Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weaving with Multiple Shuttles

Leigh made this comment on my last post: "Of course,I still think 2 shuttles are a handful, so I'm not sure if I could manage 4! :)"

I know just where she is coming from! I have to admit that it took awhile for me to figure out how to weave with multiple shuttles. Just learning to weave with two shuttles was not easy for me. I would get all confused about which shuttle I was using first and which shuttle I was using second. Then I figured out that if I lay them on the woven fabric, parallel to me, one after the other, that would help. But then I would forget whether I was starting with the shuttle closest to me or closest the the fell. Or I would forget, after throwing a shot of weft, do I place that shuttle behind or in front of the shuttle on the fabric.

And then sometimes there wasn't enough woven fabric to place the shuttles there. So I put them next to me on the bench, perpendicular to the loom. But I would forget whether the leading shuttle was the shuttle closest to me or the shuttle farthest from me. And also, I would forget whether I was placing the shuttle that had just finished weaving next to me body or on the other side of the shuttle sitting next to my body.

Then I found myself weaving very narrow warps, with no room to lay lay the shuttle on the part of the warp that was woven. But if I put the shuttles next to me, so much thread was drawn out that I had a mess after I threw it. At the very least, I would have to set it down after throwing it and take the loose thread and use my hand to pull it taut across the warp. At this rate, weaving can progress very very slowly. Patience.

So I got some small boards, covered them with some spare rug padding that was rough enough to keep the shuttles in place (more or less), and used C clamps to attach them to the front beam, one on each side of the warp. My shuttle rests! That worked pretty well. Except for those times when my arm or elbow would knock a resting shuttle to the floor.

Somehow or another, I finally got the hang of it all, and often find myself weaving with 3 shuttles. That's because I often weave crackle. And usually when I weave crackle I am weaving with 2 pattern wefts and 1 tabby weft.

Oh, yes. And that was something else I had to work out. Usually the tabby weft was the color of one of the pattern wefts in use. But the tabby weft was usually finer than the pattern weft. How on earth to know which is which? I was certainly not going to stare to figure out which is the fine thread. That can drive me nuts. I finally figured that a different style shuttle for the tabby was in order. So, if I wove the pattern wefts with my Bluster Baby end-feed heavy shuttles, I could weave the tabby wefts with either my smaller Schacht end-feed shuttle, or my LeClerc regular shuttle. I was good to go!

There is always something new to figure out in weaving!

And there they are, from left to right: a LeClerc regular shuttle, a Bluster Bay end feed shuttle, and a Schacht end-feed shuttle. I also have a LeClerc end-feed (not pictured), which is really my favorite.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Very clever about the shuttle rests. Of course, new loom has a nice flat breast beam, so we'll see.

You are really getting me curious about crackle.