Widely Spaced Warp

Ask Madelyn

Hi, Madelyn.

I’m weaving a double-krokbragd piece, and with most shafts raised on each pick, the shuttle is falling through the widely spaced warp threads that are down. Should I be using stick shuttles instead, or am I just missing the shuttle race, or is there some other trick to this. (The good news is that I’m getting lots of “bend and stretch” exercise retrieving shuttles from under my big loom.)

––Regina Phalanges

Hi there, Regina.

I’m certainly familiar with the bend and retrieve shuttle movement! If you have a countermarch loom, you also usually have to unthread the shuttle from the maze it makes as it interweaves with the upper and lower lamms and treadles.

I don’t think a stick shuttle is the solution, though you might like a ski shuttle; at least you can throw it. But as long as the weft is fine enough to use with a bobbin, I’d always choose a boat shuttle. And since I weave on countermarch looms that have no shuttle race, I understand that you sometimes don’t have a flat, smooth plane of threads in the bottom shed for a perfect shuttle path.

To maximize the smoothness of the path, first make sure your warp tension is as tight and even as you can get it. I bet that krogbragd was not invented by a jack loom weaver. On jack looms, the warp threads that are down are always slacker than the raised threads. You would really like the down threads to be the tightest. Besides practicing the throw so that the shuttle shoots along without tipping, you might take a look at your shuttle. For wide warps, I like a fairly heavy boat shuttle with a smooth bottom (no tipped up ends, no open bottom). 

Beyond that, I’m afraid it is mostly about practice! And, keep in mind, bending and retrieving is probably good exercise.

 

––Madelyn

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