Picking and throwing boats and sticks

Over the last couple of posts I’ve talked a lot about warp. In this post I want to come back to weft and give it some overdue attention.

For a start, how do we get our weft through the shed? Well, you might remember this picture where there is a “shuttle” sitting inside the shed waiting to be used.

rigid heddle loom with a shuttle in the shed

The shuttle is like a bobbin or reel of yarn that you wind yourself and then for each “pick” (row) of weft, you move it through the shed.  So, yes, I was making a pick pun with the title of this post.

There are two basic shuttle types. The one above is a “stick shuttle”. You wind the yarn around it and unwind a enough for a pick or two as needed.

If remembering to unwind a bit of yarn before you put it through the shed, isn’t your thing, then you have the boat shuttle. These have a reel/bobbin inside them and the yarn comes off it as required.


You’ll notice the boat shuttle is quite compact. This is part of the reason weavers also use the term “throw” for a pick / row of weft. You do actually need to throw it through the shed on a wide piece of fabric.  So, yes, I made pick and throw puns in my heading for this post! 😉

Whichever type of shuttle you choose to use, you may have just one for a project, or you may have two (or more!) if you’re changing directions/yarns/colours in the weft.

By the way, each row of weft can also be called a “shot” of weft. What is it with weavers and having 4 names for everything?!