Continuing with overshot, I wove two table runners (or maybe more accurately, one loooooong runner, and one table square/topper) in the Whig Rose design from A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison.
I used Venne organic 2/16 cotton in cream for the warp and tabby weft. 2/8 organic cotton in Brick Red was used for the pattern weft in the red runner, and a 2/8 mercerized cotton that shall remain nameless was used for the green one. The organic cotton is a high quality cotton with great twist and is wonderful to weave with.
At 54.5″ long, the red runner would suit a long harvest table (which must of been what I was thinking, hence its long length), it would look great as the centrepiece of a holiday table setting. The green one is 20.5″ long and would make a great table square for the centre of a smaller table.
Back when I was weaving the overshot runner (see here), I met a much more experienced weaver and I told her my tale of woe on this project. We discussed a few possibilities and then she asked what yarn was I using for my warp, “Oh” she said, “you never use their mercerized cottons for warp, they don’t have enough twist”. Ironically, that was what I thought when this yarn arrived, but this company sells weaving yarns, and still being a new”ish” weaver, I could be wrong. I had e-mailed them about my problems, they refused to acknowledge that it could be their yarn. Hence the project was cut from the loom.
The problem with not really knowing what the source of the problem is, is that you don’t know what the source of the problem is (yarn, loom, weaver). I went through my stash and discovered some 2/16 non-mercerized cotton, mostly likely from the same company as the mercerized. The first thing I noticed was that there was definitely more twist in this yarn. I didn’t use the organic 2/16 cotton I just brought in because I was still unsure whether it was the yarn or my weaving technique that had caused the earlier problems.
I started winding the warp, things were going well, and then nearly at the halfway point, a knot. About 3 yards later, another knot. In total, I encountered 5 knots while winding this short warp, I was not impressed. I soldiered on and got the warp on the loom, threaded the heddles, sleyed the reed and began to weave. And weave. And weave. Miraculously, no broken threads, I felt vindicated.
This runner was fun and quick to weave and I will definitely do it again. I love the fineness of the 2/16 (pattern weft is in 2/8 cotton), the runner has an almost heirloom feel to it.
I decided to revisit the overshot runner project with the 2/16 mercerized cotton warp. But instead of trying to continue on the existing warp, I decided to make a new warp and put it on another loom. I made a shorter warp than before, only about 3 yards, using a warping board. Since this loom has a plain beam, the warp was beamed in the usual manner. I also replaced all of the existing heddles with brand new inserted eye heddles. I wanted to see if these changes would provide me with a more pleasurable weaving experience (i.e. no broken threads).
Things seemed to progress okay, but then 3″ into the pattern, the first thread broke. After another inch, one more, and after another inch, well you get the idea. I have now woven 20″ and have repaired 11 broken threads. I am not getting any joy out of this project. I love the pattern, I love weaving overshot, I love the colour combination, I hate this yarn. I am not thrilled with the 2/8 mercerized cotton I am using for the weft either. It seems to be loosely plied and twists on itself and around the tabby yarn as well.
So here is a shot of it before I cut it off the loom. I have to find a use for the remaining 2/16 (fire starter?), and when I find a better quality yarn, I will try this project again.
I have finally reached the end of the first runner for this warp, or maybe the end of the last, depending on how I feel.
This has been the warp from hell for me. The spools themselves had knots, but the biggest annoyance has been warp threads breaking. I have searched on-line, started a discussion on Ravelry, and have spoken with more experienced weavers to determine the possible cause (me, loom, thread), but it is hard to come up with a clear answer.
The breakages have occurred after I have advanced the warp and tensioned it. Could there be too much tension on the warp? Well maybe, but after comparing mine to others, my tension is not any tighter (and probably a bit looser) than those I compared it to.
One thought I had was maybe the metal heddles were too rough for the 2/16 mercerized cotton I am using. However, that was met with a bit of skepticism from my weaving group, mercerized cotton is supposed to be stronger than unmercerized cotton (I was going to replace the metal heddles with Texsolv, but I will hold off on that for now). This is the first time I have used anything as fine as 2/16, but should that really make a difference other than it takes longer to weave 36″ in 2/16 versus 2/8?
The majority of the broken threads are in one area. This warp consists of one entire spool of 2/16 mercerized cotton and part of a second. Selvedge threads were added after the warp was put on and came from the second spool, all of my repair threads have come from the second spool, and now one of those repair threads has broken. What does this all mean? Could it be a bad spool of cotton? Maybe.
Other than the broken threads, I have enjoyed weaving with the 2/16 mercerized cotton. I love the sheen that the cotton has and the heirloom look it gives the runner. If anyone has any other ideas as to what my problem might be, I would love to hear from you.
After a couple of hiccups (threading error), I have finally started weaving the runner.
I have chosen a natural colour for the warp and tabby weft, and a navy for the pattern weft. I thought this strong colour contrast would help in seeing the pattern develop, show any errors more quickly, and give a more traditional look. I thought the sheen of a mercerized cotton would look nice.
So far, I think it is weaving up nicely.
Now that I am familiar with the technique of overshot, I have decided to weave some more runners on my home loom.
I found a draft that I like from the Leclerc Looms website.
(photo from Leclerc website)
- 2/16 cotton for warp and tabby weft
- 2/8 cotton for pattern weft
- 30 epi
- 16″ wide in the reed
- 480 ends
I am using a sectional warp beam, something I’m not that familiar with. Since I am only doing a small warp (6 yards), I needed to figure out how to get my warp on. I decided to wind 16 warp chains, 30 ends each.
And, thinking I was being clever, wound them all on at the same time. Note to self: do not do that again. I did however, use a warping valet/trapeze to maintain a nice tight tension while winding on, and I will definitely do that again. The following picture shows the warp chains coming from the back of the loom, under the front beam and up to the valet (aka broom handle in the floor joists). After this picture was taken I removed the front beam because it wanted to pop off.
The warp chains were weighted with bottles of water:
Three warp threads broke while I wound on the warp that will have to fixed, not too bad I think.
This is how the warp looks from the back of the loom:
and tied onto the front apron rod:
Now to start weaving!
A weaving technique that I have wanted to learn since I began my weaving adventure is overshot. Overshot is most often associated with beautiful woven coverlets of the 18th and 19th centuries, consisting of a white or natural background and a complex looking pattern, usually woven in a blue or red wool.
This past fall, I finally had the opportunity to try my hand at this technique at MERA, as a group of us wanted to learn/explore this structure more. We settled on the project we wanted to do (in this case a runner), warped a loom, then we each had our turn weaving. Even though we all did the same runner, it was so much fun to see how each differed, based on the yarns used, and share what we learned.
The warp was a mystery yarn in the stash, probably cotton, in a 2/8 weight. My weft yarn is 2/8 cotton, doubled. Others used a boucle type yarn, or doubled 2/8 with more than one colour.
I absolutely love this technique, and can’t wait to set-up my home loom for more overshot projects.
Runner in progress on loom:
Underside of runner, hand-stitched hem: