If you are thinking about buying a loom you will need to understand the basics of weaving -
In woven fabrics, two sets of yarns cross perpendicular to one another. One set, known as the warp, is held taut on the loom while the weft set is woven over and under the suspended warp.
More complex looms raise or lower groups of the warp threads to create a pattern. The space made is called the shed. Yarn, loaded on a shuttle, is then passed through the shed until it reaches the other side of the suspended warp threads. Altering the shed with different shafts (a part of the mechanism which assists lifting the warp threads) will define the patterning on the woven fabric.
Shed on the rigid heddle Schacht Cricket Loom
Shed on the Louet Jane Table Loom
The Inkle Loom is a light and portable loom. The narrow weaving width produces bands and braids which can be sewn together along their length to create wider fabric or used on their own as straps, belts or edgings for other woven projects. Bands of 11cm wide and 2.5m long can be woven on the Schacht Inkle loom. Basic weaving on this loom is easy to learn while complex patterning can be achieved with greater understanding of the technique.
A Rigid Heddle Loom (also known as a Tabby Loom) is best for producing an open balanced fabric in wool or cotton. The main attraction of the loom is the speed and simplicity with which a warp can be made, threaded up and the weaving started. This makes it ideal for educational projects, and for colour and weave studies. The Schacht Flip Folding Loom (which can be used on a table or with an optional stand) is a super space saving option for a tabby loom.
Table looms cover a wide range of widths up to 80cm and commonly have four or eight shafts. The shafts on are operated independently, and adjusted to meet the needs of the fabric. The Louet Jane table loom has front mounted levers and an overslung beater. It has a floor stand, second warp beam and treadles.
Floor looms are best used for producing longer lengths of fabric, for production work, designs that are more complex and for carpets and rugs. They have a range of mechanisms for creating the shed, these include counter balance, countermarch and jacks, see our Fact File page for more information.
Glimakra floor looms are particularly valuable for weaving high quality rugs where a linen warp is used. These looms are capable of taking the very high tension involved in opening the shed. A 'box' loom such as the Glimakra 'Standard' loom, meets these requirements. The forces on the cloth and warp beams are spread through a series of horizontal supports in the structure to avoid splitting the wood. The looms can be up to 160 cm wide with any of the traditional shedding mechanisms, and can carry a large number of shafts and pedals. Fitments are available for fly-shuttles, converting to a draw loom and for weaving other special fabric structures.
Glimarkra Standard Loom
The Schacht 'Wolf' folding floor looms provide accessibility in a different and very effective way. The shed is provided by 'Jacks', making for a compact loom, where the tie-up can be changed quickly and easily. When folded the loom lifts up on to its wheels and can be moved around easily into an open area. It is then easy to thread up the loom in this position. When opened again, the loom is stable and has been designed to provide a strong structure able to take all but the most inelastic warps. The loom is provided with up to 8 shafts and has a friction brake on the warp beam to help give a consistent warp tension.
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