Thursday, February 13, 2014

Experimenting With the Weaver's Delight Wooden Yarn Shuttle

Last spring, while visiting Ole' Lou and his wife Betty down in Arkansas, I shamelessly begged an old wooden shuttle off him.  I thought I had seen it during another visit and was pretty sure he didn't use it.  I didn't know of anyone else with a Weaver's Delight loom that had one, and also never talked to anyone who had woven fabric on their rug loom.

I brought it home along with a few pirns for winding on yarn for the shuttle.  This is a big shuttle, about the same size as the cast aluminum ones for the rags.  It measures about 16" long and is 3-4" high.
It has a patent number stamped on the top.  Last fall, my dad took a look at it and did some repairs.  One of the pointed cones came out and needed gluing again.  We got that repaired and Dad turned a couple more pirns, using the old ones for a guide.  I brought it all home and put it away until recently. Other things like cancer treatments got in the way of my doing anything with it. I  got it out last week and decided to clean it up and try using it.
I sanded all the wood and found out most of the dark color was just dirt.  After a coat of stain, I put a couple coats of polyurethane on everything.

The wire fits in two holes inside the shuttle and loops around the pirn in the groove.  Pushing on the flat end of the pirn bows the wire enough to give some tension to the pirn and holds it in place when seated in the shuttle.

I had my dad make the new pirns about 2" longer than the original ones.  I wasn't sure if there was a reason for the original ones to be shorter, so I thought I could start out with them a little longer and cut them off if they didn't work.

There was a reason for them being shorter!  The longer one worked fine until there was just about 1" to1 1/2" of yarn left on the pirn and then it started to get caught on the tip.  It caused some broken warp threads from being tugged off the shuttle race.

Well, isn't that what experimenting is all about?  I know how to fix broken warp threads and will show some photos of the process in another blog post.

Here is the shuttle all loaded with yarn and threaded and ready to go.  The thread is exiting under a spring steel tension clip.  I am thinking bout replacing it with something else that may let me change the tension a bit and have a little more control of the yarn pulling at the selvedges. (Or not pulling!)

Stay tuned for winding a tartan warp to put on the WD sectional beam and repairing broken warp threads.


  1. its an original piece And restored beautifully with your fathers help Priceless its very large does it glide threw easily ? truly jill

  2. Wow! Lucky that you got one of these. Mine came with 3 of the cast aluminum boat shuttles with the cylinders for rags, but no wooden shuttle. Although I did have some wooden ones that look totally different from the one in your post above, but I think they are for handweaving or for weaving in headers? not entirely sure....