We continue to received a wealth of really great questions regarding Ashford Rigid Heddle and Knitters looms. Today's post highlights a number of FAQ's regarding the purchase of a new loom.
My personal answers are attached. They reflect my own experience as a Rigid Heddle mega-fan and an Ashford retailer over the past 20 years. The opinions of others may vary.
Where do I start in choosing a loom size?
In terms of choosing a loom width, the smallest looms 10"-12” are perfect for scarves, small accessories and sampling, 16” will also provide enough width for tableware.
A 20” loom is wide enough for most shawls, 24” provides the cloth width required for most sewing patterns 32” will, of course do all of this as well as small blankets and floor mats.
Rigid or folding (knitters loom)?
In my opinion the rigid looms are a little sturdier.
The folding looms are excellent and super-portable but of course there is a (small) compromise in that they have a little give or movement as you work.
This does not affect your weaving project and doesn’t bother me at all when I use these looms though I think perhaps weavers who have lots of experience on large looms may find this a little distracting.
In terms of space requirement the rigid looms will store under a bed or hanging on bicycle hooks although they are not quite as space efficient as knitters looms.
All of the stands (for rigid and folding looms) can be taken apart simply by turning a set of knobs. They do not require a tool set after the initial assembly.
Trying to decide between a 28” knitters loom and a 32” rigid heddle loom
The only difference between these two is their size and folding capability.
In terms of function they are equal. The stand set-up for the rigid Heddle vs Knitters loom is more substantial but not as travel friendly.
Is a 32” rigid heddle too large for me?
Our most popular sizes sold are the 20-24” models as both lend a good width for shawls.
If you are feeling uncomfortable about not having the extra length, the 32” is not significantly more expensive. In terms of working on a 32” it is as simple to operate as the smaller models. The only thing that I would mention to you is that the 32” rigid heddle is a bit too large to work on without a frame. The idea is that smaller looms, say 16” or less can be worked against a table supported in your lap. At 20” some people prefer to use a stand and others weave without one. I would definitely suggest that looms 24” and up require a stand.
Which additional reeds do you recommend?
The heddle that comes with all Ashford rigid heddle and knitters looms is a 7.5 dpi, suitable for a standard worsted weight yarn (such as Briggs and Little).
For lace weight shawls you may want a 15dpi heddle. A common cloth weight for dish towels etc used are 10 and 12.5 dpi heddles (sett with either a single or double strand).
A super-bulky textured scarf will use a 5dpi heddle.
What is a vari-dent reed?
A vari-dent reed offers the ability to accommodate different sized yarns in small segments across the width of your reed. This allows you to dress the loom with a custom warp, meaning endless possibilities for cloth of your own design!
Would a Rigid heddle loom make a good gift for my daughter?
I absolutely love rigid heddle looms. I use them in the shop and have one at home as well. I think it’s a fantastic gift for anyone who like to work with fibre!