I am a new weaver, and I have just finished warping for my first set of cotton dishtowels in a fairly fine cotton (20 EPI). My warp is about 29" wide. I started to weave this evening on my Ashford table loom (32"), and couldn't throw the boat shuttle because it kept getting caught in the threads and wouldn't go very far. I have a medium size boat shuttle.

I suspect that one can't use boat shuttles with fine cotton. Should I use my long stick shuttle (30" or so, that came with my loom), or should I get the biggest boat shuttle I can find? Or am I just doing something wrong?

Thanks in advance.



Caroline (not verified)

Hi, I was reading something recently that explained that the reason its hard to use a boat shuttle with a rigid heddle loom is because of the tension. Apparently its also hard to use a boat shuttle on a table loom that does not have a shuttle-race fitted to the beater, though I stand to be corrected on this one. However I do know there are weavers who have successfully used boat shuttles on their rigid heddle looms, but I don't know any details of the loom, fabric width, sett etc, and what sort of difference this would make.

You will need to use a stick shuttle that is a bit wider than the piece you are weaving, so if your cloth is sett at 29 inches wide, a 30 inch stick shuttle is fine.

Hopefully someone will come along shortly with a few tricks to help you out!

Rainbunny (not verified)

Thanks, Caroline! I was able to use my boat shuttle when I was doing a narrow sampler in fairly heavy wool, but not with this combination of length and finer fabric. It does seem to be a tension problem, as you suggest, since it seems the lighter thread can't support the weight of the shuttle.

I'm going to try the stick shuttle after work today, and see how I make out!


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