The first week of May, I headed to Overshot Class at Red Stone Glen near York, Pennsylvania. Tom and I had only been in Ohio for two weeks, but I had been wanting to take this class for a while so we worked it into our schedule. We took the RV and stayed at Gifford Pinchot State Park (Friday’s post).
I have taken two previous classes at Red Stone Glen and wrote about both of them. You can read about Beginning Weaving here and Double Weave here. I love taking classes there because the classes are small – only six students – and Tom Knisely is a very laid-back teacher. There are no dumb questions or stupid mistakes. Every mistake is a learning opportunity, so Tom welcomes the mistakes that people make.
Overshot was a new weaving technique for me, although it is a very old weaving style. Overshot is weaving a ground cloth of thinner yarn at the same time as you weave a pattern on the cloth with thicker yarn. The ground cloth is plain weave (over, under, over, under) and the pattern can be as complicated as you want to make it. We chose our colors ahead of time and the looms were already warped (strung) when we got there. It was nice to be able to start weaving right away, especially since there were 600 strings in each warp.
I chose the Berry Patch colors for my overshot: purple, wine, dark red, and deep blue. These were the warp colors. I used purple as the weft color for my ground cloth and chose black for my pattern color. The looms were all warped for a sampler of patterns – called a gamp – so we could experience how different patterns worked. We worked with two shuttles. I would send across the purple shuttle using the pedals for the plain weave, then send across the black shuttle for the pattern. Then purple, then black, until I worked all through the pattern. Then I moved on to the next pattern. I used five different patterns: Cat Track, Mary Ann Ostrander, Maltese Cross, Blooming Leaf, and Wheel of Fortune.
At first it was hard to keep track of the two shuttles and six pedals. There were several times I noticed mistakes and went back to fix them. I also made plenty of mistakes that I didn’t notice until I got done – I won’t be going back to fix those! At the end of the first day, my brain was tired! The second day, however, following the pattern became easier. I wasn’t making as many mistakes and I could tell where I was in the pattern better.
Martin Myer, a fellow member of the class, was the first one done with his overshot shawl. He used the same color combination I did but he used a gold yarn for his pattern instead of black. It was amazing how much that changed the look. Also, he made a shawl and I made a table runner. The shawl was a thinner, better draping weave. My table runner was a little stiffer and heavier. Martin is 14 and started weaving when he was 7. He talked his parents into letting him attend an online AP high school so he could spend more time weaving. Martin intends to graduate from high school next year and make a living at weaving. He already has a store online: Meyer-weaving.square.site. He is a weaving whiz kid!
I finished my table runner on Thursday around lunchtime, which meant I still had a day to do something else. Tom Knisely encouraged me to choose something else to weave and I already had an idea. I wanted to learn to make overshot mug rugs with fringe around all four edges. Fortunately mug rugs are relatively small and don’t require a big warp. By the end of Thursday I had the warp on which meant I could spend all day Friday weaving.
Mug rugs are cloth coasters (very absorbent) and they are fun and easy to weave. Usually they have fringe on just the two ends, not the two sides. In order to do the fringe on the sides, I had to add a selvedge string about three inches on either side from the weaving. Then the weft got wound around these selvedge strings.
I used the Blooming Leaf pattern with cotton as my ground and wool as my pattern. I just played around with some different colors and, by the end of Friday, I had six mug rugs woven. When I was done weaving I trimmed the fringe and had fringe on all four sides. Then I hand washed them and admired how wonderful they looked. I have a feeling I will be making more of these fun and fast weaves in the future!
I enjoyed my overshot class very much. It was wonderful to be under the tutelage of Tom Knisely again. I was able to ask him all the weaving questions I’ve saved up over the last year. And I met some great classmates who inspired me by their weaving.