The first time I wove fabric that required a doubled weft I did not use a double-bobbin shuttle. I didn’t own one. I used a regular boat shuttle and sent it across twice, going around the outer warp end. Those first thick and thin towels came out beautifully. So I know it can be done.
The first time I used a double-bobbin shuttle I wondered if it was worth it. It was awkward and clumsy in my hands. Since that rocky introduction a few years ago, I have woven many meters with my double-bobbin shuttles. They have become cherished tools and efficient accomplices to some of my favorite fabric-making endeavors!
Tips for Weaving with a Double-Bobbin Shuttle (and a short video demonstration)
- Practice. Make sure you allow extra warp length for practicing. You will probably need it at first. Have fun and laugh, and refrain from throwing the shuttle across the room.
- Winding Equal Bobbins. Wind the first quill. Lay it close to the bobbin winder where you can see it easily. As you wind the second quill, attempt to match it in size to the first one. (Winding two quills with equal amounts of thread is no small challenge.)
- Sending the Shuttle. Sending the double-bobbin shuttle through the shed is the same as sending a regular boat shuttle across. The best release is done with a flick of the forefinger so the shuttle speeds across. Then, the doubled weft naturally snugs the selvedge, and the two threads are neatly aligned across the shed. With a slower, more timid shuttle send-off, the quills unwind unequally.
- Receiving the Shuttle. Receiving the shuttle can be the awkward and clumsy part at first. Especially if you are trying to practice a quicker send-off. I catch the shuttle as for any boat shuttle, palm up. And then, if needed, I fold my two bottom fingers around the threads, guiding them to fall equally across the shed.
- Weave. Enjoy the process.
May your practice produce perfection. (Well, maybe not perfection, but at least improvement.)
Each time I remove the temple I step back to review the progress. What does it look like now? It still looks like stripes. Four picks complete one row. The stripes lengthen, pick by pick. I hadn’t originally planned stripes, but seeing the results makes me hopeful.
Every fabric has a structure–the particular way that warp and weft threads crisscross each other. This eight-shaft kuvikas structure sets the stage for weaving block patterns, like the square-within-a-square pattern or these stripes. It’s how the loom is set up. This loom is set up to weave kuvikas.
Truth is a constant. It doesn’t change with the wind. It isn’t subject to our whims. It’s how things are. Truth is the structure of creation’s fabric through good times and bad. Imagine the despair of Jesus’ closest followers as they watch him, their friend and Teacher, die in agony on a cross. Where is truth in this despair?
And then the unimaginable happens. Jesus comes back to them alive! This is the truth of God’s redemptive love–He died for us. Truth awakens hope. Speak truth to your soul. Wait in hope, for glorious fabric is being woven on His loom.
May you never lose hope.
Those pesky string yarn weft tails! There is a lot of starting and stopping with these mug rugs. Normally, tucking a weft tail back into the shed adds a bit of extra thickness at the selvedge. So, what about this very thick weft? It has the potential to throw everything off balance. A few easy tips help minimize the distortion the thicker weft can cause.
Taming String Yarn Weft Tails
- Begin the thick weft on alternating sides. This will prevent one selvedge from building up more than the other.
- Taper the end of the string yarn, cutting it at a steep angle.
- Starting about 1 3/4″ inside the selvedge, send the shuttle through the shed toward the selvedge, going over or under the outermost warp end. Pull through until almost all of the weft tail is caught.
- In same shed, send the shuttle back through to the other side, aware of encircling the one warp end.
- Beat. (Beat on open shed. Beat again. Change sheds. Beat again.)
- Continue weaving.
- To end the thick weft, leave a 1 3/4″ tail, and taper the end of the string yarn, as before. Lay the tail back in the last shed, going around the outermost warp end. Beat.
Things happen that throw us off balance. From personal celebrations to unexpected losses. Don’t be afraid. Putting trust in the Lord minimizes the inner turmoil. The Lord is my light. He lights my way. What is there to be afraid of? Wholehearted trust in the Lord pushes fearfulness away.
May you walk in a lighted path.
Start to finish, the plattväv towels have been a handweaver’s joy. Narrow stripes on the warp beam are strangely invigorating. Does it take extra effort to wind a warp with many stripes? Yes–cut off one color and tie on a new color, over and over. But when the loom is dressed and ready to go, the weaving is a breeze. Being cottolin, the warp is fully compliant; and with a little care, the linen weft becomes a weaver’s friend. Plattväv, the icing on the cake, gives me a simple pattern weft that dresses up these plain weave towels. (And, yes, I am in the process of developing a kit for these plattväv towels.)
The joy of weaving is a blessing, as is the joy of friendships across the miles. Thank you for walking this journey with me.
Thanksgiving prayer: Thank you, Lord, for everything.
May you overflow with blessings and reasons for giving thanks.
Thankful for you,
The brilliant blue linen, with its natural luster, is a lively option for the plattväv pattern floats. And blue linen weft for the hem makes a fitting border. These towels with blue accents have a different “character” than the towels with the black linen accents (as seen in Striped Warp Freedom). The accent color makes a big difference.
I planned stripes in the warp to simplify the weaving. The warp stripes enable me to weave patterned towels with a single weft color. Plattväv weft floats keep it interesting. As much as I like blue linen, I am uncertain about it here. I’m waiting to see the towels off the loom, washed and dried. In the meantime, the warp stripes make my heart sing. And I’m thankful to have options for the pattern weft.
We always have a reason to sing. ThanksGiving may be a holiday, but it’s also a way of life. It’s seeing the good, the benefits, the blessings, even in the midst of uncertainty. It’s knowing that carefully planned warp stripes are still there. My hope is in God. My soul is confident, firm, and steadfast in him. And thankful to the core.
May your heart find a song to sing.