Boat shuttle playing submarine.

I am a new weaver and am having all the regular issues with draw-in, uneven selvedges, etc.  I am learning to deal with them.  But the biggest problem is that my shuttle wants to 'dive' down through the bottom threads of the shed.  I have tried more tension, less tension, pulling the thread out before throwing the shuttle, throwing faster, slower, everything I can think of.  I have ended up simply passing the shuttle from hand to hand inside the shed, which you can imagine is quite awkward, and would be impossible if my towels were wider.  Does anyone have any idea what might be happening or why?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  - Jen


Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 02:54

Hi Jen,

Tell us what type of loom you have, how wide the warp is, how long the shuttle, type of bobbin and type of yarn.  One of those things might give us the clues we need.


Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 04:20

I have a Harrisville Designs 40 inch floor loom with a 24 inch wide warp, 18 epi in a 10 dent reed.  The yarn is an 8/2 cotton.  The shuttle is 12 inches with a 4 inch wooden bobbin.  It doesn't have a maker's name, but is equally tapered top and bottom on the ends, open all the way through where the bobbin goes  about 5 inches long, with a side slot that is 2-5/8 in. long

Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 04:35

First, make sure that your bobbin doesn't touch the warp causing drag and diving.

18 epi for 8/2 cotton is a bit open, but should hold the shuttle.

You are probably throwing with beginner's awkwardness. The shuttle should not be thrown with any jerky motion or downward thrust. The middle finger is used to push the shuttle, and gently straight to the other side. We've all had this at the start - your body needs to adjust to your loom and the height of the warp and the width of the warp. Just like playing piano, you need to practice and practice these physical moves until they become fluid for you.


Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 04:51

All I can say, Laura, is wow.  Although I can say that your yarn seems to come off the shuttle much more smoothly than mine.  I watched your video on winding the bobbins and will have to try that also.



Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 05:01

Thanks, Sara.  I had seen a lot of other problems discussed as beginners' learning curve, but never this one.  I will keep on trying and see if I can get some improvement.  I was over-winding my bobbins at first and the dragging was an issue, but since I quit winding them so full, it doesn't drag now.

Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 17:39


Jack looms like yours don't hold enough tension on the lower part of the warp to support the shuttle with the warp.  I believe you'll find that the loom you're using has a small shelf on the beater at the base of the reed.  That shelf is designed to support the shuttle as you pass it through the shed.  It is known as a "shuttle race".  You have to throw the shuttle fairly close to the beater and parallel to the reed in order to keep it on the shuttle race and prevent it from dropping through the warp.  Try that and see if it helps.

Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 18:09

Thanks Mrdubyah for pointing that out.  In Laura's film, she does not need to use a shuttle race, as the loom is a counterbalance.


Posted on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 18:46

I have two looms - the Fanny counter balanced loom and the AVL which is a rising shed loom w/shuttle race.  I hold and throw the shuttle exactly the same on both looms.  :)

If the warp is well beamed with good tension during the beaming it should hold consistent tension and having a shuttle race should not matter so long as the weaver is throwing the shuttle 'true'.  This is more easily done - in my experience - holding the shuttle 'under hand' rather than suspended from the fingers.......



Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 20:29

I am encountering the issue myself. I'm not a new weaver but am weaving on a countermarch for the first time and am wondering if the weight of my shuttle (an AVL end-feed which is quite heavy) might be contributing to the issue (or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to buy a new shuttle ;)). I am weaving a 3-1 twill, 16/2 cotton sett at 40 epi on a 20" warp, and have the issue when the shed is warp dominate (one shaft lowered three raised).

Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 21:20

Try weaving the cloth 'upside down' - iow, lower 3, and raise 1.  This will give a lot more support to the shuttle so there will be less tendency to fall through the threads.



Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 21:32

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm weaving blocks, sorry to not mention that before, so I'm using both sheds. I'm also interested in weaving blocks of 5-end satin (in both 60/2 silk and 40/2 cotton) so I expect that will exacerbate the issue.

I'm looking at both the Bluster Bay Swedish Style Boat Shuttle (either the 10" or 12" model) and the Folke Samuelsson Weighted Damask Shuttle but wanted to confirm that the issue was the shuttle weight, not my technique, before I purchased one.

Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 21:44

Taking everything into account, I went and tightened my warp and started throwing an empty shuttle.  It was diving something awful.  So I paid attention to where i started the release, the placement of my hands and thus the direction of thrust, the force of the throw, and the location of the shuttle race.  Lo and behold, it started coming together.  I had a few throws get away from me in the "force of throw" experiment and go flying across the room.  I am still getting some dives, but overall, it is doing much better.  Next I will have to wind up some new bobbins and give it a real try, but I'm sure I am on the right path.  Thank you all so much.  I was really getting discouraged.  



Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 21:53

Mindful practice is necessary - paying attention to what you are doing physically and the results as you tweak your technique will pay huge dividends.  :)

cheers for sticking to it!


Posted on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 22:32

I'd recommend the Folke Samuelson shuttle for any type of weaving. The weights help the shuttle cross the web absolutely level - not just for drawlooms.

I find the EFS to be a bit bulky and heavy - a well balanced curved European type shuttle that is of medium weight and max length works best. Yes, a very long shuttle doesn't have to travel as far after the push.

Posted on Fri, 12/02/2011 - 02:01

I am glad to report that I am doing better with my throwing.  I lowered my shafts a bit to reduce the gap between the bottom warp ends and the shuttle race and I am having a lot less unweaving to do.  Does it make any difference which way the bobbin feeds from the shuttle, from the top or from the bottom?

Posted on Wed, 05/10/2017 - 20:30

I've been mindfully throwing my shuttle on my new Toika and have found that a smidgen of downward pressure on the tail end of the shuttle has significantly reduced submarining.