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Jul 13 / Dani

Weaving Immersion

So have you ever heard the thinking that if you want to learn a language, that you should live in a place where that language is all that is spoken? This past weekend I did that with weaving. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this year’s MAFA conference in Gettysburg PA. This conference is held every two years, and there is a huge variety of courses that you can choose from. I decided to take “Creative Overshot” with the lovely Bobbie Irwin:

(I wish this photo showed the top she is modeling better – it is overshot done with very fine yarn and is gorgeous in person. It was really hard to get a good picture in the dark auditorium).

Realistically, before this weekend I knew next to nothing about weaving. I knew how to warp my loom, and how to do plain weave, but that was about it. The Creative Overshot course was beginner course, so I was hoping I wouldn’t be too lost.

With Bobbie’s wonderful instruction (seriously, this woman is as calm and level headed as a monk. It was the most relaxed course I have ever taken) I actually managed to weave quite a large sampler.

This is where we started, down at the bottom. This is basic overshot – a weave that was used often in the past for coverlets. It’s not as popular now, but seems to be making a bit of a comeback. I am not going to list what every pattern is, but look at all the different things you can do with one threading on the loom! (For those of you that don’t weave, threading is how you put the long warp threads onto the loom itself. The threads that go side to side are call the weft).

I was just amazed at all the things we were able to make. And there are so many other things we could have played around with. One of the coolest things we learned how to do was name drafts. It is basically a way of coming up with a pattern that is based on a code created by your name. Which means everyone’s is different and personalized. Isn’t that neat? You will be seeing more of that in the next little while.

But really, the biggest benefit for me this weekend was just being totally immersed in weaving. Completely and utterly. All day in class, at every meal, even in the evenings when we were partying in our dorm (oh yeah, did I mention this was at a college and we were staying in the dorms? My dorm was totally the party dorm – rockin out with wine, chocolate and lots of weaving talk. I would have taken pictures, but that might have been embarrassing. 😉 )

We got a chance on Saturday night to go and check out what the other classes were doing. Look at how gorgeous some of these samplers are!

This was Tom Knisely’s huck lace class. This is something that I think would be the perfect next course to take. I wish MAFA was every year!

This was a class that Su Butler taught called “Easy Pick Up”. I don’t quite believe yet that it is easy, but my friend Lois took it and she said it really isn’t too bad.

I also saw a woman that had tartan samples there. That would be the ultimate for me, making tartans. They are just so gorgeous and classic. I think that might be one of the next things I play around with. The great thing is I learned so much this weekend that I don’t feel nearly so scared of weaving. Don’t get me wrong, I am still definitely a beginner, but at least I know more of the terminology now. I need to find myself another weekend course!!


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  1. Mom / Jul 13 2011

    Amazing patterns, makes you wonder who started them.

  2. missbedora / Jul 13 2011

    Why am I NOT surprised that your room was the party room?!

    Sounds like a great workshop. The weaving samples are amazing! It’s funny, I showed the photo you sent me of the first pattern to my patient who is a weaving EXPERT and she said, “Oh, yes, that patten was commonly used for coverlets.”

    Other than the fact that I don’t really know what a coverlet is….now I will NEVER forget that fun fact 🙂

    Put me in line for some Stewart Tartan!!!

  3. Lynne / Jul 14 2011

    well, look at what you made, miss fancy! Nice work! Glad you got to go learn under some excellent tutelage!

  4. Mom / Jul 14 2011

    Hey Miss B….not until I get some Cameron tartan….just sayin!!

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