Friday, February 15, 2013

So, what about a rigid heddle loom?

I received a request this week from a woman looking for beginning weaving classes.  We exchanged a few emails and by the third response it was clear she was only interested in learning on a floor loom.  I gave her the following information:
I teach beginning weaving using rigid heddle looms.  If you would like to rent or purchase a floor loom, I am happy to assist with the loan or purchase.  In reply she wrote "No, I do not want to learn on a rigid heddle loom.  I want to learn on a real loom".
Houndstooth scarf woven on the rh loom
What can I say?  Rigid heddle looms are real looms and if Jane Patrick ,Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Co., can write an entire book about weaving on a rigid heddle loom, what further endorsement do you need. In fact, Jane wrote "This is what I mean about the power of the rigid heddle loom.  It is simple and complicated at the same time." (p. 88 of The Weaver's Idea Book).

There are three words in that statement that stand out, power, simple and complicated.  Those three words describe the rigid heddle loom.  It is a powerful loom because it is both simple and complex.  You can weave simple plain weave or you can design patterns incorporating complex lace structures.  There is so much you can do and so many projects you can make with this very simple, inexpensive tool.
Plus, a new rigid heddle loom is one tenth the cost of the average floor loom!  What better way to learn to weave.

So, back to my insistent emailer.  What to do?  I want to teach and I enjoy working with people who have enthusiasm for weaving.  I don't own a floor loom I can rent or teach on and it's not in my budget at this time to buy one.  I encouraged her to consider the rigid heddle loom and gave her several good reasons why it's a great way to start your weaving exploration.  I don't believe I'll hear back from her.  I hope she finds a teacher who can meet her needs and requirements.  It's a shame she is not open to a different possibility.  Several people I have taught to weave on a rigid heddle loom have purchased and enjoyed weaving on floor looms.  After their experience on a rigid heddle loom, they felt confident about how a loom functions and had the skills to weave on a different loom.  It's a shame so many people discount how versatile a rigid heddle loom is and what an excellent tool it is for a beginning weaver.

I  offer classes on weaving on a rigid heddle loom in my home studio in Poolesville Maryland and online via web conferencing.  Please feel free to contact me if you are interested.  My email address is

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