Marking Time 1.28.16


“Over, under, around, or through. There is always a way." –Soteria



Threading A Bobbin:  An Over-Under Discussion



Doing research for my post on Wednesday, I came across a comment about the way to thread a bobbin in the shuttle. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, but it must have been in my subconscious mind, as I woke at 5:30am thinking about it.


There's always been a great debate about the right way to hang toilet paper; with the paper over the top, or unrolling from the bottom. Most of us don't really care, while others have very strong opinions about it! Ann Landers received over 15,000 letters when she wrote an advice column about the over-under debate back in 1986. Even NPR did a story last spring with original patent drawings from 1891 showing the designer's intent with the paper over the top. (If you come to my house and the paper is over the top, it means I changed the last roll. Hubby hangs it from underneath).


This got me thinking:  Does this apply to how a bobbin is threaded in the shuttle, too? I thought this would be a fun discussion, and decided to change the blog topic for today and go with it.


The comment that started all this was from weaver, Peggy Ostercamp. She suggests threading from under the bobbin. Her explanation is that it cuts down on backlash. 


Since I thread my bobbins with the yarn over the top, off I went to Internetland to see what else I could discover.


Saori studio owner, Kaz Madigan produced a video on "Handweavers Shuttles Tools that Weave;" a discussion on the variety of shuttles and their different uses. One shot from the video shows the bobbin threaded over the top. (Kaz, I hope it's okay to share your video, which I found very informative, BTW)!


Swedish weaving equipment maker, Glimakra, says to thread under, but that it also depends on the shuttle. Interestingly, they suggest that you look through the threading hole. If the spindle is higher than the hole, it's best to have the thread come from under the bobbin.



Threading hole of the SAORI medium boat shuttle



Okay. So why do I thread over the top? Well, there are certain Saori techniques that require a lot of weft yarn, like this WWW weaving at the Saori Conference in Atlanta. (Apologies to the unidentified weaver and water bottle toting observant)!



With the shuttle placed on the shelf, I pull down on the weft thread so I have enough slack to finger manipulate the weft into W's. When I'm finished with that pick and ready to begin the next, sometimes I have too much yarn, and need to wind it back onto the bobbin. It's easier for me to use my thumb to flick up to re-wind the thread, than it is to flick down


I can't find a photo with a close-up of Kenzo weaving with enough detail to tell if he threads his shuttle with the thread over or under. But I watched him at the Saori Conference in Atlanta, and made a note in my notebook that he threads over.



My short-hand note from the SAORI Conference. Th stands for thread.



I always like to challenge my myself (and my students) when someone tells me this is The Way to do something. After experimenting on my own, I usually come to realize the Why behind the statement.


But this is Saori, where there are no mistakes; no rights or wrongs, only whatever way is comfortable for You. On Your Journey (and no one else's). At This Moment (and that may change)! Leave a comment, and let us know what you prefer!


Happy weaving!








Peggy Osterkamp,

Kaz Madigan, "Handweavers Shuttles Tools that Weave,"




I think I am pretty random

I think I am pretty random about it. I had to go look at some bobbins. If a particular yarn is "sticking" as I weave then I try it the other way the next time around. On the shuttle my husband hand-carved for me I know I put the thread over because the spindle does not latch and over helps the bobbin stay in place.


Interesting, Karen! Personally I never pay attention to if the thread is coming off the bobbin over or under..... I just pop it in and go.

I found it very interesting that Glmarka suggested to check the position of the spindle in relation to the the threading hole. So When I went to the studio after reading your post, I did that on my SAORI shuttles. The spindle seems to be right in the middle on all three sizes. Leaves me to believe that Kenzo is a genius and that the SAORI shuttle has no "right" way.

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