When it comes to weaving books there is always something new.

There is pretty much always something “old” too.

Just because a book is not new and flashy doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valuable addition to your weaving studio library!

One such book that you can always find when searching for rigid heddle books is Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Lynn Davenport. So I figured it was finally time to look it over and see if it’s worth it.

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About the book

hands on rigid heddle weaving review
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Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving is 120 pages of text, black and white illustrations, and color photos throughout that walk you through the process of rigid heddle weaving from start to finish. It was first published in 1987, so it is not a new weaving book. That being said, weaving has been around for over 10,000 years so it is still technically on the newer side if you think of it that way.

Also, it is always good to keep in mind that we can learn new weaving tips from ANY source no matter the age of the information.

Unlike some other subjects, weaving information does not expire so don’t be turned off by the age of the book.

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving has 6 sections (not including the index)

  • Introduction
  • A First Project
  • Discovering Plain Weave
  • Hand-controlled Weaves
  • On Your Own
  • Appendix

Within these different sections you can expect to learn:

How to plan your weaving , choosing yarns, how to choose a rigid heddle, troubleshooting, warping variations, and more!

Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.

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What I like about Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving

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While most often you will probably be direct warping your rigid heddle loom, this book has instructions for how to warp your rigid heddle indirectly instead. While I wish this book had both sets of instructions in case this was your only rigid heddle book, I like that it gives you another option if you want it. Especially because indirect warping is not nearly as popular for rigid heddle weaving and it has it’s own pros.

Having more options helps to eliminate barriers that can come up when you are weaving (or doing really anything). So I will always praise having more options!

Read more about direct vs indirect warping here.

Keep in mind that if you are indirect warping then you will need a warping board. You can learn how to use one here.

This rigid heddle book contains both color photographs and illustrations.

The illustrations that are peppered throughout the book are really well done and add some whimsy. This is a very welcome part of this book because they never feel dated!

Illustrations can also be a great addition to any book because they are solely focused on what they are trying to show you and not competing with a background or anything else. This allows them to be precise and to the point – something that you want in a book that is teaching you how to do something!

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Get It On Amazon!

What I don’t like about it

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Visually speaking, most newer books definitely benefit from feeling fresh and bright. As previously mentioned, since Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving was published in the 80s (not old by any means, but not recently published either) it can feel and look a bit dated. 

Should we hold that against this book?

No, we shouldn’t, but that does not make me wish for brighter, more inviting photos any less. Some of the projects in the book are also a bit dated (think 80s fashion.) That being said, just because something is not exactly as you would want it, it does not mean that you can’t learn from the projects themselves. It is always a good idea to look through the projects regardless of whether you are interested in making them or not because it can help you to better understand how to plan your own projects.

Another thing that I do not love about this book (and other rigid heddle books like it) is it’s sections on tapestry weaving.

I have said it before, and I will probably say it again, but I generally do not recommend rigid heddle looms for tapestry weaving. 

Can it be done?

Of course it can. 

Will you be getting the best tapestry weaving experience?


That being said, if you want to weave tapestry on a rigid heddle loom, I am not going to stop you and no one else should either. Do what is going to be best for you. If you are interested in tapestry and a rigid heddle loom is all you have then go for it. Just know that if you love it (I’m sure you will!) then you may want to invest in a more suitable loom in the future.

If you want a recommendation for a great and inexpensive loom for tapestry then consider a simple frame loom. More looms is always better in my opinion!

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!

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Who this book is for

hands on rigid heddle weaving book review
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Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving is for any weaver that is looking to expand their weaving library!

If that is you then will find this book great to keep on hand. While it can be easy to think that if you have 1 book you will not need any others, having books by different people is always a great thing if you have the space and the means. 

Learning from more than 1 person can only help you to become a better weaver and develop a style and rhythm all your own. So while I always recommend Inventive Weaving On A Little Loom by Syne Mitchell, I also recommend this book for rigid heddle weavers.
I wouldn’t say that Hands On Rigid Heddle Loom is for true beginners, especially considering it does not contain information about direct warping.

But instead it is for someone that already has some knowledge and is looking to expand upon that.

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