Choosing a Weaving Loom

Choosing a Weaving Loom

If you are new to the world of weaving and looking to purchase your first loom, I'd love to help you find the perfect one for you. 

When choosing a weaving loom, it's important to think about what kind of projects you are wanting to create. At The Unusual Pear, I offer a few different styles of weaving looms including ~ Frame Looms, Rigid Heddle Looms, Inkle Looms and Shape Looms.

Frame Looms

Frame looms are the most simple form of weaving loom. They are a fixed structure, which means you are limited to the size of the loom determining the size of the weaving you can create. For example, if the weaving loom has a weaving area of 20cm wide x 30cm long - the maximum weaving size will be 20cm x 30cm with the option to add tassels for length. You can however, warp a smaller section of the loom to create a smaller weaving without issue.

The loom is warped with a strong non-stretchy cotton thread (the lengthwise threads) and then a thicker yarn is used as the weft (the crosswise threads). Generally speaking, the crosswise yarn should cover the warp thread completely as if the warp is invisible. This technique is called a weft faced weave. This type of weaving is known more traditionally as woven tapestry or cloth. Once the weaving has been completed, you cut the project off the loom, allowing you to free up the loom for a new project. 

With the resurgence of weaving as a modern-day art form, techniques have emerged where you can allow your warp threads to be shown through the weaving as a feature. 

Using a frame loom, you use a needle with the weft yarn attached, to pass over and under each of the warp threads. You can use a heddle bar or shed stick to help speed up the process a little, but I find it to be a very slow moving and mindful practice. 

Choose a frame loom if you are looking to create artworks, small tapestries, coasters, dish cloths and more. 

weaving on frame loom

Rigid Heddle Looms

Rigid Heddle Looms are a slightly more advanced type of loom, with more options for creating longer lengths of woven fabric. When I say more advanced, I am referring to the type of equipment, not skill level. Similar to the frame loom, the width of the rigid heddle loom will determine the the largest width of weaving you can create, though you can create much longer lengths. 

Unlike the frame loom, the goal with a rigid heddle loom is to create a balanced weave - where both the warp and the weft have the same thickness and are generally the same or similar type of yarn. A balanced weave allows you to have a nice drape to your woven cloth, suitable for wearables. The warp yarn needs to have some stretch to allow the heddle to open and close the shed, it is not recommended to use a tapestry warp on a rigid heddle loom.

Rigid heddle looms are a great option if you would like to make scarves, blankets, cushions or hand woven cloth for sewing projects.

rigid heddle weaving

Inkle Looms

Inkle Looms are a very simple loom used to create long, very strong warp faced weave braids. With this type of loom, the warp is the hero as the weft yarn is hidden. I can't wait to explore the inkle loom as my next obsession, so stay tuned for more soon.

Weave intricate patterns and embellish with different types of yarns, beads and colours. Make trims, belts, shoe laces, lanyards, hat bands, camera straps, dog leads and more.

 inkle weaving

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1 comment

Very informative . I’m new to weaving and would like all the info I can get. Thanks

Pat Carey

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