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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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