Things to Consider Before Buying a Loom

by Ragtimelil

Before you put down money on an expensive loom, take a look at some less expensive options that will give you a chance to see which loom you really want.

New looms can cost a great deal of money. If you're new to weaving or haven't learned to weave yet, the price can be quite a stumbling block and the variety of looms can be overwhelming. Here's some tips for getting started on weaving without breaking the bank.

Do It Yourself Looms

There are so many types of looms it can be overwhelming. There are backstrap looms, inkle looms, frame looms, tapestry looms, barn looms, rug looms, vertical looms, horizontal looms, lap looms and triangle looms. If you haven’t learned how to weave yet, I suggest you get a simple frame loom or lap loom and try it out first. They are inexpensive ways to experiment before putting out cash for a more expensive loom.

Frame Loom

 

Frame looms can be purchased or made inexpensively and can give you some idea of what you’d like to weave later on. You can do tapestry as well as plain weave on a frame loom. Some experienced tapestry weavers prefer the frame loom and have many sizes to accommodate any project.I have some instructions here for making your own frame loom.

 

 

Tapistry on a frame loom

 

Another option is to take weaving lessons if there is a class nearby. If they have looms available, you can learn to weave and try out looms at the same time.

 

Lap Loom from Harrisville Designs

Harrisville Designs / Extra Value Lap Loom A with Two Complete Weaving Projects

Harrisville Designs Lap Looms are portable hardwood tapestry or frame looms that can be woven on while resting on a table, floor or, yes, your lap! This special value set includ...

Only $63.99
Frame-Loom Weaving

$92.50  $59.20
Tapestry Weaving

Kirsten Glasbrook's beautiful designs, with their brilliant color ranges and evocative images, are combined with easy-to-follow instructions and detailed step-by-step photograph...

$21.95  $21.74

Inkle and Card Weaving

Another type of inexpensive loom that is a lot of fun is an inkle loom. They were designed to weave strips for belts, bag handles and other items, but can be sewn together to make interesting fabric.

Inkle Loom

Inkle Weaving

 

You can use the same loom to do card weaving which also make beautiful strips. The cards for this type of weaving are very inexpensive and you don’t really need a loom at all, although I find it easier to manage when it’s secured on a loom

Band Looms and Cards

The Weaver's Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves

From expert weaver Anne Dixon is The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory –the ultimate resource for inkle weavers. Inkle weaving is a simple technique that offers ample opportunity...

$29.99  $16.08
Card Weaving

With nothing more than colored yarn and simple cardboard squares, crafters can produce exquisitely patterned woven bands with this guide, which includes patterns for sturdy belt...

$24.95  $12.91
Schacht Inkle Loom

Schacht Inkle Loom is great for narrow bands and belts. It requires little additional equipment, is easy to use and understand, and is easily stored. This Inkle loom is built wi...

Card Weaving Cards-25/Pkg

LACIS-Weaving Cards. A Set of 25 laminated cards: each one measuring 2-1/2 inches square. They will not tear and provide a smooth surface for manipulation. Hole designations are...

$16.00  $9.66

Rigid Heddle Looms

If you want to weave fabric for dishtowels, clothing, or other projects but don’t want to spend a lot of money, I highly recommend a rigid heddle loom. The come in a variety of widths, from narrow child sized looms to wide models that have their own stand. They are much less expensive than multi harness looms, and with practice, you can weave interesting patterns with pick up sticks. I’ve done some of the patterns in the bookThe Weaver's Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom, and was excited to see how easy it was to do patterns usually seen only on multi harness weaving. A rigid heddle loom can also serve as a portable loom when you want to travel as well as a loom to weave samples and experiment before warping a bigger loom.

 My Rigid Heddle Loom

Looms, Books and Stands

Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving

With instructions for how to make wonderful projects and plain-weave variations, this user-friendly guide covers choosing, setting up, and weaving on a rigid heddle loom. Both b...

$26.99  $14.15
The Weaver's Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom

New and experienced weavers alike are always on the lookout for new weave-structure patterns. The Weaver's Idea Book presents a wide variety of patterns for the simple rigid-hed...

$29.99  $18.42
Beka Rigid Heddle Childs Loom 10"

Our CHILD'S WEAVING LOOM is perfect for the young and the young-at-heart. An excellent loom for the beginning weaver, it also performs well as a portable loom for more experienc...

$64.99  $59.99
Ashford Weaving Rigid Heddle Loom - 16"

The Ashford Rigid Heddle Weaving Loom is great for beginning weavers! It keeps weaving fun as it's easy to warp, this loom actually warps in minutes! The Ashford Rigid Heddle is...

Only $181.56
Ashford Weaving Rigid Heddle Loom - 32"

The Ashford Rigid Heddle Weaving Loom is great for beginning weavers! It keeps weaving fun as it's easy to warp, this loom actually warps in minutes! The Ashford Rigid Heddle is...

Only $232.14
Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Stand 16in Weaving Loom Stand

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Stand 16 inch Weaving Loom Stand. Stand for rigid heddle loom. The stand for your rigid heddle loom creates a free-standing loom with adjustable tilt, ...

Only $140.00

Harness Looms

Multi harness looms

Harnesses are the means by which the warps are raised and lowered. Multi harness looms can have 2, 4, 8,16 or more harnesses. The more harnesses you have the more complex patterns you can weave. Too many harnesses, however, makes it more difficult to warp the loom.  Multi harness looms come in many sizes so you need to consider how much room you have to set up your loom.

 

Table looms come in many widths. Some even have their own stand so that you don’t have to sacrifice table space to set it up. However, a stand will take up floor space.

This is a picture of my home made table loom.handmade table loom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floor looms can take up space as small as a coffee table to the size of a room. Barn looms were kept in their own shed because of the space they took up. They were older looms used to weave rugged fabric and rugs with a wide width. Some looms are designed to fold to make them more portable.

My folding loom

Some Looms I've Owned

Big  Bertha Rug Loom
Big Bertha Rug Loom
Pettey
Small but Heavy Little Loom
Small but Heavy Little Loom
Pettey
Small but Heavy loom folded
Small but Heavy loom folded
Pettey
My wonderful little Dorset folding loom
My wonderful little Dorset folding loom
Pettey

Used Looms

Don’t forget to think about what type of weaving you really like to do. If you really like to do scarves, you don’t need a big rug loom. If you like to do rugs, a light weight, narrow loom won’t do the job for you. If you’re not sure, a mid sized loom will do a little of all types. Reeds can be changed to accommodate different thicknesses of warp. Wider fabric can be made by sewing strips together or learning to do a double width weave.

You can pay a lot of money for a new loom or you can hunt around for a used one for less money. Study the parts of a loom before looking at used looms to make sure everything is there. Often people sell old looms that have been in their family for a good price, but don’t know themselves anything about looms or weaving. The more you know, the better chance you have of getting a good loom for a decent price.

Beginning Weaving

Learning to Weave

Originally published in 1995, more than 40,000 weavers have used this unparalleled study guide to learn from scratch or to hone their skills. Written with a mentoring voice, eac...

$26.99  $15.27
Beginning Four Harness Weaving

You begin by measuring the warp on a warping board and then you'll warp the loom from front to back. You will learn how to read a weaving draft (pattern), how to tie up the loom...

Only $49.99

Weavers

Navajo Weaver, C1905
Man Weaving on a Large Hand-Loom

All photos by LN Pettey

Updated: 09/04/2012, Ragtimelil
 
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2

Did You Ever Think of Taking Up Weaving?


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Ragtimelil on 08/01/2012

Go for it. You can get a small one to test the waters and then....the sky's the limit!

katiem2 on 08/01/2012

The weaving thing has really gotten my attention. I love rugs and such. I'm really impressed with these looms and your tips on picking one out. Hmmm thinking about it!!! :)K

Ragtimelil on 07/06/2012

I know what you mean.
Thanks

BrendaReeves on 07/06/2012

This is a great article, just when I thought all the topics in the world had been written a zillion times. I have so many hobbies I don't dare ad this one although I'd like to.

Ragtimelil on 07/06/2012

Wow Thanks! Is it your blog?

2uesday on 07/06/2012

I have added a link to this on a blog about weaving as I think it contains useful advice for anyone considering purchasing a loom. The photos are helpful too, they help to identify the different types of loom available and how they look.

chefkeem on 07/03/2012

Well, we were discussing scarves for tomatoes with wigs, and which loom to use for weaving those scarves. And then we got side-tracked. Okay, let's stop it. Other people's comments are looming already...

Ragtimelil on 07/03/2012

Ewwww. That's it. MY tomatoes are going to wear scarves!
(exactly how did we get here from buying a loom?)

chefkeem on 07/03/2012

Hehe...maybe so. People do the darndest thangs! I wouldn't want to pull hairs outta my teeth after every BLT, no.

Ragtimelil on 07/03/2012

Were they looking for wigs for their heirloom tomatoes?


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