More Info Rigid Heddle Looms
Rigid heddle looms are a easy and less expensive way for people to start weaving. Rigid heddle looms are slower to weave with and aren’t as flexible as the floor looms, but there are still many, many types of projects that are well suited to this type of loom.
Loom Brand Features & Benefits
The differences between the different brands of RH (rigid heddle) Looms are in the features that each loom has. RH weaving is RH weaving for the most part. The differences between the different RH looms are:
Ashford RH Loom: Unfinished wood, a wider range of heddle sizes (2.5 dent to 12.5 dent) than other companies, the ability to add a second heddle, locking pawls which helps keep proper tension should you move your loom or tip it over. This loom does not fold. It is available in 16, 24, and 32 inch weaving width.
Ashford Knitters Loom: Finished wood, folding loom, a wider range of heddle sizes (2.5 dent to 12.5 dent), the ability to add a second heddle, locking pawls which helps keep proper tension should you move your loom or tip it over. This is a particularly nice feature for a folding loom as you can fold it with a project on the loom. It is available in 12, 20 and 28 inch weaving width.
Ashford Sample It: This is a compact, non-folding loom with unfinished wood. It has the same wide range of heddle sizes (2.5 dent to 12.5 dent) that Ashford is known for. This loom cannot accept a second heddle. It is available in 8 inch weaving width.
Kromski Harp Forte: Folding loom, standard heddle sizes ( 5, 8, 10, 12 dent), the ability to add a second heddle, it has a metal, magnetic ratchet and pawl system. They are one of three companies that uses metal for the ratchet/pawl. The Harp also comes with a removable warping board* that is built into the back of the loom. This is the only RH loom with this feature as most RH loom use a only a warping peg. You can use either a peg or the warping board for this loom. The board makes it easier to wind longer warps. It is available in 16, 24, and 32 inch weaving width.
Glimakra Emilia: Folding loom, smaller range of heddle sizes (8, 10, 12 dent), the back of the loom is canted upwards which means it has a slightly smaller foot print, has the ability to add a second heddle, and it has metal ratchets/pawls. It is available in 13 and 19 inch weaving width.
Glimakra Susanna: The big sister to the Emilia, the only difference is that it does not fold and has a wider weaving width. It is available in 27 inch weaving width.
Schacht Flip: Folding loom, standard heddle sizes (5, 8, 10, 12 dent), variable dent heddle which allows to have 2 inch sections of different dent sizes in the same heddle (good for weaving with different yarns at the same time), super sturdy loom, and a customer only needs to purchase a second heddle to use two heddles while weaving instead of having to buy an add-on kit. This is the only RH loom that you do not need an add-on kit to use two heddles. It is available in 15, 20, 25 & 30 inch weaving width.
Schacht Cricket: This is a compact, non-folding RH loom. The Cricket is very sturdy and has the standard heddle sizes (5, 8, 10, 12 dent) as well as the option for Schacht’s variable dent heddle. This loom cannot accommodate a second heddle. It is available in 10 and 15 inch weaving width. It is available in 10 and 15 inch weaving width.
Leclerc Bergere: This is a sturdy RH loom that doesn’t fold and has metal ratchets and pawls. There is the option of adding a second heddle to this loom. There are 6, 8, 10, and 12 dent heddles available for this loom. It is available 24 inch weaving width.
Beka Rigid Heddle: This is a bare bones RH loom. The heddle sizes come in 8, 10, and 12 dent. It does not come with a warping peg so either a peg or warping board will need to be purchased to warp the loom. The blocks on this loom do not hold the heddles in place unlike other RH looms. It is available in 20 and 24 inch weaving width.
Beka Beginners Rigid Heddle Loom: This is an even more bare bones RH loom. It does not have a heddle block to secure the rigid heddle i place while weaving and there is not a traditional cloth or warp beam. This also does not come with a warping peg. The heddles come in 8, 10, and 12 dent. It is available in 4 inch and 10 inch weaving width.
Harrisville Rigid Heddle Loom: This is another very basic RH loom. It does not have a warping peg to warp the loom. It is available in 6.5 and 15 inch weaving width.
Yarns for Rigid Heddle Looms
RH looms are best suited for knitting weight yarns. They are a great bridge into weaving for a knitter who is overwhelmed by their stash and wants a faster way to turn their yarn into a finished project. The weaver has to match their yarn to their rigid heddle. The dent size dictates the size of the yarn used. The following chart gives you a good idea of what yarn is used at what dent.
2.5 Dent Rigid Heddle: Bulky and Super Bulky yarns
5 Dent Rigid Heddle: Light Bulky and Bulky Yarns
8 (7.5 if Ashford) Dent Rigid Heddle: Worsted Weight Yarns
10 Dent Rigid Heddle: Sport/ Heavy Fingering Weight Yarns,
12 Dent Rigid Heddle: Fingering/Heavy Laceweight Knitting yarns
Some of the heavier cotton weaving yarns (3/2 in particular) can be used in the 10 and 12 dent heddle depending on what the weaver wants to do. Lighter weight yarns can be used with the proper accessories which are covered bellow.
Accessories for Rigid Heddle Looms
Second Heddle Kit: This has two functions. It can allow a RH loom to mimic a four harness loom. It also can allow a weaver to use the finer cotton weaving yarns used on floor and table looms. If a person is going to weave with two heddles they have to be the same dent size, IE They can use two 10 dent heddles, but not one 10 dent and one 8 dent heddle.
Pick Up Sticks: Pick up sticks also allow a weaver to have their RH loom mimic a multi harness loom. They are used to create patterns in the fabric. Some of the most complicated patterns require 2 or more pick up sticks.
Stick Shuttles: Stick shuttles come in varying widths. It is easier to weave when your stick shuttle is close to the width of your weaving. If it is considerably longer it is awkward to handle. If it is shorter then it is very difficult as you have to reach through your weaving to grab the other end of the shuttle.
Stands: Stands are very useful, particularly with the wider looms as trying to balance a wide loom on your lap when propped against the table is difficult!
Flip Loom Trap: This is an accessory only available to the Schacht Flip looms. It creates a sling on the front of the loom that is a convent place to put your shuttle down and keep other items needed while weaving close at hand.
Bags: The Kromski, Flip, Cricket, and Ashford looms all offer a bag option. This is a great way to protect your loom if you travel with it or to keep dust off of it when not weaving on the loom.
Additional Rigid Heddles: Since the rigid heddle dictates the yarn that is used to weave with most RH weavers end up with all the different sizes of heddles.
Warping Pegs/Warping Boards*: Some of the looms do not come with a warping peg, those looms need a warping peg or warping board to organize the warp threads before they are wound onto the loom.
*A warping board is a separate piece of equipment that assists in keeping your yarn organized, measured to the same length, and tensioned evenly when getting your warp (vertical) threads ready to go onto the loom. Most RH looms use a warping peg instead, which is easier but isn’t as flexible when mixing yarn types or doing longer warps.