The loom is dressed with a new warp this week, a self-drafted overshot design using four shafts. It is always fun to see how one’s sketch (or in my case, computer draft) translates into cloth.
After sampling several inches of fabric, I decided to double up on pattern weft picks to give the pattern a little more definition. While this approach elongates the pattern somewhat, I am not displeased with the results.
I’m planning table runners with this pattern and started a second variation in a lovely moss green this morning:
One would think that after all of the overshot weaving I’ve done over the years that I would remember how important it is to remain focused while treadling! I ended up cutting out about 6 inches of overshot fabric, which was no party, especially given the fine 10/2 mercerized cotton that I used for the tabby weft and the warp. I will venture to limit distractions the next time I am working at the loom. Maybe weaving to the “Wonder Woman” soundtrack wasn’t such a good idea. (It is a great soundtrack, though, especially if you need a pick-me-up).
It is fair application season for summer and fall 2018! I’ve submitted my work for consideration at Codman Estate (Lincoln, MA) and Roseland Cottage (Woodstock, CT), which are both Historic New England venues. Right now I am committed to the 2018 League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair at Mt. Sunapee and will even have the same booth assignment as last year! This takes place in August. Stay tuned!
My shop will enjoy a brief hiatus as I take a family trip to visit my parents to celebrate a very special birthday.
Hello, friends. While I’ve enjoyed weaving my “teeming with twills” kitchen towels (you can read more about those here or check out recent photos on my Instagram page), I am ready to see how my latest overshot pattern design is going to shape up on the loom. This is a four harness pattern and I hope to weave several centerpiece sized table runners with this cloth. I’m going to call this pattern “Gavotte,” in keeping with the musical theme that I started with “Minuet,” which was an 8 shaft overshot pattern.
I chose “Gavotte” as a name because this dance is usually performed to music written in common time (4/4 meter) and features steps in which the foot is raised, not “slid.” As weavers know all too well, we lift our feet all of the time while treadling! So with the four shaft design mirroring the 4/4 meter and all of the foot raising that is going to go on whilst treadling this pattern, I thought “Gavotte” seemed appropriate.
Do check in as I work on “Gavotte” after my last run of “teeming with twills” towels, which will feature a nice lipstick red as the main color and unbleached cotton as the secondary color. I’m thinking the first “Gavotte” will be ivory and black.
(In case you’re wondering, I do take inspiration from music while designing my cloth. As a classically trained cellist, I frequently return to the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello when I get the itch to sketch.)
Snow is coming tomorrow, with another 8-12″ expected, so I am planning on spending lots of time with the loom. Thanks for stopping in.
Hello, friends. I’ve finished weaving the eight shaft overshot table runners (see my earlier post about this cloth here) and am quite satisfied with the results. I made three runners, one each in black, garnet, and mineral blue. Here is the black one:
After some consideration and research, I decided to call this design “Minuet.” A traditional minuet is a slow, graceful dance in 3/4 time. I tried to capture the element of “three” in this piece, and I also attempted to suggest a sense of movement in the pattern. Here is a close-up of the “Minuet” in mineral blue that is finished with the opposite side facing up:
The garnet runner will be finished up today. I plan to submit this design for possible inclusion to the “Living With Craft” exhibition for the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair, 2018. Fingers crossed!
My newest project: kitchen towels in straight and point twills. Here is a photo of the cloth on the loom in spring green, natural, and royal blue cottons:
It has been fun to brainstorm about different color combinations for this design. I will share more details about this item as the cloth progresses!
Hello, friends. The summer and winter placemats are finished and some have headed out to my family for Christmas. I liked the “heft” of the cloth, which is important for well-behaved placemats. So, we’re moving right along in the weaving queue!
I hope to submit at least one piece to the “Living with Craft” exhibition which is held during the League of NH Craftsmen Annual Summer Fair. (See more about the Summer Fair here). I’ve been tinkering with several different self-drafted overshot designs and finally settled on one:
I designed this pattern with the help of FibreWorks weaving software. I’ve been using FibreWorks for several years now but, because I am a slow learner, am just now starting to appreciate the features of this weaving program. I like the different color palettes that are available. For reasonably complex designs such as the one above, it is lovely to see the results of a new tie-up plan with just a few clicks. If you’re interested in perusing the program, do head over to their site. The FiberWorks folks were most accommodating when it came time for me to reinstall the program on a new laptop. Check them out!
After correcting a couple of threading errors and having words with a broken floating selvedge thread, I started to weave the overshot pattern. I’m using ivory 10/2 mercerized cotton in the warp and tabby weft and 5/2 mercerized cotton in mineral blue, single thickness, for the pattern weft. I typically use a thicker cotton for pattern wefts in overshot, but I really was going for a finer, lighter cloth here. I experimented with the 3/2 cotton during sampling and I found that the thicker yarn tended to yield a less defined design. Here is a photo of the first five inches or so:
This photo doesn’t do the best job of capturing the mineral blue color very well. If the good people of New Hampshire are provided with a day that affords more light, I will reattempt the pictures. This project will be in the works for some time so hopefully there will be a break in the clouds so that I can get a decent photo. As with all overshot cloth, the weaving is slow-going but the results are usually worth the effort.
Hello, friends. I have really enjoyed watching the “orange peel” overshot design take shape on the loom this week. A four shaft design, this pattern entails a lengthy pattern repeat and threading sequence. However, I’ve found that taking the pattern in increments and limiting distractions at the loom (true confession: trying to weave this pattern while listening to Philip Glass at the same time was a pretty feeble idea) will allow you to generate a very special piece for your home or for a friend. Patience is key. (But if you’re a weaver, you already know that).
A few disclaimers: a basic understanding of how overshot works is required. For example, I did not include all of the tabby picks that are required throughout the cloth. You’ll need to remember to tie up your loom for tabby as well, as only the overshot tie up is included in my draft.
Basic set up: I used 10/2 mercerized cotton sett at 20 ends per inch (threads are doubled in a 10 dent reed). The width in the reed is 14.5″. I used floating selvedges on each side of the warp. I used the same 10/2 cotton for the ground/tabby weft and 3/2 mercerized cotton for the pattern weft. You can select different yarns but your sett may be different. I weave a 2″ tabby border for hems with the 10/2 cotton before proceeding with the pattern, but you can plan to finish your cloth in a manner that suits you (i.e. hemstitching).
Here is the Google Drive link for the image of the draft. You should be able to see the threading, tie-up, and at least one full repeat of the border and the orange peel motif:
I’m weaving overshot (yes, again) this week and I am smitten with this draft:
The center motif is taken from Josephine Estes’ esteemed publication, “Original Miniature Patterns for Hand Weaving.” I’m using 10/2 mercerized cotton for the warp and ground/tabby yarns and 3/2 mercerized cotton for the pattern weft. I sett the warp at 20 ends per inch. I have a relatively light beat in general but I anticipate some shrinkage after the cloth is removed from the loom. Here is the same pattern using a black mercerized pattern weft yarn:
I’m actually submitting this black and white piece for a winter exhibition with the League of NH Craftsmen (Concord, NH), which will open in January.
Some of my Instagram followers have asked me about the complexity of the pattern. While it is only a four shaft design, the trick of it has to do with the length of the pattern repeat in both the threading and the treadling. If you’re going to attempt this pattern, I suggest having a multitude of sticky notes at the ready! After a few repeats, though, one becomes familiar with how the pattern sculpts itself into the cloth.
If you’re interested in seeing the draft, which I plugged into my weaving software program and set up for my jack loom (Leclerc Nilus II), please include a comment below. I’ll see if I can’t figure out how to upload the draft via Google Drive and will share my take on this lovely, traditional overshot design in a future post.
And now for a word from our sponsors…
My handwoven waffleweave washing cloths make great stocking stuffers! They’re also easy to ship and won’t break in the mail. I have about ten of these nifty handwoven treats ready for immediate shipping from the studio.
Handwoven waffleweave washing cloth
Handwoven 100% unbleached cotton washing cloth. Use in the kitchen or bath! Machine stitched hems. Size: 11.5″ x 10.25″. Machine wash and dry.
I’m getting ready to send a collection of handwoven kitchen towels to the Sarah Orne Jewett House & Museum Shop in South Berwick, Maine; they host a holiday seasonal sale every year that features the work of artisans from New England. I won’t be onsite to answer questions about my items as I can at art fairs, so I put together a “FAQ” sheet about my towels to assist the museum staff and patrons. I thought I would share it here!
Will my towel shrink if I wash it in the washing machine?
Shrinkage will be minimal. After cutting the freshly woven fabric from the loom, I machine wash the fabric in hot water and use the high spin cycle option. I then machine dry the towel fabric on the cotton setting. These steps help to “set” the weave and any significant shrinkage is accounted for before hemming.
Will the colors run?
It is very unlikely. During the initial wash I include a color catcher sheet with the towel fabric. This step helps to pull out any residual dye leftover from the cotton milling/dying process.
Can I wash my towel in a machine?
Yes. Wash the towel at your preferred temperature and machine dry. Avoid chlorine bleach as this will discolor the yarns.
Do people really use these in the kitchen?
Yes. I like to weave items that you can live with on an everyday basis. The densely sett yarns create a thirsty fabric. Machine stitched ends hold up to heavy use. Some of my customers prefer to use their towels for bread basket displays, for the powder room, or even as substitute placemats or small-sized table toppers.
Speaking of towels, I started working on another batch today. Here is the first towel, just underway:
I will also be weaving this same pattern with a nice Christmas-y red cotton yarn as the main color. Be sure to check my shop for my latest additions! I also added a couple of new scarves to the shop this week:
I best get cracking on those kitchen towels! Happy November, friends.