My New End Feed Shuttle
Back in the spring of 2013, I started using end feed shuttles in my weaving. I love these shuttles. My selvedges have improved and my weaving is more consistent. That may also have to do with the fact that I tend to pay more attention to moving the warp along more often as I weave as well as just more experience.
I also have learned now to wind the weft yarn onto the pirns. It is a different technique than winding onto the plastic bobbins for a boat shuttle and I'm getting better at it. I still occasionally have filled pirns that I would hide if any other weavers where coming over but mostly they look OK.
Just recently, I decided to try a different brand of end feed shuttle. We sell Schacht products so all the end feed shuttles I currently had were the 15" Schacht shuttles. But the Bluster Bay shuttles are absolutely beautiful. They use a range of wonderful hardwoods to make their shuttles. They come in several sizes and also have the option of a closed bottom or an open bottom. I picked a size and style that is similar to the Schacht shuttles I've been using - 15" with an open bottom. They also have a slightly modified tensioning method which I was eager to try.
When my new shuttle arrived I was surprised at how heavy it is. It's certainly heavier than the Schacht. I'm glad I didn't go with the closed bottom shuttle as that would have been heavier yet. And the pirns are different. The Bluster Bay pirns are plastic rather than wood. I almost always choose wood over plastic if I have a choice but I really like these plastic ones. They are not the normal smooth hard plastic but have a bit of texture to them. Winding on is easier and I'm happier with the results.
So here are my thoughts after trying out this new shuttle. I love the feel of the Bluster Bay in my hands and I love the ease of winding onto the pirns. I have gotten used to the heavier weight and it works particularly well on the wide warp of my linen bath towels. The different tensioning system is fine. I don't find it easier or better than the Schacht shuttles. The price, however, is staggering. The Schacht end feed shuttles are about $100 and well worth the money. The Bluster Bay shuttles of similar size are $180. Yikes!
I love the Bluster Bay shuttle and I will continue to use it and enjoy it. I will not be replacing any of my Schacht shuttles, however. Like so many of the Schacht products we sell, the shuttles are hard working, easy to master and lovely to look at.