Honestly, my favorite rigid heddle loom is……

29 12 2011

If you’ve read the rigid heddle loom review, you may have used it to help you find the right loom for you, based on your criteria. If your criteria is cost alone, you bought the Beka, If you are specifically interested in using your rigid heddle loom for tapestry, hopefully, you got the Penelope. If you are traveling, and want a compact loom, you probably got the flip, or the Kromski folding loom. Whatever your specific criteria or expectations are from the loom, the review offered some guidance.

Through the years that I’ve had product reviews up, people have drawn from the reviews their own conclusions as to what my preferences were. So, tonight, I’m going to tell you what I choose to weave on, and why. For tapestry that I will take with me,  I like a rigid heddle loom, and use the Penelope II. It doesn’t have the ability to use the rigid heddle as a beater, and that’s fine with me. It limits the loom in it’s use for continuous, pattern weaving, but it’s just right for me for tapestry. I can warp it with a nice long warp also. Because I use an upright tapestry floor loom, the upright feature of the Penelope is a natural choice.

Of the horizontal, rigid heddle looms, I choose the Ashfords. I have two of them. One is narrow and one is wider. Both have stands. I may even have 3, couldn’t tell you for sure, tonight. I like the heft of the loom in my hands,  like the stand for the Ashford, and I like the colored rigid heddle. The thing I don’t love about it, is the dumb plastic things that connect the warp rod and the warp beam, as well as the front “apron” rod and the cloth beam. Oh well, nothing is perfect, and I often choose favorites that aren’t the most popular looms or items on other people’s list. There you have it;0D

This isn’t to say that these are the best looms. They are the looms that harmonize with my weaving self. A natural “fit” with my weaving quietude. Though I weave professionally, I’m not a production weaver. My work is on a commission basis, because I prefer the peace of weaving in conjunction with my natural rhythms, rather than working on a pushed schedule. Unfortunately, I am most inspired to work by a looming deadline.  My commissions are generally woven on floor looms, but I’ve sold pieces off the rigid heddle loom for respectable money. Don’t undersell yourself, because you are then underselling all weavers and all handcraftsmen.

What’s your favorite loom, and why?  You can respond by e-mail, or in the comments section. I really want to know, and think other folks do too.

Weave joyfully.



Returning to the Studio – Wed. 10/28/09

25 10 2009

Ahhh, we are almost home! We have been on the road since last Sunday at the crack of daylight, traveling to Grand Canyon with all kinds of fun stops along our journey. We found ourselves ‘Standing on a Corner on Winslow, Arizona” just yesterday, gettin’ our kicks on Route 66 the same day! We visited the Grand Canyon, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, toured the Celestial Seasonings plant, and Schacht Spindle and Loom Company in Boulder, and much more.  It has been an awesome trip. We traveled 700+ miles today, and will do the same tomorrow, finishing our trip on Tues…. a day early….. with a little over 600 miles (WHEW!).  Total miles have not been calculated, but it looks like 4000+ miles for the 8 days.

Don’t ask me how few I drove;0)

I’m looking forward to being back in the studio with you all on Wed. and then Thurs and with the folks in the Learn to Weave in a Weekend class on Sat. and Sunday. I still have an opening in the weaving class this weekend, and a couple of spaces in the Wed. night weaving classes beginning in Nov. Hope you will join us in my weaving and fiber arts studio in Richmond, VA.


small loom weaving class – thurs. nights

9 09 2009

I’m beginning a small looms weaving class on Thursday nights from 6:30 – 9:00.

The first session will meet from 9/24 – 10/15.  It’s 10 instructional hours.

This is in the far west end of Richmond, VA.  Contact me if you are interested.  It’s rigid heddle looms, table looms, frame looms, and tapestry looms.

I’ve also posted a couple of wetfelting-by-hand classes. hat-felting, and rug felting, and a weekday and weeknight sewing class.  HOpe this helps some of you that I had to put on the waiting list.  visit the ‘contact me’ page for information on how to reach me if you have questions.  Much love.


tapestry off the loom

25 08 2009

UGH, I finally got my tapestry off the loom.  It’s been a lot of fun, but man, that’s killer!

Here is a low quality pic of it.0825091747a

Amazing workshop!

15 03 2008

What a great time!!!! This was one of those perfect days, in which I enjoyed the workshop, and the students as much as the students did. These 3 ladies are so full of joy and fun that they filled the studio with it.
All 3 ladies got their projects on the looms quickly and without any problems. Hazel was working with chiengora yarn that she spun from her dog’s fur. It is a very clean white and turned out to be a nice warp. She really seemed to have found exactly what she wanted from the loom and the workshop. She is also an accomplished painter.

Cyndee got her loom dressed with a fine linen, which is a little inflexible, but it is really working for her. She crossed the first inch or two with alpaca and it feels soft and nurturing.

Helen dressed her loom with a 20/2 mercerized cotton warp in a sort of ruby red. She is interested in doing some fine tapestry work. She is a cool lady, strong in her faith which encourages me, also! She did the most tapestry work today, working on some interlocking and some slit tapestry.

Don’t forget that I’m starting a Tues morning weaving group at roseneath rd, and have an opening now. We will meet from 10 am – 12:30 am, right in the fan district of Richmond, va. Hope you will join us.

My bizarre tapestry

14 01 2008

Ok, here are 2 pics of the odd little tapestry I did this week. I wanted to do some pattern weaving in a tapestry type piece, and wanted some rya knots in it also. So here is the strange little piece I did. Yech!
I’m still working on the new tapestry loom that I hope to have saleable in a few weeks….4-6. After talking to Sue and Stu I’m thinking is should weave at least 24 inches, and maybe should have some sort of reed-like divise. Hmmm, it’s still a work in progress.
Please click on the pictures and you can see much more detail.

A Loom Review

6 01 2008

I thought I would do a loom review today. Since I own, or have owned so many looms that I rate many of them for you. Mind you, some of them aren’t made anymore, but many of us/you buy used looms, so I’m reviewing any that I have used or taught on regularly that you might still encounter. If it isn’t here, I haven’t used it, and so I can’t offer you advice on it, OK?

My #1 most favorite loom is my 16 harness, 45″ Macomber. It’s sturdy, never walks around when I use it. I like the tie-up system and for the most part, I like the super clips. The loom is very stable and durable. It can weave linen, mohair, wool, silk, tencel, cotton, qiviut, camel, alpaca, or whatever you can think to throw it’s way, and you can beat the livin daylights out of whatever you are using for weft without ever phasing this loom. It’s a wonderful loom. If we were talking about cars, Macomber would be a Mercedes! (yes, there are more expensive cars and there are more expensive looms, but Mercedes represents both performance and durability as well as stability, so it fits). I would recommend Macomber looms over any other loom available.

I also have 2 baby Macs, which are very good looms and I enjoy them tremendously. For my studio, they are very versitile, and fold up to an incredibly compact state. Once, I even got one in a rolling suitcase:0) There are drawbacks, however. These looms tend to pop the pins used for tie-up. I have taken these looms for demos, and not been able to weave because the super hooks, would not stay on the loom. Similarly, you can’t fold the loom up with the super clips on, as they fall off easily. The loom doesn’t have as much stability as Leclerc’s Compact 24 and although I love them (they are Macombers), I do recognize their failings. My students don’t like them as much as the Leclerc’s because they are so small that they seem like miniature looms. In general, Macs are my favorite looms.

Next, I have a Lillstina, 6 Leclerc Compact 24’s, an AVL 12 harness mechanical dobby and 2 students in my Roseneath studio have hand made looms by private individuals. Once is fashioned after the HD looms and the other is a lot like a hardwood Norwood loom. I have taught on Hammets and Leclerc Fanny’s.
So let’s discuss them.
I love the Lillistina. It’s very light despite the fact that it weaves 45″. I can push this loom across the floor with a finger. It doesn’t walk as I weave with it, and it can be folded up and packed away fairly easily and flat. I like most Scandinavian looms. They are just SIMPLE! The harnesses are raised and lowered by balances, not rollers. Think of drilling a hole in the 6″ mark of a 12″ ruler, and hanging weights on it so you could tilt one side or the other to raise. It’s like that. I keeps a nice tension and fits my personality. Problems? If you crank the tension too tight, the hooks that hold it together release and the loom collapses into it’s folded position, which I believe could break your warp not to mention the fright that it gives the weaver.
Oh well, some things we love simply because we have chemistry with them. I have chemistry with my Lillstina.

My AVl I loved and continue to love each time I use it. I just don’t use it that much. It’s a great weave. It was wonderful when the kids were little and I needed to be able to set it up in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep, and then I could weave mindlessly during the day. Now, I want to think about my weaving more, and watch what is happening, trouble shoot, and even alter the treadling as I go. Yes, I can be a rather stream of consciousness weaver sometimes. The AVL has a great built in raddle, which I love. I has a friction brake, love it, has texsolve heddles, is a little noisy, folds compactly, and is light. Similarly, I like the beauty of the loom. It’s designed very differently than most looms. It’s not great for anything that needs very tight tension and I like to weave linen, so it’s not my favorite, but it’s a very good loom. Bear in mind that mine is maybe 20+ years old.

Hammetts, I think are simple looms and very useful. I definitely have taught on my share of them. They have a few problems, ie., the lamm pins slip out of the harnesses a lot, but I conquered that fairly early on. These looms are very stable, but a bit blocky. If I had the space and a free one found it’s way into the studio, I would keep it for a while, but would eventually have to have Macombers or Leclercs instead.

I would hope to never own a Herald loom. I taught on one for years, and it created misery in my life the whole time. When we finally sold those looms and bought new ones, I wouldn’t give that one away. It had caused me so much misery that I wanted to burn it! Instead, I decided it would pay for the misery it caused and I took it apart and used the various parts to mount fiber art for sale. It would pay me back!!!!! The first piece that I mounted that way was burned up in a fire. The gallery it was in, was arsonized. Can you believe it? Anyway, stay away from Herrald looms.

Leclerc Looms…..Hmmm, I have always considered Leclerc as the Chevrolet of looms. It is a sturdy loom that can go the distance. It’s reliable. It’s well thought out, but would never make you feel special weaving on one. They are for the most part functional looms. That’s what looms are for, right? Well, sometimes, you can weave on a loom and know that the designer was a weaver. Although I know that Msr. Leclerc was a weaver, his looms don’t reflect that to me. I just don’t see the innovation that I see in Mr. Ahrens’ looms, or in Louet looms, or even the Macomber’s looms. But they will do the job and probably never let you down (I can speak from the perspective of one who has owned or woven on the Artisat, Nilus, Compact 24, the Dorothy, the Fanny, and the Bergere). So the Leclerc is a very good buy for someone who is on a budget, and wants to never regret the money they have spent to get a functional loom. I would also group the old Union rug looms in with these since the roller type counter-balance looms are all quite similar.

For tapestry, I am developing my own loom. I don’t like the rigid heddle looms much, and don’t think you should have to pay a fortune for a tapestry loom. Hopefully this loom will be out in late Feb.

Hope this helps you. If I mentioned one, but didn’t review it, I’m sorry. My tendonitis is starting to hurt.
Talk later.