How To Wind A Flat Shuttle and Different Bobbins


Perhaps it’s 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’s an option. When it comes down to it, if you get the yarn on the thing and are able to weave with it – it’ll do! If you want to maximize the amount of yarn you can wind or you are having difficulty keeping it on the device then that’s 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!

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?


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 don’t hold a ton of yarn – nowhere 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.


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 when needed!


wind tapestry bobbin
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Flat Shuttle

These shuttles benefit from keeping your yarn as flat as you can while maximizing the amount of yarn that you can get on it. To do this you don’t want to only wrap the yarn around the middle.

Although that is part of it.


wind flat weaving shuttle
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You will start around the middle of the shuttle. 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 around one of the ends. Depending on the type of yarn you are using – you may want to wrap the yarn around your fingers as well to keep the yarn from stretching too much. This is only really critical for wool yarns or any other yarn that stretches. Don’t do this too tight. Your hand should be able to slide out easily.

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.

Instead of moving from front to back you will instead wind the yarn by coming around to the front of the shuttle every time. This will create a sort of “x” on the side. Once one side is built up – move the the next!

Make sure to not over wind the shuttle or it loses it’s flatness!


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 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 haven’t 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’s 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’s ok!

Regardless of which way you wind the yarn, you will want to use a winder for the best tension and result. If you don’t 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 don’t 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 just wind more than one at a time and have it ready!



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 style.

So tell me, what’s your favorite yarn holder?

-Nicole
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