the plaid.

For the second scarf, Robyn Spady’s influence came out to play.  I wove the overshot pattern in a “what if, as if”, manner.  What if I switched colours as I went along?  What if I treadled the pattern as if it were summer and winter, or as if it were twill or monk’s belt, as if it were crackle, as if it had extensions, was treadled in rose fashion, or treadled in inverted order?   Skip the plaid squares, alternate sections of blue tabby and sections of red tabby.  Then add in some transitional stripes to separate the motifs.  Woven from bobbins of bright, colourful 2/20 silks leftover from other projects it became a joyful, jubilant song.

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Oranges and Lemons

Here is another project I finished this spring.  Two scarves woven on a hand painted warp in orange and yellow.  Where the two colours overlapped, a beautiful coral emerged.  The warp was painted in a workshop with the lovely Liz Moncrief.

This warp reminded me of a big bowl of oranges and lemons.

As I was weaving this the old nursery rhyme / skipping rope song rang through my head.  It refers to the bells of several churches ringing out:

Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St. Clements

You owe me five farthings said the bells of St. Martins

When will you pay me said the bells of Old Bailey

When I grow rich said the bells of Shoreditch

And so on . . .


As a child, I remember jumping rope to this song, the beat of the skipping rope keeping rhythm.  As children we played with little regard for the history we were learning with our games, and this song has a dark second verse, which if you are interested in, you can look up.

Nevertheless, weaving to me is music, and this is the rhythm of these pieces.

When I made the warp, I added some plain Coral Flame silk to the painted silk warp, and wove the first scarf with the same coral as weft.  Woven in an eight-shaft turned twill.  It shines like a summer day.

Like the song’s second verse, the second scarf is darker.  I used a dark red, Favourite Wine, and punctuated that with Black Magic.  I love how different this scarf looks from the first one.  All materials for warp and weft are 2/20 silk available from Jane Stafford Textiles.


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Point Twill Towels and Runner

Fresh kitchen towels, in earthy, spicy colours.  Pasta sauce simmering on the back of the stove.  Children’s laughter drifting down the stairs.  My ever-present companion Luci.  A good day to be safe at home.

Four towels, freshly finished, in spice-coloured stripes on a simple, point twill, dark brown background.  The stripes move up to a point and down again in increasing widths.  One towel repeats the warp stripes to form a plaid.  The other three towel feature one weft colour throughout, with dark brown hem emphasis.  The colours are much brighter than the pictures shown. – gold, cherry red, tumeric and brown.


.  And finally, a table runner that picks up all the colours, woven in a combination of 9 shots of Rosepath followed by three shots of plain weave.  The middle plain weave shot has four threads held together to add weight and texture.

This is Luci, part lab, part duck tolling retriever, great shedder of hair.

Wishing you and yours a safe and cozy home as well.

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Companion Scarves

I wove these two companion scarves back in February, and I am finally posting the pictures now.  They are both woven of Zephyr 50% Merino wool, 50% silk, and finish with a love soft hand and lustre.

The first, for my Daughter-in-Law-to-be, Fadia, is a mixed twill scarf, called Hydrangea Bouquet, taken from the pages of Next Steps in Weaving.


The second, a primary plaid, using the same colours that are in Fadia’s scarf.  This one is woven in straight twill for my son Mike.

Easy, gentle, weaving, made with love and joy for special people.



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Chocolate Mint Towels

My colour choices to supplement my stash this year are browns, greens, spicy reds, oranges, golds and yellows.  I ordered my cotton and silk stash boosters in January, before things slowed down, and I will be working from these as well as pre-existing stash as I move through my weaving projects this year.

My colour choices have meaning to me, and this is how I see it:

Deep, Dark, Rich Browns are positive, earthy, rich, delicious, robust and appetizing, and symbolize stability and security.

Greens are positive, calm, quiet, soothing, natural, lightweight and symbolize healing, refreshment, and new beginnings.

Reds and Oranges bring passion, excitement, energy, creativity and adventure.

Yellows and golds bring sunshine, optimism, happiness and hope.

These colours will be visible in my new work, and some old colour favourites will find their way in as well as I work through my stash.

This set of towels I am calling Chocolate Mint.  Our local chocolatier, “Purdy’s” sells delicious chocolate layer mints, which inspired these towels.  Made with 2/8 cotton, in dark brown and seaton green.

Threaded in straight draw twill, I made a sample, 4 towels and a long shawl on a six-yard warp.

The four towels incorporated some of the teaching from Jane Stafford’s Season 4, Episode 1, working with a straight draw twill.  Towel one, woven straight draw throughout, following the colour order of the warp.


Towel 2, graphically, overall stripes.

On the third towel, I played with variations of the twill, reversing the twill diagonal, and adding some colour and weave effects.


And the fourth towel was woven as basket weave.

The last piece on this warp became a beautiful, drapey shawl, with the use of 2/20 silk in the weft.  I used three shades of green, as well as chocolate brown and added a touch of bright pink dragon fruit to highlight.  It brings me joy.

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Pretty in Red and White

Some pretty little ornaments in double weave pick up.

Some are whimsical and folksy.

Some are traditional graphic star shapes.

Graphed designs are everywhere.  You can look for fair isle and Nordic knitting graphs, or two-colour cross stitch.  The pieces are white on red, and reverse to red on white.  Add twisted fringe and hangers in the top hems.


Just in time for Christmas.

Wishing all a Happy Holiday Season.

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Denting Part 3

Following up on my experimentation of denting in two layers, I knew that I wanted a cloth that was two layers, with denting on both layers, in a yarn that would not be too slippery, and using some interweaving of the layers.

My yarn of choice this time was Zephyr (50% fine merino wool, 50% silk) from Jagger Yarn.  I chose two colours of green, Bottle Green and Basil for one layer, and two colours of blue, Indigo and Royal for the second layer.

I measured a 6-yard warp, sett at 20 ends per inch (2 ends per dent), with 12 ends blue followed by 12 ends green, for a total of 192 ends, 96 ends per layer, 9.6 inches wide in the reed.

I threaded the blue threads on shafts 1 and 2 and the green threads on shafts 3 and 4.

For the first scarf, I sleyed the threads, 2 ends per dent in a 10-dent reed, with no gaps.

For the first scarf, I wove 12 shots of indigo, by alternately lifting shaft 1 and then shaft 2.  This meant that the blue layer was “on top”, and created plain weave squares where the indigo crossed the blue warps, and weft floats across the green warp threads.  On the bottom layer, warp floats occurred behind the weft floats.

Then I wove 12 shots of bottle green by alternately lifting shaft 3 then shaft 4.  This meant that the green layer was now “on top”, and created plain weave squares where the bottle green weft crossed the green warps, and weft floats across the blue warp threads.  When removed from the loom and wet finished, the woven squares and floats squished up, creating a lovely, bouncy and light fabric with the appearance of weft stripes on “top” and warp stripes on the “bottom”.


I cut off the first scarf from the loom and really opened up the sleying.  I sleyed 12 ends of blue, with 2 ends per dent for 6 dents, left 6 dents empty, sleyed 12 ends of green, 2 ends per dent for 6 dents and left 6 dents empty.  This time, I wove with 12 shots of Royal Blue on 1 and 2,  to square blue on blue, left a half inch gap, 12 sots of Basil on 3 and 4, left a half inch gap.  This gave woven squares, weft floats and warp floats as in the first scarf, but it also gave holes.  I wet finished the second scarf with a little more agitation to full the wool, and this scarf finished very light and airy.

Scarf 1 is 8.5″ wide x 76″ long finished, and Scarf 2 is 14.7″ wide by 68″ long, finished.

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Crammed and Spaced and Crammed and Spaced Again

First in crisp 2/40 linen. The draft is from JST Online Guild Season 3, Episode 2.  Nice drape and effect.


And then again with spaced naturally-coloured, organic cotton and crammed Monte Cristo plush cotton boucle.  Soft and light as a feather.


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The Value of Sampling

I love the drape and the cool, silky smoothness of using Bambu 12 in weaving.  Bambu 12 is a rayon made from bamboo, and is widely available.

After weaving the project sample in JST Online Guild, Season 3, Episode 1, Denting, I wanted to push the boundaries further by experimenting with Denting in a Double weave format.  I wanted the holes created by the open denting on one layer to expose the plain weave squares of the second layer.

I set out a colour order using alternating darker colours of Ginger, Acorn and Fig, with lighter colours Sweet Corn, Willow and Maize.  I wound the warp as shown: 24 ends per inch, 24 picks per inch.

And threaded the loom putting the darker colours on shafts 1 and 2 and the lighter colours on shafts 3 and 4.  I wove each colour to square, first a dark square on the bottom, then a light square on the top, twisting the colours at the selvedge.

This seemed to give me the effect I wanted, a dented hole in the top layer appearing over a woven square in the bottom layer.  I finished the sample, took it off the loom and washed it, and got – what I wasn’t happy with – a sleazy, loose mess, with the two layers barely held at the selvedges.  It just looked like a poorly sett and woven piece of fabric with no structure. I was not happy with how the two sets of colours played with each other.

I continued to sample and try different “ways of weaving”.  I tried alternating one shot dark on the bottom layer followed by one shot of light on the top layer to square.  This gave the fabric the structure it needed, but I couldn’t see the colour of the layer underneath.

In the end, I love the final scarf I made, with areas of two-layer weave punctuated with stripes of plain weave across all four shafts, finished with a beautiful plain weave check using all the colours of the warp.


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What a Difference a Weft Makes

How much fun it is to work with a pattern, keeping everything the same except for changes in the weft colour.  I have been working in Overshot weave for a few months, and enjoying the process of changing weft colours as well as treadling blocks in different orders to produce different looking cloth.

I love how these towels can look so different with a simple change in colour.  The warp is 2/8 cotton in green, yellow, blue, red, and magenta, with navy blue used for the dividers.  The pattern weft is also 2/8 cotton, and the tabby is 2/16 cotton in the same colours as the warp.  The Overshot pattern is Johann D-‘s Design No. 2 from Marguerite Porter Davison’s “A Handweaver’s Pattern Book” pg. 138.  I made some changes to the pattern by reducing the number of threads in the floats to accommodate my warp sett of 18 ends per inch.

As I wove the first towels, I kept the white pattern yarn consistent throughout, while changing the tabby colour to create a colour gamp grid moving across and along the towel.  I used the navy tabby to frame each colour square of the grid.  The first towel was all white 2/8 cotton for the pattern yarn, and 2/16 in green, yellow, blue, red and magenta for the tabby weft, and navy for framing in both warp and weft.  Each square changed slightly as the tabby weft colour changed and played against the warp colours.


The second towel was all black 2/8 cotton pattern yarn, and the coloured 2/16 tabby weft yarn.


For the third towel, I changed the pattern weft colour for each Overshot row, and used a different colour for the tabby.  Some rows I wove in plain weave.  Some rows I inlaid only a portion of the Overshot, leaving the remainder of the row in plain weave.


One warp, three looks, so much fun!  More overshot patterns are going on my loom very soon.

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