Weather  MDC

History of the Overhand Weave

The history of the overhand knot weaving technique is a bit sketchy. Some give credit for the idea to Hank Roberts. Hank has always given his wife credit for coming up with the process, but there is more to the story.

On the same day that Hank claims his wife came up with the idea, he also claimed to have received in the mail a package with flies tied with the same technique. Along with the patterns was a letter asking Hank if he wanted to buy the patent rights to the process. Hank bought the rights some time around 1953. As far as can be ascertained, Dan Vercellino and Al Ross sent the package and sold the patent rights to Hank Roberts. Dan Vercellino lived in Idaho and was tying flies with the overhand knot weave. He and friend Al Ross obtained a patent for the process around 1947, and formed a company called Century Products.

Based on this information, it can be assumed that the weaving technique Hank's wife came up with is the same one that Dan Vercellino came up with. Both are given credit for this technique.

Torill Kolbu of Norway performs the same weaving methods by using crochet hooks. Some tiers may find the use of hooks helpful, but if you can learn the hand movements, hooks are not needed.

Other types of weaves are:

Information was taken from the Winter 2002 issue of Fishing & Tying Journal. The article was written by Robert Williamson.

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Overhand Knot Weave


  1. Tie in the material for the body. This can be yarn, embroidery yarn, Larva Lace or any other material suitable for weaving a body. Larva Lace is easier to work with when learning this technique: it is smooth and doesn't fray like yarn-type materials. Choose a dark-colored material for the back and a light-colored material for the belly. Tie the material in on each side of the hook shank. Bind the material down toward the bend of the hook. For these instructions tie the dark material on the far side of the hook shank and the light material on the side of the hook shank closest to you.
  2. Turn the vise toward you and lower it a little. You want to be able to look down on the top of the hook shank so you can watch the weave as it progresses.
  3. Begin the weave by taking the light-colored material with your left hand and passing it under the shank forming a loop in the material. This is held in place with the middle finger of the left hand, leaving the thumb and index finger of the left hand free.
  4. Take the dark-colored material with the right hand and pass it over the hook shank and down through the loop formed by the light-colored material. This will form a loop in the dark-colored material.
  5. Reach through the loop of dark-colored material with the thumb and index finger of the right hand and grab the light-colored material; at the same time grab the dark-colored material with the left-hand thumb and index finger. Simultaneously pull the materials away from the hook shank in opposite directions to form a knot around the hook shank. Make sure the knot is nice and snug.
  6. Continue this process until you reach the desired body length. The dark- and light-colored materials will change sides of the hook with each new knot. Be sure to take the light-colored material under the shank and the dard-colored material over the shank to get the desired look.
  7. When you get the desired body length, pull both colors forward and bind them down. Clip off the excess material. You have a woven body.

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Example Pattern - Caddis Pupa


Hook:Nymph Hook appropriate for insect imitated.
Thread:8/0 Black
Weight:Sized from hook size
Underbody:unwaxed dental floss
Body:Embroidery thread DMC 734 (light olive) and DMC 730 (dark olive). Number of strands used should be appropriate for hook size
Wing Case:Turkey tail feather slip colored with olive-green permanent marker.
Thorax:Olive Hare's Mask with guard hair

Tying Instructions

Weave Fly
  1. Lay a smooth thread base and starting about 1/2 way between the barb and the hook point add 10 wraps of .020 lead
  2. Tie in unwaxed dental floss and make underbody.
  3. Superglue body and remove excess with a Q-tip
  4. Flatten body with smooth jawed hemostats or pliers
  5. Cut approx. 8 inches of embroidery thread (Size 14 use 3 strands) adjust # of strands for hook size. Tie in light color on the far side and the dark color on the near side. Tie off and whip finish. Remove tying thread.
  6. Point the hook towards yourself.
  7. Use an overhand knot weave with the dark always on top. 12 times or approx. 2/3 to 3/4 hook length.
  8. Re-attach tyingthread and tie off embroidery thread and remove excess.
  9. Attach wing case.
  10. Apply dubbing.
  11. Tie in wing case and trim excess. Make a neat head with tying thread. Whip finish and add head cement. Pick out dubbing.

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