The Most Important Handloom Weaving Tools And Materials

When most people think of weaving, a small loom or colorful yarn comes to mind.

But many experienced weavers will tell you that the list of weaving tools you need will grow longer over time.

Below we have compiled a list of the most useful tools to have while weaving.

For more information on which loom and yarn to use, read our articles about the best weaving loom for beginners and on which yarn to use for weaving.

Weaving Shuttles

The weaving shuttle is without a doubt the most used weaving tools out there. It is actually so essential, that most weaving looms come with a shuttle included.

So if you don’t have one yet, you better get one right away.

The most common option is to use stick shuttles for weaving. These are rectangular pieces of wood or plastic with notches on both ends to hold the yarn while weaving.

Using a shuttle is much easier than passing a ball of yarn through the warp threads.

Check out this video that will explain how to use a weaving shuttle.

Although the simple stick shuttle is most common, there are a few different shuttles as well that can be used for special situations.

For example, you can use a ski shuttle weaving with bulky yarn or use a boat shuttle for rigid heddle loom weaving.

Using the right shuttle for the right project will make things a lot easier.

Shed Sticks And Weaving Swords

Shed sticks and weaving swords are two different words for the same tool. They are normally rectangular shaped and made out of wood or plastic.

They are used when weaving on a basic frame loom and will help you create a gap between the warp threads such that your shuttle can pass through easier.

This is done by simply rotating the shed stick between a horizontal and vertical position.

Without a shed stick, you will have to go through the extremely tedious process of manually inserting the shuttle over and under the warp threads.

Weaving Pick Up Sticks

Pick up sticks are used to create special patterns when weaving on a rigid heddle loom.

They are inserted behind the reed and work pretty similar to sheds sticks in that you rotate them between a horizontal and vertical position.

In this video you can see how a pick up stick is used to weave a 3/1 Lace and 5/1 Lace pattern.

The way you insert the pick up stick into the warp threads depends on the pattern you want to weave.


Since working with a rigid heddle loom is always a little tricky for beginners, it can definitely pay off to take an online weaving course to get you started on the right track.

Weaving Combs And Beaters

Weaving combs and beaters are used to firmly press down the new line of weft yarn onto the old one when using a basic frame loom.

This way the weave will look more even and consistent, and it will make the weave stronger as well.

These beaters can come in a lot of different sizes and shapes. But all of them basically do the same thing and the cheapest and most basic one will serve you just fine.

Note that rigid heddle loom weavers don’t need to buy a separate beater or comb because these type of loom already have a beating mechanism built-in.

Weaving Needles

Needles aren’t just useful for sewing or embroidery, weavers need needles as well!

Roughly speaking weaving needles can be categorized as either straight or bent needles.

These needles are used to weave in loose yarn ends when finishing a weaving project or to introduce a different color to your weave. And some sewing techniques require you to use a needle because small details are easier to weave with a needle than a shuttle.

Compared to regular needles, sewing needles are normally blunter because they don’t need to pierce fabric, and also contain a bigger eye to accommodate some of the bigger types of yarn.

Going Cheap On Your Weaving Tools And Materials

If you are weaving on a small budget, you probably don’t want to spend a ton of money on extra weaving tools.

Especially since the weaving loom itself can already be a little on the pricey side.

But don’t worry, we have some good news!

With some ingenuity and crafting skills, you can come up with alternatives or make your own weaving tools for free.

As you probably noticed, the stick shuttle, shed stick and pick up stick are roughly speaking all just rectangular pieces of wood.

You can easily make these yourself out of scrap wood or even use other sturdy materials such as cardboard.

Additionally, many beginning weavers that don’t have a weaving comb simply use their fingers, a hair comb or even a fork to beat their weft yarn into place.