The shuttle is traditionally defined as a tool or device used in weaving to carry the weft back and forth through the warp in weaving. There are many types of shuttles and choosing the right one for the right loom and fiber will increase your weaving efficiency and make your weaving experience more pleasurable.
The stick shuttle is the simplest and most versatile of all shuttles. They are inexpensive and easy to use without requiring special winding equipment.
Stick shuttles are often used with the rigid heddle loom, yet they are useful for any weaver to have on hand. They are great for general weaving, winding a short warp and sampling a few picks of a color, weaving a supplementary weft or finger controlled weave such as Danish Medallions. It is best to use a stick shuttle close in length to the width of your warp, this will aid in the passing of the shuttle and unwinding of the yarn.
Double Bobbin Shuttle
Most weavers who weave on a shaft loom use a boat shuttle. They make the passing of the weft faster and smoother than a stick shuttle. There are several things to consider when choosing your shuttles. The size of your hand is one. A smaller shuttle will fit comfortably and be easy to throw while the larger one may be more cumbersome. Another consideration is the shed in your loom. If you have a small shed you will want a slim shuttle compared to a wider shuttle. Whether the shuttle has an open or closed bottom is a matter of preference.
Double Bobbin Boat shuttles are good to have on hand if you find you frequently are winding two weft threads at the same time, as you can never get the threads wound onto the bobbin exactly the same. This can result in your selvedges having loops.
(In addition to the boat shuttle the weaver will require bobbins and some form of a winder for winding the yarn onto the bobbin)
End-Delivery Shuttles are the ultimate in shuttles, designed especially and precisely for handweavers. They are lightweight, comfortable to throw and catch, and adjustable to a variety of yarns.
The end-delivery shuttle has a pirn which remains stationary, instead of a free-spinning bobbin. The weft yarn unwinds off the pirn’s 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.
Made to hold medium to heavy yarns, ski shuttles are designed so that the yarn is wrapped horizontally around the top of the ski. This leaves a smooth bottom for sliding smoothly across the warp.
Specially designed for use with inkle looms, this shuttle has a bevelled edge for packing in the weft.
These broad, sturdy shuttles have been traditionally used for rag weaving, though they are also excellent for heavy rug wools and bulky chenilles.
The Weaving Stick is a small, versatile tool that can be used as a pick up stick and weaving needle. Its slim profile allows extra maneuverability for any weaving project
Schacht plastic bobbins come in three sizes. The 4″ bobbins fit the 9″ mini, the 11″ shuttles, and both double-bobbin boat shuttles; the 5″ bobbins fit the 13″ shuttles; and the 6″ bobbins fit the 15″ shuttles. The bobbins have specially designed ends for trouble-free release of yarn.
Schacht pirns come in two sizes: 6″ and 8″. They are made of plastic and are tapered. Choose 6″ lengths for the 12″ end-delivery shuttle and 8″ for our 15″.
To learn more about or try your hand with any of Schacht’s shuttles, please visit The Yadkin Valley Fiber Center in Elkin, NC. We can order and have all Schacht equipment delivered to you. If you are interested in purchasing a Schacht product, please contact me for more information on viewing my complete product listing and pricing guide.
Photos courtesy of Schacht Spindle Company
Sources: Wikipedia, Schacht Spindle Company