The rigid heddle loom is compact and gives you the satisfaction of weaving beautiful scarves, mats, belts, dish towels, tapestries, and more. They are a great way to work up your yarn stash.
Selecting a rigid heddle loom is a personal preference–just like buying a car. Some looms allow for more comfortable weaving and warping.
There is a wide price range in rigid heddle looms. They come in sizes from 10” wide to 48” wide. Narrower looms are great for transporting. The widest loom I currently use is 26”. The wider the loom, the harder it is for me to reach the edges and throw the shuttle comfortably. So, keep in mind your reach.
Schacht or Ashford is my personal preference for a rigid heddle loom. And the main difference (besides price) in those two brands is that Schacht rigid heddle looms have a back beam just like floor looms.
A back beam keeps the warp level from the back of the loom to the loom’s front. With the Ashford looms, the warp runs directly from the warp beam to the cloth beam resulting in the warp traveling at an angle. The warp is higher at the back at the start of your weaving. As you weave, it levels off as the weaving builds upon the cloth beam. Then, as the cloth beam fills, your angle is reversed, and your warp is angled higher in the front than the back. I have always felt that this messed with my weaving.
The following pictures have the parts labeled. Notice that the Ashford Loom only has the roller beams for the warp and the woven fabric or cloth. The image of the Schacht Cricket loom shows the heddle in the up position.
ASHFORD RIGID HEDDLE LOOM WITH PARTS LABELED
SCHACHT CRICKET LOOM WITH PARTS LABELED
There is a price difference in the looms, with the Schacht looms being pricier. Schacht looms (except for the Cricket looms) are nicely finished and are foldable. The Ashford looms (except for the Knitter’s Looms) are unfinished. The Knitters Loom is foldable, lacquered, and assembled. Both companies have a wide range of looms and an assortment of reeds and stands for each style.
Ashford Rigid Heddle Looms
- SampleIt Looms in two widths: 10” & 16”. ($146-$180). The 16” SampleIt has double heddle holders.
- Knitters Loom in three widths: 12”, 20”, & 28”. ($280-$333)
- Rigid Heddle Tabby Looms in four widths: 16”, 24”, 32”, & 48”. ($196-$399)
Schacht Rigid Heddle Looms
- Cricket looms in two widths: 10” & 15” unfinished and very portable ($180-$199)
- Flip the finished foldable looms in four widths: 15”, 20”, 25”, and 30″ ($290-$389) — double heddle capability.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a rigid heddle loom work?
Weaving is the process of weaving a strand (weft) of yarn, thread, or fiber over and under strands (warp) of similar yarn, thread, or fiber. A rigid heddle helps speed up this process. The rigid heddle is a series of bars set vertically into a frame. Each bar has a hole. The spaces between the bars are called slots. The warp yarns are threaded alternately through the holes and slots. The weaver lifts the heddle, thereby raising the warp threads in the holes, and throws the shuttle through the opening called a shed. Then, the weaver pushes the heddle down, causing the warps in the holes to sink below the warps in the slots. The weaver uses the rigid heddle to beat the weft into alignment after each pass of the weft.
What does Dent mean?
Sett refers to the number of warp yarns or threads per inch in the heddle. Dent tells you how many slots and holes per inch are in a rigid heddle to achieve the sett you project needs. Most reference books contain charts that help you decide what dent you need. A worsted-weight yarn used for plain weave is sett at eight ends per inch, so you need an 8-dent heddle. It is nice to have a variety of different dent rigid heddles.
What size loom should I get?
What do you think you are going to be weaving? If all you plan to create are scarves and narrow-width items, then a 16″ wide or smaller is adequate. But, remember, you can always weave narrow items on a larger loom. If your budget permits, I recommend a 25″ width.
What are the best reference books for rigid heddle weaving?
Read my post 7 Rigid Heddle Weaving Books You Need in Your Reference Library for a list of my favorites.
Where can I shop for a loom?
The Woolery has both online and brick-and-mortar shopping. Located in Frankfurt, Kentucky, they are a family-owned business.