How To Fix Threading Mistakes: Repair Heddles

How To Fix Threading Mistakes: Repair Heddles

Ideally, when you are warping your floor loom or table loom you will not make any mistakes. 

While mistakes help you learn (the Warped Fibers motto!) avoiding mistakes should still be your goal. 

The best way to avoid threading mistakes (or any mistakes) is to take your time and look over what you have done before moving forward. 

This is really important in many of the steps of warping and weaving, but especially when you are threading your heddles. 



If you are new to using a floor loom or have never used one before here is a little refresher:

On a floor loom (or table loom) your heddles are the metal pieces that are within your harnesses. These heddles will have a hole in the middle of each one that you thread your warp yarn through. The heddles that you choose to thread will depend on the pattern that you are weaving up. 


It is really important to pay attention and double-check yourself as you go when you are doing this step of the warping process. If you do not then if you mess up one heddle it may mess up the sequence of the remaining heddles. 

Threading mistakes are not fun.

If this is the case then there is no shortcut – you must undo all of your warps to the point of the mistake and start over. If you do make a mistake and it only affects a heddle or few then you can fix your threading mistake by using repair heddles. This is most likely if you have doubled up a harness but otherwise continued correctly.


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How to use repair heddles



Depending on the type of repair heddle that you choose to use, they should be easy to install wherever needed. 

Locate the spot and harness that needs your repair heddle and isolate it as best as possible. This usually means pushing the threaded heddles to the side. Since they will all have warp yarns in them this may be harder to do than it sounds, but do your best. 


Here is a little tip: Use a comb to keep your warps out of the way!


repair heddle isolation with comb

Installing your heddle will vary a bit depending on the type of repair heddle you are using, but they should all be pretty simple. Each repair heddle should have an opening at each end that will go around the metal part of your harness.

Re-thread your new repair heddle with the correct warp yarn and finish it off as usual!

For example, if you have a straight draw threading pattern: 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 … and you accidentally thread 1,2,2,4,1,2,3,4 then you can un-thread the second “2 heddle” and insert a repair heddle on harness 3. This warp yarn will be threaded on the new repair heddle and you can weave as normal!

It is really that simple.

The hardest part about fixing threading mistakes is finding them before you go too far!


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Types of repair heddles


No matter the type of heddles you already have on your loom, you can really use any repair heddle you want because they all essentially work the same.

The one that you choose mostly depends on what you can get your hands on and what will fit your loom. Prior to purchasing repair heddles, you will want to measure the height of the metal bars in your harness. Most repair heddles will come in 9.5″, 10.5″, and 12.5″ options.


Wire heddles


wire repair heddles

Wire heddles are thin and usually come in multi-packs.

The multi-packs are really great because you will more than likely want to have more than one on hand at a time just in case. Since they are thin wire, they are generally pretty cost-efficient despite the fact that you buy multiple at once.

These heddles are easy to use because they untwist at the top and bottom which allows you to easily attach them to your harness at any spot that they are needed. Just twist them back together after putting them on your loom!

The wire repair heddles that I have can be found here.

For reference: my Harrisville 8-harness, 10 treadle loom, uses 9.5″ heddles.


Flat heddles


flat repair heddles

Flat heddles are great if you need something really sturdy or you want something that more closely matches your other heddles (assuming you have flat heddles!) 

These heddles do not require any untwisting at the top and the bottom, but instead, they open up and slide into place. This makes them a great option if you have trouble with dexterity or strength in your fingers which could make the wire heddles difficult to use.

These heddles are more expensive and are usually sold individually, but they are sturdier than wire heddles.

You can find these flat repair heddles here.


String heddles


string repair heddles

String heddles are usually a DIY option that can be great if you need something right now and you do not have other options on hand. The downside of a string heddle is that you have to DIY it…

They are not hard to make, but they take more time than if you had metal ones laying around. We will go over how to make them in the next section.

String heddles work the same way any other heddles do and they take up even less space than the other options when they are not being used. 

Even if you have other options ready for when you need them, it is not a bad idea to know how to make string heddles in case you need more and just can not wait for shipping.


How to make a string heddle


String heddles should be made out of strong yarn that is smooth. I like to use the same yarn that I use for tapestry samples: 8/4 cotton rug warp. This yarn is inexpensive and makes a great string heddle option.

You will also want safety pins for your repair heddles to easily install and remove them.

First, measure the height of your harness area that hosts your heddles and double that then add an extra inch. You should have 1 piece of yarn that is just over the same height as your harness (between the bars) when folded in half. This extra yarn will allow for your knots without taking away from the height.

Insert your yarn into the hole at the end of your safety pin. This first safety pin should sit at the fold of your yarn. 


how to make a string repair heddle

how to make a string repair heddle

Using one of your regular heddles as a guide, create a square knot at the bottom of the warp eye.

Create a second square knot at the top of the eye. This is where your warp yarn will be threaded through.

Using square knots creates an opening that is more easily threaded. You can also use overhand knots, but the opening will not stay open.

Learn how to make different weaving knots here.

Insert your heddle string into the hole of your second safety pin. Tie another knot to close up your heddle. Again, use your regular heddle to get this in the right spot.

Cut off any excess yarn.


how to make a string repair heddle

Your string heddle is now ready to use!


fix threading mistakes

You will always want to try to keep your mistakes to a minimum, but it is good to be prepared.

No matter how long you have been weaving and how well you think you double-checked your threading, it is inevitable that you will need to fix threading mistakes with repair heddles sooner or later. 

Either having them on hand or knowing how to make them, will make sure that a missing thread does not bring your weaving to a halt.


Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Starting out on your weaving adventure can be a bit daunting. There is so much to learn and so much to buy! This is a common topic here at Warped Fibers because I am always hoping to bring more people around to weaving.

Why wouldn’t I?

Weaving is awesome.

I have talked a bit about what you need to start weaving here and if you want to know the looms and supplies I use in my studio you can see those here.

Also if you are a new weaver or just someone looking for a weaving refresher then check out my FREE Weaving Guide For The Absolute Beginner. 

Yep. 

Free.

You can enter your info into the form below to sign up for my mailing list to get access to the free guide or just click the link above!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



Looms are one weaving supply that might be the scariest to buy because they are the one that is the most exclusive to weaving. Everything else that you will need you will probably already have or will be able to use for other things. 


What to look for in a beginner loom


Once you get to know what you want to do it can be easier to figure out what type of loom you want. I will be going over the 2 main types of weavings that you will probably be starting with and what type of loom you will need to weave them.

That being said, there are so many different looms out there, and all of them offer different things.

When you are first starting out it can be a good idea to try to find a goldilocks loom that is not too expensive and has some options but is still simple to use.

If you want to go all out from the beginning because you do not want to buy another loom later, just remember that there is nothing wrong with having more than one loom! You can also upgrade later once you know what you really like. There are many different places you can sell a used loom if you decide to make room for a new one.

Other things you might be looking for are a frame loom with a stand for easier weaving or a loom that is small either for storage or portability.

Make yourself a list and go from there.


Why you should start weaving with a frame loom


beginner friendly looms - frame looms

If you are new to weaving or looking to get into it then these are my recommendations for looms to get you started and get you hooked!

If you are brand new to weaving then the best way to dip your needle in is with a frame loom!

Frame looms are my favorite beginner looms and not just because they are how I originally started weaving.

That being said, there is a reason that most people start with frame weaving. They are (mostly) inexpensive, (mostly) small, and generally easy to warp. 


Inexpensive


Frame looms are just about as simple as you can get when it comes to starting your weaving journey. While, yes, you can start with a cardboard loom (learn how to make a cardboard loom here) if you have the ability I recommend you give a frame loom a try instead.

Frame looms will not only give you better warp tension but also will not fall apart after a few uses. They can even be just as inexpensive or almost as inexpensive as just pulling some cardboard out of your recycling bin. 

That is because you can use a repurposed picture frame that you already have laying around or grab something from a clearance section for only a few dollars. 

This type of loom is called a simple frame loom and if you want to learn more about them then you can learn about simple frame looms here. 

Speaking of warp tension, their ability to hold a very high tension makes frame looms ideal for tapestry weaving. If you are wanting to start your weaving adventure with tapestry then frame looms are the best option.

If you want something that may actually be simpler than a simple frame loom then you can get a loom with notches or make one with nails. These will warp up even faster than a simple frame loom (which already warps up fast) because everything is already spaced out and good to go.

You can also learn about spacing hacks for your simple frame loom here.


Easy to warp



Since there are many different types of frame looms there are varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to warping your loom. All of them though, are going to allow you to get weaving fast and with little effort.

The easiest frame looms to warp are going to be ones with dedicated notches or nails with either no shed system or a simple heddle bar (see above video.) These looms require no extra math to figure out your EPI and keep your warp spaced perfectly as you go.

Other types of frame looms are not hard to warp, but they may require a little extra effort. They do have their advantages though.

Learn about different types of frame looms here.

Learn specifically about simple frame looms (my favorites) here.


They don’t take up a lot of space


Most frame looms are small.

This means that not only are they good for travel, but they are also good for when you do not have a bunch of dedicated space to devote to a skill that you may not even love.

Do not worry. You will love it.

That sounded threatening… anyway.

Not only do you probably not know if you will love to weave or not, but you may not even know what you really want to weave. It is never a bad idea to start small and work up from there. If you decide later that you want a larger loom of any type you can still rest easy knowing that you can always still use your frame loom for smaller weavings or samples.

You can read more about finding the best second loom here.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Why you should start weaving with a rigid heddle loom



Not everyone wants to weave tapestry.

When you are looking to weave something else, then a rigid heddle loom might be a better object for your creative input than a frame loom – at least to start.

Rigid heddle looms are great for weaving longer weavings that are either balanced or pattern woven, but tapestry should be left for a loom with the ability to hold more tension.


Easier to warp than a floor loom


Floor looms are notoriously annoying to warp. Not necessarily hard, but there are a lot of steps and it takes a while. The more steps there are, the more opportunities you have to make a mistake in the process.

Mistakes are good. They are how we learn. 

For most people though, when first starting anything new it is a good idea to start on the easier side to get hooked first. It is a lot easier to deal with things that can be frustrating when you love what you are doing. 

Rigid heddle looms have the ability to be warped directly instead of using a warping board or mill. This means that you eliminate a step in the warping process that requires you to measure out your warp first and then put it on your loom. Beyond this, the warping itself is simpler because there are fewer moving parts to deal with.

Unlike a floor loom, a rigid heddle loom only has 1 heddle for you to pull your warp through. This means fewer chances to make mistakes.


Longer weavings than a frame loom


Sometimes a frame loom is just not going to cut it for what you want to weave. If you know going in that you want to weave scarves or other long pieces of fabric then starting with a frame loom may not make sense.

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom is great for when you want to create longer weavings and when you want to work on balanced or pattern weavings.

With its ability to have an advancing warp you can create weavings that just keep going!

Even if your goal is not to weave something specific, rigid heddle looms can be great for beginners because they allow you a lot of room to practice your weaving skills. Weaving, just like any other skill, will only keep improving with time and practice.

The more time you have to weave without having to re-warp your loom keeps you in the weaving mind-frame longer. A.K.A. more time to get hooked!


My beginner loom recommendations


choosing beginner looms

If you really just want to get started with no fuss then purchasing a loom that already has notches and a shed device will get you weaving the fastest with the least amount of learning involved in the warping process. 


Frame looms


If you are going the simple frame loom route then you can use any old frame you have laying around or one that is found in a clearance bin to keep it cheap. You can also use canvas stretcher bars for a more tailored size. I usually purchase mine here.

Another inexpensive frame loom that is great for beginners is this notched loom that you can find on Amazon.

Easy to warp? Check

Inexpensive? Check

Portable and easy to store? Check

Heddle bar capability? Check


Rigid Heddle Looms 


Rigid heddle looms for beginners are usually less expensive, but still capable of weaving a lot of different techniques including pick-up weaving.

The Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom is great for beginners because it is small and does not have any extra frills. You can read my full review here.


Take a class


If you are still having some doubts then the best loom to start with is one that you do not own! Taking a local class helps you to get your needle on the loom without committing to anything you have to keep in your home. A lot of times you will get to use a loom that may even be beyond beginner status (but still has beginner capabilities.)

If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area then check out my in-person classes. If you are not, then just google weaving in your area to get in with a local weaver who can teach you on their looms before you purchase your own!


Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom Review

Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom Review

When you are looking for a loom the sheer amount of options can be a bit overwhelming. Once you have landed on a rigid heddle loom your options are more pointed, but still plenty!

Options for rigid heddle looms start inexpensive and go up and up depending on size, capabilities, and options.

The cricket rigid heddle loom by Schacht is a great beginner-friendly rigid heddle loom from a very reliable company.

I did some other reviews on rigid heddle looms that you can also check out!

Schacht Flip Folding rigid heddle loom review

Ashford rigid heddle loom review

Now, let’s hop into the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom review! (Totally not sorry)


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!


Assembling your Cricket loom


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom in the box

First impressions of the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom are good! The box it is in is attractive with a bright and clear image of the loom you are about to start your new weaving obsession on.

Inside the box is almost everything you need to assemble your loom and get started weaving. There are a few extra things you will need, but you should have these already laying around your house. You will need a pair of scissors for cutting some of the plastic holding the front and back beam together, a screwdriver for assembly, and a rubber mallet to insert the handles. 

The assembly itself is straightforward and simple to do. Your loom should come together in no time even if you have never put together a loom before. (I imagine most people do not have experience putting together different looms as I do!)

Helpfully, the cricket comes with full-color assembly instructions for you to follow.



There were a few kinks though that you should be aware of. 

Starting off in the first step, you are attaching your front and back beams to the sides of your loom. This is a bit awkward to do when you first start since the sides do not stand on their own.

Nothing to be worried about though. 

The attaching of the beams, on the other hand, is a bit of a struggle as the screws are very tight. It took a decent amount of strength and more time than I would have imagined to screw into the beams and get the loom standing up straight. 

That being said, it was completely doable and all of the other screws on the loom went in with no issue!


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom screwing issues

The second trouble spot that I had when assembling the loom was inserting the handles into the ratchet beams. The first one slid into place like butter! The second handle, though, was very tight and required using a rubber mallet to bang it into place. The instructions mention you may have to hammer lightly, but “lightly” just would not be enough. Instead, hammer carefully, but with some force.

An important thing to keep in mind: if you need to hammer your handle into place, make sure that the screw hole on the handle and the hole on the beam are lined up before you start to hammer it into place.

These holes correspond to small screws that will hold everything in place. If the holes do not match up then you have 2 options. First option is to hammer the handle back out and try again! This is not ideal. The other option would be to screw into the wood and not the pre-drilled hole – also not ideal.

So just make sure they are in line to begin with and there will be no issues!

Overall, though, the process was pretty fast and easy.


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom handle constuction issues

Keeping costs low


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom unfinished

Having your loom come unassembled may not be ideal for some people, but the assembly is simple and helps to keep costs low. This is because not only do you have to do some of the work, but it means the box that ships is also smaller. Smaller box = less cost to ship.

Not only is the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom unassembled when you buy it, but it is also unfinished. 

This gives you the option to stain and seal the Cricket loom in any color that you want. This would add to the time it takes to get you started weaving, but it will also protect your loom and make it last for a long time into the future!

You do have the option of not finishing the loom at all and instead just assembling the loom as-is (like I did). Just note that the loom is not protected from any water damage or humidity – so keep it in an air-conditioned space and away from your water cup!


What the loom comes with


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom parts

The Schacht Cricket really is a great beginner loom because after you put it together you have everything you need to start on your first project!

Inside the box is a warping peg, 2 table clamps for warping, an 8 dent heddle, heddle hook, 2 skeins of wool yarn, and 2 flat shuttles. My loom came with blue and purple, but the website says colors may vary.

The Cricket comes in 2 different weaving widths – 10 inch and 15 inch and both looms have a weaving depth of only 18 inches. This depth is on the shorter side of the other rigid heddle looms I have used so even though it does not fold, it will take up a little less space than some others. It actually takes about the same amount of space as my Schacht flip folding loom when it is folded!


Schacht cricket and flip loom (folded) side by side

The depth behind the heddle is much smaller than the depth behind the heddle on the Schacht Flip. To make up for this shallower depth the Cricket has two beams instead of only 1. This means there is still plenty of space for your weaving on the cloth beam and the warp beam.

This second beam also makes sure that your weaving surface is flat and not angled. (The Flip has a similar feature.) While this may not be an issue to you, it is something you may want to consider when it comes to how you want to weave.

While there is plenty of space to warp your loom despite the shallow depth behind the heddle, a little more room would make it a bit easier. Definitely not a reason to not purchase this loom, just something to keep in mind!


Schacht cricket and flip looms side by side

Weaving with the Cricket loom


Weaving with the Schacht Cricket is pretty straightforward and the heddle moves into all positions easily. This loom has a small depth behind the heddle, but more than enough weaving space in front of it. This means that you have a smaller loom but you will not have to advance your warp constantly.

One of the things that I really appreciate about Schacht rigid heddle looms is their cog and ratchet system. There is very little plastic on the entire loom and instead, the handles are made of the same wood as the rest of the loom. This gives the loom a really good quality feel despite its budget position in the Schacht loom lineup.

The Cricket also uses Texsolv cords to hold the apron bar in place. These are great because they will last a lot longer than stiff plastic like those found on the Ashford rigid heddle loom.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Who is the Cricket loom for?


The Cricket loom was literally made for beginner rigid heddle weavers to get their feet wet in the rigid heddle weaving world. If you are a fan of Schacht looms then this is a really good option to get you started.

This loom is also compact and portable so even though it does not fold like its older sibling the Flip folding loom, it is still good on the go!

If you are looking for a loom that will grow with you, though, then the Flip is a better option because it has a built-in space for a second heddle. This allows you to weave more intricate patterns and double weave. That being said, the Cricket has plenty of possibilities with plain weave and pick-up patterns that can occupy you for a while.

Learn more about pick-up patterns for the rigid heddle loom here.

Learn more about plain weave patterns here.


Schacht cricket rigid heddle loom with weaving

While the Cricket loom comes with everything you need to get started (even yarn!) there are other accessories made for the loom that you can purchase to get even more out of it.

Cricket loom stand

Extra rigid heddles

Cricket loom bag

So overall, the Cricket is a great starter loom or loom for weavers that are looking for something to get started weaving longer pieces on a budget!

You can get the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom and accessories on the Woolery!


Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Review

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Review

Figuring out what loom is right for you is not always the simplest task. There are so many options – some of which do not even seem that different. I know you do not want to spend money on a loom (or any tool) that is not going to work for you in the long run. I do not want that either!

This goes for pretty much everything but today it especially relates to rigid heddle looms and especially the Ashford rigid heddle loom. So since you can not really try before you buy – a review is the next best thing!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



First thoughts on the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom with scarf in progress

Get The Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom On The Woolery


Ashford is a great company that makes many different types of weaving and fiber art tools. So when it comes to rigid heddle looms I was excited to get to try out their “mid-tier” option.

I am not sure they think of their looms in tiers, but they do have 3 rigid heddle loom options, and the simply named Ashford rigid heddle loom falls right in the middle cost-wise. Their other options are the SampleIt loom (a simple and less expensive rigid heddle loom) and the Knitter’s loom (a foldable rigid heddle loom.)

You can think of this loom as the goldilocks option.

Just right.



Let’s look at some of the loom stats:

The Ashford rigid heddle loom comes in 16″, 24″, 32″, and 48″ inch weaving width options, and they all ship with a 7.5 dent reed.

The smallest loom available to purchase (the 16″ weaving width option) is a total of 20″ wide and 24″ deep.


Assembling the rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom in box

Not all rigid heddle looms need to be assembled when you receive them, but it is not an uncommon occurrence. This makes them less expensive and easier to ship. The Ashford rigid heddle loom is no different. 

When you order your loom it will come in a long skinny box with the Ashford logo all over it. It sort of feels like a simply wrapped present and who does not like to open presents?!?

Purchasing a loom that is not already constructed has its own pros and cons depending on who you are talking to.

For one, smaller boxes are easier to ship because they will take up less space in the truck they are traveling on. While the weight will not really change, the size can make a difference. 

Beyond the loom, in the box, you will also find 2 flat shuttles, a warping peg, and a booklet with information on how to warp your new loom.

If you are in need of more shuttles or other rigid heddle loom accessories you can get those HERE.


Ashford rigid heddle loom

Another plus for purchasing an unfinished loom is that you get to finish it yourself. Right out of the box the wood pieces are unstained and unpolished. This gives you the opportunity to make it any color that you want. This may or may not be important to you, but if you want a darker loom (as most rigid heddle looms are made with lighter wood) then this can be a great option.

The unfinished wood can also be a big drawback if you are not into that sort of thing.

If you are looking for a loom that does not need a lot of extra work then I recommend checking out my review on the Schacht Flip Folding rigid heddle loom.

While your loom does not need to be finished to work, it is a good idea to finish your loom if you want it to last as long as it can. Staining and waxing your wood will protect it better from humidity and other moisture.

As far as constructing your loom, the process is relatively simple! The Ashford loom comes with a great instruction booklet with images and directions. There were only a few times that the booklet seemed to fail me and it took me a little bit of time to figure out how to do the next task.

Let’s go over those instances:


The pin


Ashford rigid heddle loom pin and pawl

When you are assembling your loom and you get to the part where you are supposed to attach the pawls to the sides of the loom – do not follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Yep.

The picture in the instructions shows the pin sitting in the middle of the pawl on the edge side. Instead, the pin should be in the middle of the pawl towards the middle of the loom. If you put the pawl on this first way, it will not contact the cog correctly. 

Trust me. I tried it.


Using wax


using wax to lubricate weaving roller

The instructions for putting together your loom mention that you will need some candle wax. 

It mentions this in multiple places, but I mostly only used it to lubricate the front and back rollers so that they will turn smoother. 

When you get your loom it includes a square of sandpaper in case you need to smooth out any rough parts. I really wish it had also included a small bit of wax as well. I ended up breaking a small tea light candle in order to get some wax to use. If you do not have a candle you want to destroy then this could be quite an annoying part of the process.

You can use this wax for the other parts of the assembly process as directed. It might make it easier to screw your pieces together, but it also is not necessary.


What I like about the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom down position

One of my favorite things about this loom is the satisfying way that the heddle slips into place.

Every time I put the heddle back into one of its stationary spots it always slid in smoothly. Especially the down position. The way that the block that holds the heddle is made allows an audible and pleasing pop as it goes into position.

This may sound like a small thing, but it really did make it a pleasure to weave on. Sometimes it is small things like this that can really make or break a loom. 

If your loom is not a pleasure to weave on, then why would you weave on it?

The smoothness of this movement is especially surprising to me considering the wood was still unfinished. This tells me that despite being unfinished – the wood was prepared well from the factory.

Despite its slightly lower price tag, the Ashford loom is not a loom that can only be used by beginners. It can definitely be used for beginners, but it also has the ability to grow with the weaver and their abilities and desires to weave more intricate things. 


Ashford rigid heddle loom double heddle block

This is all because this loom comes with a built-in spot for a second heddle! Unlike a true beginner rigid heddle loom, the only thing this loom needs to make more complicated weavings is a second heddle. 

You can get extra Ashford rigid heddles HERE.

Another really great thing that the Ashford loom has is the ability to add an extended “freedom roller”. This roller allows you to weave with thicker yarns and weave longer weavings. Disclaimer: I have not tried out this roller so I cannot speak to the ease of adding it on or using it, but I love that it has the option.

You can get the Ashford freedom roller HERE.



Cons of the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Personally, I like a loom with a bit less work on the front end. While it was not hard to assemble, I would have rather had it ready to go (or almost ready) right out of the box. 

I am impatient.

The biggest con for me is the fact that the wood is unfinished. I know that I mentioned earlier that this could be a big pro for some people, but I am not one of them.

If you really want to put your loom together right then you really should be finishing it first. Taking the time to stain your loom also involves waiting for it to dry and possibly giving it another coat. Beyond that, you will probably also want to finish it off with some polish or wax. 

This is something I just do not have time for.

That being said, that is completely subjective and you should make your own decision about how much work you want to have to put into your loom before you can use it.

The second con that I have with this loom is the pawl just does not work as well as I would like. When I go to pull back the pawl to let off the tension and advance my warp you have to be very careful not to pull too hard. If you do then it will pop the pawl out of place and make it no longer effective. The only way to fix this is to push it back into place, but every time I have had to do this (it has been many times) it feels like you are going to break it.

That being said, if you are gentler than I am then it is possible this would not be an issue!

Lastly, this loom has a lot of plastic. Notably, instead of using chords to attach the warp rods to the front and back beams, the Ashford rigid heddle loom uses plastic connectors. While these work the exact same way, there is no reason that I can think of that warrants them being made of plastic.


Who this loom is for


If you are looking for a reasonably priced loom that you want to make your own then this is a great loom for you. While it is not the least expensive rigid heddle loom option, it is one of the least expensive with room to grow. You can use this loom both as a beginner and a more advanced weaver with no issues moving through your weaving journey.

Basically, the Ashford rigid heddle loom is a great loom that was relatively simple to put together, offers room for growth, and is worth the price.


Floor Loom Maintenance Guide

Floor Loom Maintenance Guide

A loom – if taken care of properly – will outlive you. 

I remember the first time that I heard that and realized that it was true. 

Think about it.

There are historic looms that still work and are used every day. I took a tour of Tessitura Bevilaqua in Venice, Italy in May 2018 and I got to walk through the rows of historic jacquard looms from the 18th century that is still being used today to create yards of exquisite velvets. (Learn more about velvets and other pile weaves)

I digress a little, but it really is quite astonishing seeing these looms still working and being used.

That being said, these looms did not just survive all on their own. Instead, they are lovingly tended to and taken care of.

For the most part, I am talking about maintenance of your floor loom, but some of the principles can also apply to table looms, rigid heddle looms, and possibly even frame looms.

Just think about your loom being passed down in your family for centuries, let’s make that happen!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



Humidity and your loom


Humidity is the enemy of your loom.

Since your loom is mostly made from wood, a lot of humidity can and will warp your loom.

I have seen it happen and dealing with a warped harness on your loom is frustrating, to say the least.

Depending on the style loom you have this can make it so your harnesses stick and do not open and close your shed smoothly. This makes it so your weaving flow is disrupted and you have to manually fix your harnesses before moving on.

Then you have to do it again.

… and again.

A loom with fully wooden harnesses and tracks will be the most prone to issues like this, but any loom will suffer from humidity.

If at all possible you want to make sure that your studio is in a place with adequate air conditioning to keep this from happening. A dehumidifier might also be a good investment if you do not have access to an area like this or you live in a place where you want to keep your windows open often and humidity can sneak in.


Loom rust



Rust happens.

Unfortunately, rust will rub off of your loom and onto your yarn.

I do not think I need to tell you that you do not want that.

If your loom parts start to get rusty or you have bought a previously used loom that has rust on it then you should clean this off before starting to weave on it.

While you can use a dedicated rust remover to do this, you can also use straight white vinegar and either sandpaper or steel wool. Either way, make sure to do it outside and I recommend doing it in an area where you do not have grass you are trying to grow! The image above shows moss, but I assure you no moss was harmed.

I also recommend wearing gloves while doing this. I worked on my loom parts over multiple days and the first day I did not wear gloves. My nails were not happy.


How to get rid of rust on your loom


First, separate the rusted metal from your loom if you can – detach rods, set aside your reed, or remove ratchets if possible. One option would be to soak these pieces in vinegar by submerging them completely and letting them sit. You would then need to either rub off the rust or use something abrasive to scrub it off. You then need to dry it off as soon as possible so it does not rust again.

This can work depending on what parts of your loom you are working on.

It may not be necessary to soak your metal pieces though and you may be able to just get away with scrubbing them with vinegar. This works really well for pieces like your loom rods that are smooth. Dip your steel wool in white vinegar and scrub! Just like above, make sure to wipe down and dry all the metal so it does not re-rust. The best thing to do is to dry as you go.



For your loom reed, it can be more difficult and time-consuming. Since the reed has many dents in it that will probably have rust on every side, you will need to spend more time working on each dent individually.

It can be tempting to try to just scrub it all together but trust me, it does not work that well. The steel wool does not get into the dents well enough to scrub the rust off of the middle of each metal bar. You may get a good amount off of each side, but you will still have to go back and individually work on each dent.

I have found that using 600 grit sandpaper and dipping it in white vinegar works well to work on each dent. The most important thing to remember, though, is to dry each dent off after you have finished scrubbing it.

I know that this is the third time I have said that, but it is important. Ask me how I know…

Since rust is caused by the mixture of oxygen and water on metal, the longer the metal stays wet, the more likely it is to redevelop rust. Keeping a rag or paper towel nearby to wipe down as you go will make things a lot easier.

Once you are completely finished you should seal your metal to keep it free from rust in the future. You can do this by using any machine/ metal oil that you can find. I used sewing machine oil because I knew it would be safe for my yarn even after it dried.

If you do not mind using an aerosol then you can also use wd-40 silicone spray, just remember that it is flammable and to dispose of any rags properly. The spray will be simpler than oiling your reed manually, so just choose the option that is right for you.

If your reed had tape on it at the top and bottom that comes off, then you can re-wrap it with either duct tape or cloth tape.




Yarn fuzz and dust



Probably the most regular loom maintenance that you will need to do is dusting. Like most furniture, your loom is prone to collecting dust over time. This is made even worse by the yarn fuzz that will accumulate on your loom as well. Every time your yarn rubs against your heddles or your reed, it could be leaving some fibers behind.

You will want to dust your loom on a regular basis. Make sure to focus on the area around your harnesses and reed, but really make sure to dust it all over. This will keep it good for general use.

When it is time for a deep clean of your loom then you will actually want to use a vacuum to get to those hard-to-reach areas. Mostly, your lamms or anything underneath the loom that does not actually get touched often.

Those areas will be the worst.

I like to use a microfiber duster for this!

I like to dust off my loom between projects. This is just a good way to remember to do it. If you make it a part of your warping process, it will always get done.



Oil/ Grease moving parts


With so many moving parts on your loom, it is easy to see how eventually you might have to give it more than a little elbow grease. Instead, if parts start to stick or creak you may need to apply some actual grease made specifically for your loom to keep things moving.

This should not be something you have to do often, but it is good to keep in mind for the future if something starts acting up. A little goes a long way when it comes to the grease so do not be too heavy-handed.

Likewise, If you have an unfinished loom (some rigid heddle looms come unfinished) then applying a wax polish can help to keep the wood in good shape. This is not something you will need to do right away, but sooner is better than later.

You can check out The Woolery for loom grease, oils, and waxes.



Check apron strings/ harness system


While the loom itself can probably stand the test of time, there are some parts to your loom that you will probably have to replace at some point.

Pretty much anything that is not wood, metal, or plastic could deteriorate and this is pretty normal with wear and tear. Both the manufacturers and sites like The Woolery sell replacement parts for looms that you can usually replace pretty easily.

Your apron strings, some treadle ties, string heddles, and pulley systems may need replacing even if you take good care of your loom. This is just due to the normal wear and tear of them moving and working.

When you do your routine dusting and/or whenever you warp your loom make sure to do a check on these parts. The last thing you want is to be ready to weave and you are held up because of broken parts!


Check Out The Woolery For Loom Parts & More!


Tidy up your floor loom



The simplest bit of loom maintenance that you can do is to just keep it tidy.

If you are like me then after finishing a weaving, your loom looks a bit… messy.

Not only does tidying up your loom just make things look better, but it also allows you to get in there and dust more, add scraps to your scrap jar and find things you probably lost.

Guilty.

Get your loom ready for your next weaving and start fresh!

I hate cleaning, but I always feel better after it is done. Starting with a fresh and clean loom is a great way to clear your head and put everything into the next weaving project.

Find out what you can do with your yarn scraps!


Loom maintenance is important for the health of your loom. If you want to keep your loom around to pass on to future generations or just want to make sure it is always in top shape for your own weaving, then it is good to show it a little love now and then.


Choosing The Right Mix Of Looms For Your Goals

Choosing The Right Mix Of Looms For Your Goals

Having more than one loom is not a necessity to be a weaver.

The only thing you need to be a weaver is a desire to weave and access to a loom and other materials.

If you are lucky enough to have your own studio, then you might be wondering which type of loom you should get and whether or not you should get more than one. Choosing a loom (or looms!) doesn’t have to be complicated and really just depends on what you want to weave and where you want to weave it.

So first: Why would you want more than one loom?

You might not.

But having more looms gives you some options to weave more and keep your weaving momentum. You can create a weaving loom collection that compliments your weaving goals.

So before we get into having more than one loom, let’s first go over looms in general.


Quick loom type comparison


choosing the right mix of weaving looms

I will not be going over every type of each loom. There are just too many! Instead, I will be talking generally about floor looms, frame looms, and rigid heddle looms.

*And a quick note that when I talk about floor looms, the same things usually go for table looms. They work very similarly – I just use floor looms and not table looms.

For a more in-depth comparison between floor looms and rigid heddle looms go HERE.

For information on the different types of frame looms go HERE.

This post is not meant to be a versus post. Instead, it is about making your looms work together and getting the most out of your tools.


Floor looms


choosing a loom floor loom

There are many different types of floor looms, but they all basically do the same thing. They utilize their mechanics to make longer and more complicated weavings. 

One of the biggest features of floor looms is their ability to have advancing warps. This means that you can create longer projects. If you are looking to create yardage* then this is an option that you will want in your studio because their warp capacity, as well as the finished weaving capacity, is much larger than your other options.

*Yardage is woven fabric that is meant to be sewn and used to create textiles like clothing or curtains.

Due to the loom’s ability to raise your warp in different patterns – more complex weavings become simpler to do. You are not required to pick each individual warp to create your own shed. All you are required to do is remember which treadle to step on and in what order.

If you are looking to create a complex pattern weaving then a floor loom is your best option.



When you are looking to weave tapestry you can usually use a floor loom with no issues. Keep in mind that some floor looms are not ideal for tapestry, but most should be able to hold a tight enough tension. High warp looms (those with warp that is perpendicular to the floor) are great for tapestry, but low warp looms (warp parallel to the floor) are a bit controversial for tapestry. As long as it can hold a tight enough tension, though, you should not have any issues.

You can learn more about warp tension HERE.

Another distinguishing feature of floor looms is that their beater is rigid. This means that unlike rigid heddle looms, the beater only moves backward and forward. This makes the weaving process a little more streamlined. This may not be an issue for you at all, but if you want a beater that beats evenly every time with little effort – floor looms are a great choice.


Rigid heddle looms


choosing a loom rigid heddle loom

Like floor looms, rigid heddle looms can weave longer weavings. Generally, they are not as wide, though, so they are not usually used for yardage. This is also because they hold less warp than a floor loom. Don’t worry, their advancing warp still makes them great for longer weavings like scarves or multiple sets of towels. 

One of their (arguably) best features is that they are very simple and efficient to warp. If you are wanting to weave something long, but you don’t want the set-up to take a long time – then these are a great option.

Since they are so easily warped, rigid heddle looms also make great sample looms. If you want to create a long sample (like the one for plain weave patterns) then it is simpler on a rigid heddle loom as opposed to a floor loom.

Just like floor looms, rigid heddle looms also have the ability to create a shed. The shed makes weaving faster because you do not have to weave over and under manually.

Smaller than floor looms, rigid heddle looms also have the ability to be portable. Some are more portable than others (see my review on the Schacht Flip Folding Rigid Heddle Loom), but for the most part, most could be taken with you while traveling or to a workshop.


Frame looms


choosing a loom frame looms

With the many different types of frame looms they can all be better at different things. Generally speaking, frame looms are the best for weaving on the go. They are the most compact loom option and most of the time can fit in a bag or luggage. 

Since they are the smallest option, they are also perfect for weaving smaller projects. (Makes sense.)

A big feature of frame looms is they have much less warp waste. If you were to weave something small on a floor loom then you will be using more yarn than you need to. This makes them a really good choice for samples or just trying out new techniques. It also takes less work to get them set up so you do not waste time warping a loom for something that may not even work!

With frame looms usually having fewer moving parts, they are generally better suited for simpler weavings. Any complex patterns that you want to weave will need to be picked by hand. This does not make these patterns impossible – just more work.

Tapestry is a great option for frame looms since you are able to get really good tension on them. Also, since tapestry is only plain weave, the frame looms tendency towards simpler weaving structures is not an issue here.



Figure out what you want to weave


The most important thing to do when determining what loom or looms you need in your studio is knowing what you want to weave. As discussed above, each loom has its own areas where they excel.

So what should you do?

Sit down and write out what you want to make.

If you are only looking to create small tapestries, there is no need to purchase a rigid heddle loom, but a frame loom would be perfect. You could then consider a floor loom as well in the future to create larger tapestries.

Wanting to only weave scarves? Then a frame loom does not necessarily make sense. (Unless you want to make samples.) A rigid heddle loom would be perfect and a floor loom would help you make multiple scarves with the same warp.

Read more about getting more weavings out of your warp HERE.

You can also consider a checklist like the one I made below.


choosing a loom checklist

Keep your budget in mind


Budget might be one of the most important things to think about when purchasing one loom or more. Frame looms are mostly inexpensive and can probably be added to your studio for not much of an investment. So if you are thinking of adding a second loom, they might be your best option. Especially if you go for something as budget-friendly as a simple frame loom. 

Learn more about simple frame looms HERE.

If you have a specific budget, but you really want to weave yardage or complicated pieces then you might be best off saving up for your floor loom. If those things are not what you are hoping to make, you may consider a rigid heddle loom for longer weavings and a frame loom for small weavings, samples, and weaving on the go.


Utilizing more than one loom at a time


If you have the ability, having more than one loom is a great option for your studio. This way you can be weaving different things at the same time!

This is a great option if you tend to get bored of projects easily (especially those that take awhile.) If you have more looms then you can take a break from one project to work on another.

You could also try some things out on your second loom to see if it works instead of on your main project. This is a great choice if you are unsure if something is going to work out. Try it out on a sample and if it does not work? It’s ok because you do not have to un-weave it – just try something else.

Honestly, with how inexpensive simple frame looms are (you can just upcycle a picture frame) they make the perfect first, second, or third loom for your studio.

Just use your checklist for choosing a loom from there!

What is your preferred mix of looms? Let me know!


-Nicole

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This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!




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