Friday, December 3, 2010

Its all in the Wrist

This post is sort of aimed at one friend in particular but I thought some of you might like to see these pictures as well. Its just a few photos showing how I hold and throw a shuttle. Granted a video would be better.... and that may well happen sometime.

First, I'm using a Schacht end delivery (or also called end feed) shuttle. I must admit that I enjoy using these and they are my 'go to' shuttle! I have the 12" and 15" for wider warps. Besides the three inches, the difference is the weight, but neither are overly heavy and so don't tire the wrist.

This is a thirteen and a half inch wide warp on the Louet Spring and I have opened the shed and inserted the shuttle. Please note how I'm holding the shuttle. I call this palm up, forefinger on the end point and sandwiched between thumb and lower fingers. With a flick of my wrist, and my finger directing the shuttle, I throw it across.

And this is my right hand catching the shuttle.... please note the same hand positioning, but opposite side.  I think weavers get to be slightly ambidextrous over time. The Louet loom has a handle in the centre to prompt you to pull from there every time and to ensure that the centre of the beater and its reed, hit the fell line with no 'twist' to the equipment. Try an experiment next time with the end of a warp and try weaving with scrap yarn pulling only from one side all the time....yes, it can effect your weaving that much!  A great helper is to put a paper dot or something similar to the dead centre of your beater and aim for it each hand hold until it becomes a (good) habit.

I pull the shuttle free and clear of the warp, keeping the hand position as is. The shed is being closed and beaten by the reed at the same time. I had hubby watch me to make sure this is the case! Below my feet are shifting to the next treadle and the shed snaps open just as I push the beater back against the castle. Then my right hand inserts the shuttle into the shed and my wrist snaps it across. Repeat as necessary!    :)  
{ Taking these last two pictures was awkward. Since I'm right handed and the camera features a right side shoot button, I had to hold it upside down and later flip the picture!}

You can slowly build up to a good pace and then find yourself briskly marching along. The warp pictured above has floating selvedges and they don't slow me down a bit. Just remember 'over and under' and you're good.  Enter over the floater and exit under. 
Handy tip: place wide thick rubber bands on key pivot point treadles or even the mid way point, say treadle 5 in a run of 1 to 8. This way your feet always know where they are. Tabby treadles on one side of the run? Mark them with bands and minimize 'fast foot run on' errors.

Allen Fannin wrote a rather technical book on how to maximize your efforts at weaving and for those of you who like to do further research on this and other aspects of improving your methods to save time and also improve your weaving in general,  his book Handloom Weaving Technology: Revised and Updated  is available  if you click on the link.

A side topic on improving your weaving style is to make sure you are seated at the loom correctly.  You will know that your loom bench, seat, stool, or chair is just right if your elbows rest comfortably on the breast beam and your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Have someone observe you at the loom, perhaps when you are weaving and don't know they are there. The observation will be very accurate then :)   Be sure to pull the bench up to the sweet spot for you. Too far back and your bum bones just sort of perch on the edge. Too close and the edge of your bench can cut into the back of your thighs. Some weavers like my friend Lynnette is lucky enough  to use a slanted seat (you can see hers here) but what I do as a quick fix is to lift just the back legs slightly with coach coasters. It's only a 1/4 inch extra lift but it can take the pressure off.

I'm really big into all this as I have lower back issues and suffer from sciatica. No point irritating cranky nerves further if you can avoid it!  I also take care not to do any one thing for any great amount of time. I rotate from job to job:  weave, then wind a warp, sit and plan a project, weave, etc  I would say that I weave for 20-30 minutes maximum and then shift. If you are tired, then call it a day. Most mistakes are made when you are over tired and pushing to 'get that puppy off the loom!'. Every weaver has a time of day that is their peak; I'm an afternoon weaver and some days its hard to stop and go make dinner. Some days hubby stands in the door way with an empty plate and a sad face, and some days he rattles pots and pans and I take a hint!

Look what the postie brought me from !  I only just received it so have yet to really go through it to any great length but it's full of projects. Also the theory of how summer and winter works as only editor, Madelyn van der Hoogt can describe in her gentle but thorough way.  I'm one of those weavers who was caught with only a few issues of Weavers when they folded. I quickly ordered back issues while they lasted, and found more over the years at sales but still lament its demise. They seemed to go into more depth of how weave structures work, feature more 8 shaft + drafts, and help intermediate weavers progress beyond the basics. My favourite compilation is Twill Thrills.  Maybe Santa can order  one of the Best of Weaver series for you?


Laura said...

I've posted video clips to my You Tube channel LauraAnnFry1 including shuttle thowing. Click on "more" and scroll down. :)


Lynnette said...

I throw my shuttles exactly the same way. Over the years I've found this method to be the easiest on my wrists and the quick snap makes the shuttle move along the race with little time to skip underneath fallow warp threads; faster weaving, less mistakes...bonus!

dorothylochmaben said...

Hi Susan - thank you so much for my 'personal' tutorial ! As you know I discovered on my trip to Ellen in Denmark that I throw the shuttle with my palm down and that this is not the best way to do it ! I will follow your pictures very carefully and see if I can re-train myself to go palm 'up' ! Must get the Christmas weaving out of the way first but I promise to try hard on the next project ! I will also think about where my feet are and when the shed is closed etc. New Year resolution - must re-train my shuttle throwing !
I loved the idea of the rubber bands to mark the treadles. When I put my other four on I thought I would need to get stick on numbers !
Many thanks again, that was wonderful ! Dorothy

DebbieB said...

Thanks so much, Susan - these tips are invaluable. I have yet to re-train my shuttle hold, but I'm working on it!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it hard to take pictures of yourself weaving?! The human body does not have enough hands... I've tried to enlist tripods, timers and husbands, but it can be hard to train them.

Peg Cherre said...

A very clear description & photos.

Just a hopefully helpful comment on your blog --- if you reduce the height of your header picture, I wouldn't have to scroll down to see if you have added new content, and when my computer ?helpfullly? shows me the front page of my most-visited sites, I'd know at a glance if there was new content and stop by immediately.

Keep up the great work!

bspinner said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial on how to use an end delivery shuttle and reminder on all the other weaving tips.