End Feed Shuttles have long been a tool in weavers’ hands. Pirns (end feed shuttle bobbins) are tapered and have little indentations that are very close together at the fat end, getting further apart as you go down to the skinny end. Starting at the fat end you wind back and forth over the first fine indentations. As you move down the pern you wind in short small sections filling one or two of the indentations.
Your yarn is only ever feeding from the end of the pern as it empties. It does not go back and forth along the whole length of the pirn. With an end feed shuttle there is no way to tension the pirn with a finger or thumb like we can with a regular shuttle. The yarn is tensioned by threading it around a series of hooks or holes depending on how much you want to tension it.
Why do we have end feed shuttles? Because they come from the more industrial side of weaving….. they come from the world of looms with fly shuttles. Many production weavers have them on their looms. With a fly shuttle the weaver does not hold the shuttle, it is shot from side to side by a sliding ‘thingme’ inside boxes attached to the end of the beater. Much faster throwing and they typically give great selvedges which is why they have been made smaller and lighter for weavers to use in handweaving.
Having said all of this I don’t want anyone to get the idea that we can’t have perfect selvedges without them. Good selvedges have to do with how we hold the shuttle, the sequence that we use for beating and how we wind a bobbin. I have written ‘my’ thoughts on good selvedges and you can find it by clicking on this link In Praise of Good Selvedges.