How to Weave with Multiple Weft Shuttles

Weaving with Multiple Weft Shuttles

In this weaving tutorial, learn how to weave with multiple weft shuttles for short, repeating stripes and multiple weft colour changes. Felicia Lo demonstrates the process of weaving the “Triple Check Houndstooth Scarf” with three weft colour shuttles on a Schacht Baby Wolf loom but this technique could be used on any loom.

Often when I’m weaving, I want to just have that feeling of throwing the shuttle back and forth and not having to pause for anything. But that really puts a limitation on my colour decisions in my handwoven cloth. I basically need to use one single colour throughout the weft.

Now, what if your colour and design for your cloth requires you to use two or more colours in short stripes of colour? In that case, you have a decision to make. Either cut the yarn at each colour change or carry your unused colour along the side of your selvedge.

If you are weaving a colour and you need to change colours and that colour that you were using is not going to be used again, then you just cut the yarn and then start with a new weft colour. You can also do this if, say, you are going to use the same colour again, but maybe not for several inches. In this case, I would cut and rejoin the colour later.

But if you are weaving with multiple weft colours that only get used for a few picks at a time and you need to reuse these colours over and over… like in a cloth with thin weft stripes or plaid or checks, then I would carry the unused colour along the side of my cloth. If you did cut and rejoin every time for a small stripe, then you would begin to get too much build up on the edges of your cloth and honestly, you’d loose yardage in the process.

I’m going to demonstrate how I weave with two weft colours and how I carry the unused colour along the side of my work. Basically, I pretend that the unused weft colour is like a floating selvedge and with each pass, I take my working weft colour and catch the unused weft colour by going up and over it. Now, my floating selvedge is parallel to my warp threads, but it’s hard to position my unused weft colour parallel to the floating selvedge… so what I do is either put a small stool or side table next to my loom where I can rest the unused shuttle. Or, I might use my loom bench or a tray. With my Schacht Baby Wolf, the tray is in front of the cloth. With the Louet Spring, the tray is up above, which is super handy. With the Mira, it doesn’t have a tray, but it has a very wide loom bench, so I would use that.

I just take my working shuttle and go around the unused yarn, then into the shed and out under the other floating selvedge. Then as I am beating the weft into place, I will check the unused weft yarn and tug it to make sure it’s snug up against the side of the cloth.

For the Triple Check Houndstooth scarf pattern, I used three weft colours and so at any given time, there are two weft colours that are being carried along the sides of the work. In order so that there’s not too much build up on one side, I made sure that the two unused weft yarns would be carried up on different sides. If I carried them both up the same side, it would make for a thicker and more noticeable selvedge on one side. In order to do that, I basically start one weft colour from the left side of the loom and I start the other weft colour from the right side of the loom.

And that’s it. It might seem a little bit awkward at first, getting the movement of the shuttle and arranging the unused weft yarn in a convenient and comfortable way, but once you get the hang of it, it will work beautifully and your selvedges will be nice and tidy.

Let me know if that works out for you, or if you have a different way of handling multiple weft shuttles. Thanks for watching!

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