Just Some Thoughts Weaving Tools

Let’s Talk About Weaving Tools

Weaving tools, which should I use?I think the most frequent question coming from those just starting their weaving journey is about what tools do they need to weave. The best answer to this is it really depends on what makes you most comfortable and what you’re making. I know, it would be nicer if there were one simple answer for everyone, but I’ve found that sometimes a tool will really resonate with one person and not another. I posted on what’s in my weaving bag at all times here, but I also wanted to talk about other tools that I don’t necessarily use.  I would love to hear from those of you with weaving experience.  For this post, let’s imagine we’re sitting around a table, sipping your favorite drink and having a fun discussion. Alright, so let’s talk through some tool options and please leave your thoughts in the comments below on which tools work for you and which don’t.

Weaving tools, which should I use?Tapestry Needle

So I’m always using my bent tapestry needle and my straight tapestry needle. I can’t weave without these two items, although if i’m weaving with really thick fiber like roving, then I will use my hands to weave the fiber through the warp threads. I like to think of the tapestry needle as the most basic item to weave with, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone doesn’t use one of these.

Tapestry Beater/Weaving Fork

I use this tool when I’m weaving large areas. The tapestry beater is a really quick way to push your weft arches down the warp threads while giving your weave an even tension. I also like to use the tapestry beater when I’m making the pile weave, because it helps me push the weft threads down really tight and ensures my pile weave holds together. If you don’t have a tapestry beater tool, you can always use a fork or a comb. And when I’m weaving a small area (like a shape), I just use my fingers or tapestry needle to push the weft threads down. This tool, for me, is helpful but optional.

Weaving tools, which should I use?Tapestry Bobbins

I bought some of these right away when I started weaving, which now makes me laugh. I don’t know why I felt I needed these right away. So, in my experience, I have found that I only really use bobbins if I’m weaving really intricate color changes over a large area. But to be honest, I feel like the bobbins just got in my way. I think I haven’t given bobbins an honest chance yet, because I know they are very helpful to some weavers and I can definitely see the benefit in using them. I would love to hear if you use them in the comments below.

Weaving tools, which should I use?Weaving Shuttle

For large weaves, this is so great! It saves a lot of time when you’re weaving one color across a large area. I have a shuttle stick that I use occasionally, but for me, I only really like to use it if I’m weaving a large area of the plain weave. If I’m trying to weave a texture or even a draft pattern then I feel like the shuttle becomes more of a burden.

Rotating Heddle or Shed Stick

I have never used a rotating heddle before, so I can’t really comment on them. I have used a shed stick, which has come in handy when I’m weaving across a large area. The benefit to the rotating heddle versus a shed stick is that you simply twist the heddle and open the opposite shed. Where as, my shed stick will only open the shed in the direction that I pass it between the warp threads. But one thing I like about using the shed stick is, I can completely take it out of my weave when I don’t find making a shed to be beneficial.  Combining a heddle or shed stick with a shuttle speeds up your weaving a lot. If you use a rotating heddle regularly, I would love to hear about your experience with it. I feel like this would be only beneficial when weaving across the loom, and not so much when making shapes, but I could be wrong so I’d love to hear from those with experience.

So which tools do you use often, or which did you find you didn’t like to use?  Thanks for sitting down with me.

Happy Weaving!


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  • Jessica
    September 1, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I really love my weaving tools, especially my weaving fork/tapestry beater. I have two. One that I got as a present and one from a workshop. I was so excited to get the first one as a present. I requested it for my birthday from this really cool weaving shop on Etsy, its beautiful and really well made. But…..turns out the little one I got from the workshop works way better (for me). The tines (not sure if that’s the correct word) are curved on that one and they help so much with pulling the yarn down. I’ve also started getting more into using my shuttles and weaving stick/sword. They’re really helpful!

    I second the bobbins thing though. I thought they looked SO cute and I HAD TO HAVE THEM. Until I got them, realized I didn’t know how to use them properly, and now that I do know I barely use them. One of my weaving goals is to use them properly but so far I haven’t really gotten much use out of them, other than as fun Instagram props 😉

    • Kate
      September 1, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks for sharing Jessica! I think I’m using my bobbins wrong also, lol. But they do help when there are a lot of different yarn colors that you don’t want to tangle, and they’re cute too 🙂 I don’t know why I don’t use my tapestry beater more, I think I feel it slows me down, haha. But maybe I should just try to use it more along with the weaving stick and shuttle, who knows I might get quicker on the tools with time.

  • Alex
    September 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I mainly use the basics. I have some long plastic tapestry needles in bright colours and then a weaving needle from loom and spindle that I love. It’s bright pink and thick plastic and I love how it slides over the warp. I also use a tapestry beater, again it’s bright pink plastic and I love how sturdy it is. I have tried the bamboo beating forks but found sometimes the bamboo would snag on the fibres whereas the plastic was always a very smooth tool to use. Like you I mainly weave roving with my fingers unless I’m making an intricate pattern with the roving and then I’ll use my pink tapestry needle because it has a large threading eye.

    I don’t really use much else. I’ve always wanted to try the bobbins but have been a bit unsure how to use them and if they would be much of benefit the same with the shuttle. Another thing I’m interested in would be the heddle I’ve watched videos of others using them and it all looks so quick and neat! But not sure how it would go with chunky textures pieces or really free form pieces.

    • Kate
      September 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Alex! I feel the same way about the heddle, it looks like such a cool tool but I’m not sure if I would feel hindered by it. Especially since you warp to it! yikes! But maybe one day I’ll get one and give it a go, because I might just like it.

  • Lee
    September 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I really only use my hands and a bobbin (as a tapestry beater). This is how I’ve been taught and it works for me. If I use a needle it’s only for small pieces of work, which I don’t often do. 🙂

    • Kate
      September 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Wow, thanks for sharing! The fact that you just use your hands and a bobbin is exactly why I wanted to hear from others. It’s really what makes you the most comfortable to get the job done 😉

  • Stacy
    September 1, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I use the long blue plastic needles the most and my fingers to push my wefts down. I use to use the shed stick but I’d forget to use it a lot of times. I have the long metal tapestry/weaving needle but find sometimes that the metal tapestry needle doesn’t have any give although it’s long enough to go straight across the warp. I use my bent small tapestry needle for getting into corners or small spaces or to bring the ends from front of weave to back especially if I’ve weaved a little to tight. Always wanted a beater… I have the combs but they don’t have much weight to them. I would love to find a good and decent beater but find that the beaters are a bit pricey so that is on one of my”wish list” Although after reading comments,, maybe a plastic beater would do until I can work up to a wooden one….

    • Kate
      September 2, 2016 at 11:39 am

      That’s cool that you prefer the plastic needles, I like the metal needles myself. I love to hear how everyone is different! I hear you about the tapestry beaters being expensive! Have you tried a large metal salad serving fork? I have one as a hand-me down and that works really well as a beater too! And probably has more weight then a comb.