I was reading an article today by the well known weaver and writer, Madelyn van der Hoogt. It was an answer to a question about end feed shuttles. Madelyn gave the pros and cons of using an end feed shuttle but at the bottom of her answer she said that she prefers using a boat shuttle simply because she likes the sound of the bobbin rattling as the yarn pulls off.
This resonated with me because I’ve experienced the exact same thing. A few years ago I began researching end feed shuttles. Particularly Bluster Bay Woodworks end feed shuttles. The biggest problem that I found at the time was that they only made end feed shuttles in a 15″ size and I was weaving mostly scarves at the time and preferred 11-11.5″ shuttles. Then Bluster Bay began making mini end feed shuttles, 11″ size. I bought one with a gift card and was very excited to test it out! I will admit that I sturggled a bit with the tension hooks and have since decided I may prefer a spring loaded model. I didn’t mind it though. As I threw the shuttle, it pulled evenly and consistently leaving nice selvages. But I really just missed the rattle that you only get from a boat shuttle. Hearing that lovely sound helps me develop my weaving rhythm more quickly and brings back fond memories of the weaving studio in college. I loved the sound of many looms working, each with its own rhythm and pace. Each loom making its own music. Each weaver conducting the piece. Without the sound of the boat shuttle, part of the music is missing. I’ve been told by several professional weavers that they use only end feed shuttles and that those are the only type of shuttle you really need but I just can’t bring myself to give up my lovely, well worn LeClerc boat shuttles.