I talk a lot about floor looms and rigid heddle looms, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also have love for table looms. In fact, I am quite a big fan of table looms, but only just acquired one for my own studio! They are a fantastic option as both an only loom and an additional loom for your weaving studio.

Weaving on a table loom is not much different than weaving on other multi-harness looms, but there are some differences to discuss!


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Essentially, a table loom is a floor loom but without the treadles. Instead, it has levers that activate the harnesses. These looms also, as their name suggests, are small enough to sit on a table. This makes them a great option for those who don’t have room for a full floor loom set-up!

Different table looms might have different lever systems, but they all pretty much work the same. You can see in the photos just four different lever systems either on the front, side, or top of the loom. You can also find table looms with pretty much any amount of harnesses. From 2 (below left) to 8 (below right) and even more. The Woolery has a great selection of table looms of different sizes, harness amounts, and lever configurations.


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Regardless of the type of levers they have, pressing them down will lift up the attached harnesses and you can lift as many as you want in every single combination you can think of. This is possible because they stay activated until you release them. 

Just like the Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom, there are even some table looms that can be folded up for travel! This is a really cool option if you want to save space in your home and studio or you are traveling with your loom. At this time, I have not personally tried out any of these table looms, but they exist if that is something you are looking for.


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Since table looms and floor looms are essentially the same, you can easily use pattern drafts for floor looms to weave the same thing on a table loom! As we just talked about above, table looms have the ability to activate the harnesses in every combination. This means that you are not limited to the number of treadles listed on the draft.

As long as you understand how to read a weaving pattern draft then you will be able to easily pick up the conversion. 

If you don’t already know how to read a weaving draft then make sure to check out this post so you can brush up on that first.

Ok, so now that you have refreshed yourself on how to read a pattern draft, let’s look at it under the lens of a table loom.

Specifically, we need to focus on the tie-up and treadling sections because that is where our two looms really differ.

The easiest way to convert your draft for your table loom is to break it down into columns and rows. 

We will be looking at 4 harness patterns, but the mechanics are the same for 8+ harness drafts. In the pattern draft, the columns of the tie-up represent the different combinations of levers that will be activated as we weave. Each column will have 1 to 4 squares marked that each represent a lever. 

Since we are not stepping on the treadles and they stay active until released, we can activate as many harnesses as we want at one time! This makes it possible to weave patterns with more tie-up spots than levers.

The treadling portion of the draft tells which levers to activate and when. On a floor loom you can activate more than one harness with a single treadle as long as you tie it up that way. On a table loom, you have to activate the individual harnesses/ levers with each part of the pattern.

Let’s take a look at some examples:


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Example 1

Your pattern draft for plain weave will typically show a straight draft on 4 harnesses. The tie-up will use only 2 treadles with harnesses 1 and 3 on the 1st treadle and 2 and 4 on the 2nd treadle. Based on the treadling pattern you will simply alternate between treadles 1 and 2.

If we take this same draft and look at it in the lens of a table loom then in order to weave it we will have to activate levers 1 and 3 every time there is a mark in the 1st treadle column and then levers 2 and 4 whenever there is a mark in the 2nd treadle column. 


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Example 2

The pattern draft for a 2/2 twill with also show a straight draft on 4 harnesses. The tie up will use 4 treadles with harnesses 1 and 2 on the 1st, 2 and 3 on the 2nd, 3 and 4 on the 3rd, and 1 and 4 on the 4th. Your treadling pattern will be 1, 2, 3, 4 repeat. 

We are now taking these exact same numbers and using them for our table loom! A mark in treadle column 1 will mean activating levers 1 and 2, column 2 – levers 2 and 3, column 3 – levers 3 and 4, and column 4 – levers 1 and 4.

The easiest thing to do is to figure out the pattern and write it out for yourself for when you are actually weaving. Unless you memorize the pattern, this will make everything go faster since you have to remember multiple levers for each pick of the pattern. 

So if I were to write out the weaving pattern for a 2/2 twill it would look something like this:

1 + 2, 2 + 3, 3 + 4, 1 + 4, repeat

I’ll usually put this on a sticky note on the castle of my loom so I can easily see it while I am weaving. The adhesives on the sticky note are also pretty mild so they won’t damage your loom at all. 



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There are so many different types of table looms out there that this post is not even going to begin to cover it. Instead, lets look at some options that you will come across and what you might want to consider before a loom purchase.

Like pretty much all looms, you will want to pay attention to size, price, and functionality.

  • Will the loom fit your studio and what you want to create?
  • Does the loom fit into your budget? (Consider new and used options. The loom above is my new-to-me table loom that I got second-hand)
  • Will the loom do what you need it to do?

These are generally the most important questions that you will need to answer. When it comes to table looms, though, there may be some more options to consider.

  • Do you need a loom that will travel well? There are some table looms out there that will fold up with your weaving still on them – making them perfect to take with you wherever you want to weave!
  • Do you want to convert your rigid heddle to a table loom? The Schacht Cricket has a conversion kit available to turn it into a 4 harness table loom! This could be a great option if you already have a Cricket and don’t want to purchase an entirely new loom. (I have not tried the Cricket Quartet, but it seems like a pretty interesting option).
  • Do you need a table loom that has a stand? A lot of table looms actually have optional stands so you don’t even need a table! This can be a great option if you don’t have a space to dedicate to a table loom.

Regardless of your needs, there is probably a table loom out there for you!


If you are looking for a weaving option that lets you weave like a floor loom for a size that is closer to a rigid heddle, then a table loom could be a really great option for you. There are many different types of table looms out there from different companies – all offering slightly different experiences, but all ultimately allowing you another option to weave and create the way that works best for you.


-Nicole
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