Part 2: Equipment. E

Part 2: Equipment. E

1. Stick Shuttle:

Stick shuttles can vary in size from 6″ to 48″and can be used with all rigid heddle and table/floor looms.  When weaving with rags they can be wound on laying flat in the middle of the shuttle. They can also be loaded on one side as a figure eight starting with a slip knot over one end. (

The figure-8 method of winding weft on to a stick shuttle allows you to put more yarn on without so much build-up that it is hard to slide it through the shed. (van der Hoogt. The Weavers Companion. p. 18.)

The stick shuttle used should be close in length to the width of the warp and unwind about the right amount of yarn with each pass of the shuttle. The stick shuttle can be loaded by hand and does not require extra equipment such as winders. (

The simplest and most versatile type of weaving shuttle made from varying lengths of flat, smooth (soft/hard) wood  with notches at each end to hold the weft yarn. May be used for widespread weaving by filling the yarn around the length of the shuttle and passing it from one side of the warp to the other through a shallow in depth shed. The type and amount of yarn used may create drag and slow the weaving process down, as it is passed through a wide shed. At each side, before insertion of the stick in the shed, the weaver must unwind enough yarn to make a particular pick. (Fannin. Handloom Weaving Technology. p. 121-122)

2. Ski Shuttle: 

Shuttles can have upturned ends and are designed to hold bulky yarn or fabric that is used for weaving rugs. The flat bottom allows the shuttle to skim the surface of the bottom shed of the warp. This style of shuttle is most often used when weaving rags or weft-faced fabric where the set is more open. Th yarn/fabric can be wound horizontally around and on to a central, vertical arm/s embedded into the base of the ski shuttle and is delivered from the side of the shuttle. These shuttles tend to come in long lengths which can lead to winding more yarn or fabric than needed. (

Ski shuttles are used for the heaviest of wefts and can hold  most yarns due to how the yarn is wound around the base. (van der Hoogt. The Weavers Companion. p. 19.)

3. Boat Shuttle:

Boat shuttles get their name from their characteristic shape (oblong with rounded points, upturned at either end and a cavity in the middle) and can be thrown through an in-depth shed from one side to the other rolling along a ‘shuttle race’ or the bottom set of warp threads. When being used the closer density of the warp sett supports the boat and keeps it from slipping through the bottom layer of the shed and crashing. They make the passing of the wider weft faster and smoother than a stick shuttle. Bobbins require a winder for loading the weft so that a group of pre-wound bobbins ensure that the shuttles can be swopped easily when doing a lot of colorwork. Within the boat is a spindle which holds the bobbin for side-delivery of the weft thread. A bobbin is a cylindrical small spool where the weft is wound for weaving. Boat shuttles work well with fine threads, fine linens or lace weight wools and are available in a variety of heights, lengths, weights and with open and closed bottoms. (

Boat Shuttle bobbins can be wound either mechanically or electrically. A spindle is inserted into the bobbin and attached to the winder which can be either hand or motor driven. Insert and secure the yarn inside the end of the bobbin before starting up the winder. Commence winding from one end and then back to the starting end so the yarn winds on evenly. Build up the thread on each end of the bobbin and then fill in the center. Avoid overloading the bobbin which can cause the yarn to jam/jerk creating tension problems.  (

The regular boat shuttle has a wooden or plastic bobbin that rotates on a center rod. When the shuttle is thrown, the bobbin unwinds from the bobbin through the slot on the side of the shuttle. When winding the weft on to the shuttle keep the yarn moving back and forth as you fill the bobbin.  Be careful to not fill the bobbin so full that it rubs against the inside of the shuttle. Most shuttles are designed so the bobbin feeds more smoothly if the yarn winds from underneath. (van der Hoogt. The Weavers Companion. p. 18, 19.)

There are a great many variations of the Boat Shuttles and their construction. Choose a shuttle close to fit the size of the hand as it will be easier to throw while the larger one will be more cumbersome. If the shed is small a slim shuttle can be better than a wider shuttle. A double bobbin boat will allow two threads to be wound onto the bobbins exactly the same and at the same time. (Fannin. P. The Weavers Companion. 123-126)

4. End-feed shuttle:

The end-delivery shuttle provides for adjustment of filling tension. The end-delivery filling-yarn package consists of a core called a bobbin or quill. The quill can be tapered and have little indentations that are very close together at the fat end, getting further apart as you go down to the skinny end. The yarn is wound so that it delivers from over one end of the quill and flows parallel to the axis of the package. Starting at the fat end you wind backwards and forwards over the first fine indentations. As you move down the quill you wind in short small sections filling one or two of the indentations. (Fannin. A. The Weavers Companion. p.126-131)

The end-delivery shuttle uses a pirn that remains stationary, instead of a free-spinning bobbin. The weft yarn unwinds off the pirns tip when the shuttle is in motion and stops unwinding when the shuttle stops. The yarn comes off the pirn and goes through a set of tension pads and comes out of the shuttle at a constant tension. This even delivery of weft causes less draw-in, which in turn makes better selvedges. (

End-delivery or end feed shuttles use a tapered pirn and  have a tensioning mechanism. They keep an even tension on the yarn while releasing and prevents too much yarn from spilling off the pin. Selvedges are neater and integrate with the warp benefiting from the tension mechanism when changing from one pick to the next. They are preferred by weavers with small hands who desire a smaller light weight end-feed shuttle for narrow warps, table and floor looms with small sheds. (

Wefts that are flat strips such as ribbon or metallic do not work in end-delivery shuttles because the yarn twists as it comes off the pirn. (

5. Butterfly (Weft bundle):

Yarn that is wound into a small bundle/s, usually to be used as discontinuous weft, such as for tapestry or for weft inlay. Butterfly (weft bundles) may be used to weave transparency, a weft inlay technique. Can be manipulated up and down between warp threads more easily and satisfactorily than from off the bulkier shuttles. (as mentioned in 1 -4. above) (

The yarn is wound in a figure eight between the thumb and pinky finger to make small compact butterflies and secured with a slip knot. Each thread is wound above and side by side with the previous thread. If wound on top of and across the previous threads knots can be a problem. When working the bundle the commencing end of the thread unwinds from within the bundle and out from under the slip knot. The slip knot is commenced by holding the end thread between two fingers of the left hand and inserting a finger of the right hand under and through the bundle, pulling the tail thread back through and out the bottom of the bundle. Go back through the loop making a slip knot by pulling on the bottom thread so that it forms around the top thread securely. (