Perhaps it is not fair to say that there is a wrong way to wind a weaving shuttle or a bobbin – but that there may be a better way.

While you could easily just slap the yarn on there – and hey, that is an option. When it comes down to it, if you get the yarn on the tool and are able to weave with it – it will do!

If you want to maximize the amount of yarn you can wind or you are having difficulty keeping it on the device, though, then that is where this post comes in.

Getting all you can out of whatever option you choose is not only good for a better weaving experience but also to minimize the number of weft tails you have to weave back in after your weaving is finished. This will mean you have less work to do later!

Learn more about weaving in your weft tails here.

Different yarn “vehicles” are good for different things.

Check out my blog post all about the different shuttle and bobbin options you have and when you should choose them.

So, once you decide what will work best for you – how do you get the yarn on there?



How to wind a tapestry bobbin


Tapestry bobbins are a weaving multi-tool!

Not only are they a means of holding your yarn, but they can also be used to beat your tapestry by tapping it into place. Bobbins do not hold a ton of yarn though. At least not anywhere near the amount of the other options we are talking about today, but they are great for smaller areas.

One of the most interesting parts of this bobbin is that the yarn will wrap around the thinnest part and allow it to hang from the front of your vertical weaving.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you how coming up.


wind tapestry bobbin
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To load your bobbin – lay the end of your yarn across the skinny part of the bobbin.

Hold this in place.

Start to wrap the yarn around the top of the bobbin and work your way down.

Fill in the whole bobbin. 

To make the bobbin hang you will need to first create a loop.

Twist your loop upside down and over the top of the bobbin and pull the loop closed.

When you are ready to use your bobbin just loosen up this loop and use up the amount of yarn you need.

Re-loop as needed!


wind tapestry bobbin
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How to wind a stick shuttle (flat shuttle)


These shuttles are great for keeping your yarn flat while maximizing the amount of yarn that you can get on it.

To do this you will be wrapping the yarn around the middle and the sides of the shuttle.

I always start in the middle of my shuttle. Some weavers start on their sides first.

These are both acceptable.

If you have a really narrow shed on your loom then you can also just do the sides of your stick shuttle.

Really there is no right or wrong here!


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To start:

You can either hold the end of your yarn as you start to wrap around the shuttle or you can tie a loose square knot or slipknot around one of the ends. Slipknot pictures above.

Learn about other weaving knots here.

I like to use a slipknot so it keeps the end of the yarn in place when the shuttle is almost empty. Otherwise, it can start flailing about when you are weaving. The slipknot is also easy to undo when your yarn runs out so you can use all of it in your weaving.

You might prefer to not tie any knots. There is nothing wrong with just holding the yarn while you get started.

Again, no right or wrong – just what works for you!


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Start wrapping the yarn around your shuttle as though you are encircling it. Nothing fancy here.

Depending on the type of yarn you are using – you may want to wrap the yarn around your fingers as well as the shuttle to keep the yarn from stretching too much.

This is only really critical for wool yarns or any other yarn that stretches.

Learn more about wool yarn here.

Make sure not to wrap your yarn too tight. Your hand should be able to slide out easily.

The amount that you wind onto your shuttle will depend on the size of your shed.

You want to make sure that it is not too fat to easily fit the shed of your loom and not too thin that you will have to wind more yarn on constantly. Like most things in weaving, this is a goldilocks sort of situation!

Once you have built up the middle of the shuttle you will want to maximize the amount of yarn you can get onto it by moving onto the sides.



I created a video for you because it can be kind of hard to capture in photos!

Here are the written instructions:

Instead of moving from front to back like we were for building up the middle, you will instead wind the yarn by coming around to the front of the shuttle every time. Doing this will make it so the yarn crosses on the side of the stick shuttle. This will create a figure 8.

It might be easier if you turn your shuttle to the side so you can see your figure 8 better.

Once one side is built up – move to the next!

Do not forget: Keep it flat but full to get the most out of it.


How to wind a boat shuttle


When winding your boat shuttle bobbin there are 2 schools of thought. 

  1. Wind the bobbin by building up the ends first. Then fill in the middle.
  2. Wind evenly across the entire bobbin for the entire time.

wind boat shuttle bobbin
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I have heard that method 1 will keep the tension better while you are weaving because it is all coming from the same spot.

Option 2, though, is the way that I have always wound my bobbin and I have never had any issues. That being said, if you are having an issue with tension then try out whatever method you have not tried before to see if it fixes your issue.

It could all be dependent on how evenly you wind, how tight you hold the yarn while winding, or the motion that you use when passing the shuttle through the shed. There are so many different factors that could account for these issues – so it is good to have options to play with. 

As with most things – do what works for you!

It might not be what I prefer – but that is ok! I am not the one weaving your weaving.

Regardless of which way you wind the yarn, you will want to use a winder for the best tension and result. If you do not have a bobbin winder then you can use a drill and a dowel rod or just wind it manually. Just make sure to be consistent and even for the best results.

When you load your bobbin into the shuttle make sure to insert it so it feeds from underneath. This will ensure the best results. 

Also, make sure not to overwind the bobbin. You do not want it to be so large that it rubs against the bottom of the shuttle. If you want to save time and you have more bobbins – then wind more than one at a time and have it ready for when you need it!


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!

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No matter the way you decide to wind your weaving shuttle or bobbin just remember to not overfill them and choose the option that works best for your weaving and your style.

So tell me, what is your favorite yarn holder?


-Nicole
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