As fibre lovers, we like to play with yarn. In addition to knitting and crochet, we're constantly looking (and playing) with other mediums: needle felting, spinning, rug hooking and weaving. Weaving allows you to make a fine fabric, something that would take you hours to painstakingly knit or crochet. But the price and size of a loom can be a barrier to trying it out. There are several different types of weaving looms and price points to match. If you'd like to try out weaving, a good place to start is with a rigid heddle loom.
Rigid heddle looms are portable. You can set it up on your kitchen table or buy a stand for it so you can weave anywhere you like. Because of it's smaller size, it's the perfect companion for those of us who have built a yarn stash based on knitting or crochet. With a smaller loom, you are more likely to make smaller projects requiring smaller amounts of yarn, so that ball of sock yarn that you just don't have the heart to knit into socks can become the warp yarn for an amazing scarf, table runner or shawl.
At River City Yarns, we carry two lines for Rigid Heddle Looms: from Ashford Handicrafts (New Zealand) and the Schacht Spindle Company (USA). Both companies make beautiful wooden looms and support their products with how to videos, books and dvds. Ashford produces a line of Knitter's Looms that extremely portable. You can fold it up and put it in a carry bag, making it a perfect loom for taking classes, travelling or just putting away your work in between your weaving times. The Knitter's Loom comes in three options for size (width): 12, 20 or 28 inches. It's made from Silver Beech hardwood and comes completely finished (lacquered) with no assembly required. Ashford's Rigid Heddle looms don't fold up but are still completely portable and light. Also made with Silver Beech and completely finished, the Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom comes in more size options: 16, 24, 32 or 48 inch widths. There is also an option for a second heddle kit (expanding the options for the complexity of weaving designs you can make).
I have a 20 inch Knitter's Loom from Ashford and I love it. It's just the right size for me; I live in a condo and have to put away my fibre art when I'm done with it. But I also love that I can pack it up and take it on a plane with me. Just 'cause! The lacquered finish means I don't have to constantly oil it in our dry Alberta climate. I'm looking forward to learning how to use it better in our upcoming class: Introduction to Rigid Heddle Weaving. Our instructor, Kim, will show us how to warp and play with different fibres so this is a great opportunity to go diving in the stash to find a wide variety of weights, textures and fibres.
Want to get in on the fun? We always keep a couple of Ashford looms in stock at the store. Come in and see them and sign up for a class. You'll be making fabric in no time!