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Rigid Heddle Looms

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sewdoggie's picture
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Joined: 02/27/2011

Overview of my experience: owned a Union 36 floor loom, so have experience in making rugs. However, due to some neck issues and strength, I found that too strenuous, so sold the loom. I've found my weaving desire hasn't stopped, so am looking to purchase a loom and I'm thinking a rigid heddle. I have a cheap Mickey Mouse loom that most likely was a child's, but works and is the same design as a rigid heddle. It is very flimsy, with less than desireable features, ie: a length of rubber like a screen spline holds the threads in place.

I have a few questions I'd like answered in making a decision to purchase a "real" loom. On a rigid heddle, what  is the minimum and maximum types of warp and weft. Smaller than knitting type yarn, or will it accept larger? Could you give some examples. And the end pieces that take up the weaving, are they easily tightened and loosened. The one I'm using is just wing nuts which loosen as you weave, so forever I am tightening.

I'm certain, as suggested to me earlier, I need a better loom. There are no resources in my area that can help me or answer these questions, so I appreciate any guidance.

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celtinbirks's picture
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Hi! Many sizes of yarn can be

Hi!

Many sizes of yarn can be used in a rigid heddle.  The warp size depends on the dpi of the reed.  You can go from very thin to very thick.  For the weft, almost any weft is possible (although you can't make heavy rugs on it).  The better RH looms have beams with a ratchet and pawl system, so you don't have to bother with wing nuts.  Some are very sturdy and can hold a bit of tension.  RH looms are fun, very portable and can do more than one might think. Also, using the "direct warping" method is a bit faster and easier than winding on a warping board (if you have the space).  The Ashford RH loom and Kromski Harp RH loom are popular but don't have a front beam or a back beam and I don't think can hold as long of a warp as those that do.  I used to have an Ashford, and it was nice, but if I was ever to buy a RH loom again, I would probably get one with front and back beams.  Below is a link to a great review of different RH looms.  You can look up each type on the internet for pricing.  Purchasing a used one can save you some money.  You can look in the for sale area of of these forums or on your local Craigslist or on eBay for one.  Good luck and I hope that this helps!

Blessings,

Candace

 

hthttp://rivercityweaves.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/rigid-heddle-loom-review-updated

 

 

 

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Elk Ridge Orchard Studio's picture
Joined: 02/26/2011
Thanks for sharing that

Thanks for sharing that link

I am in the process of selecting which RH Loom I want to purchase

I am a never used a loom person and want to get the right one for my first.

Becky

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Claudia Segal's picture
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Joined: 05/13/2009
If you are looking for a

If you are looking for a sturdy, well designed loom, the Schacht is your number.  They have a front and back beam and a ratchet and pawl brake on the front and back beams.  THe brakes are on the outside.  The Glimakra Emilia is equal to the Schacht and comes in !3" and 18" widths.  I own both, use both and would have to flip a coin to choose the better loom.

I also own 2 Kromski Harp looms and like them for their versatility.  They are very sturdy when on the stand and the widths are good.  My only problem with the Kromski is the braking system.  I need to tighten the pawl every time I add a new warp and have to check it while weaving.  The Kromski is the only one that offers a "real" warping board on the back of the loom.  The other good part of the Kromski is the price and the accessories included when you purchase.

I have to say I have not used a Beka or an Ashford and I know many people like them.  It all depends on what features are most important to you.  I have purchased both new and used looms and every time a get a used one I kick myself and wish I had spent the extra money to buy new.  Rigid heddle looms are hot right now and many companies, like Schacht and Glimakra, work on making changes based on what weavers ask for.  

Hope this is helpful.  It's just my personal opinion based on experience.

Claudia

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sewdoggie's picture
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The rivercityweaves was the

The rivercityweaves was the exact type article I was looking for. I guess it does come down to what each individual has used and is comfortable with, as I see Claudia like the Kromski, which has also been recommended to me. If you know of a discussion here on the Leclerc Bergere, could you link me? However, I will be searching after posting this. The Leclerc Bergere rated the highest from the person doing the review at rivercity.

I can't thank each of you enough for adding your thoughts, as this is a very important purchase to me. I bought the floor loom on a whim, and although I took a class and learned a great deal about weaving, it was just a huge undertaking, both in space in my home, and in strength on my part. I'm off now to check out the Schacht now, as it is a new name to me.

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clgy's picture
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ebay

I'm not sure what size you are thinking about buying but I just happened to notice a great deal on ebay that might interest you: 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Ashford-Rigid-Heddle...

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Peg.Cherre's picture
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LeClerc Bergere

I have an old LeClerc Bergere that was given to me by a woman whose mother had used it.  I'm guessing it's from the 50s.  I also own 2 floor looms, so use the RH exclusively to demonstrate at shows where I'm selling.  As a result, I don't get as much time on the RH, and therefore am not as familiar with it as with my other looms.  All that being said, I haven't found a single drawback to my RH.  It has 2 beams, travels easily, works smoothly, and is nice and sturdy.  I haven't used other RH looms so can't compare, but I can say that one of the things I like about the Bergere is that it isn't designed in such a way that I need to use my stomach to hold it in place.  I use some rubber shelf liner underneath to keep it from slipping and sit it on top of a standard-sized TV tray -- it fits perfectly. 

If I were going to buy a new one, I might buy one that was already designed to accommodate 2 heddles.  Mine isn't and I think I would have to use up too much of the space between front & back beams to make that change, reducing my shed size.

Got any other Bergere questions?

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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Bergere 24"

I have worked on many RH looms and taught on more and the Bergere is my favorite.  Sturdy, I've put 9yd warps on it , travels easily with no change to the weaving, and mine has 2 heddles.  I did move the 2nd heddle to the back so I could keep all the space in the front for weaving.  The heddles have 4 positions: up, down, neutral (best for threading) and locked (good during transport).  Also the metal RH have very spacious slots and could accomodate thick or textured yarns at a closer sett than the other plastic RH.

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sewdoggie's picture
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I must say that holding one

I must say that holding one in place with my stomach is a big drawback, so it's good to know that you don't have to with your Leclerc. My neck issues leaves me not able to look straight down, and the propping against the front of me is a strain.

Karren, are you saing yours has metal slots, and is it one that came with it or an add on? And thank you guys for your input.

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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I'm a Leclerc dealer so I

I'm a Leclerc dealer so I have all sizes of their RH in stock, and whwhen these came in last year it was one of the things that struck me.  I was unsure why the 8 and 12 dent/inch RH were metal and it not the outstanding feature of the photo here, but it is clear when you see them in person.  You can request what size RH you want with your loom, altho' they might be a tad ($22) more. You can order a second heddle kit  at the time you order the loom or later, very easy to install.

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Peg.Cherre's picture
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Bergere question

If you're a dealer, Karren, you can probably answer a question...why does the top of the castle have that little metal rod in the top?  I haven't figured out its purpose.

Also, my loom is 18" wide and 17" deep.  From back of front beam to front of castle is about 7", back of castle to front of back beam about 6"  Is there REALLY enough room to add a second castle & heddle if I wanted to?

 

 

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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Metal pegs

The metal pegs fit inside the grove of the wood  at the top of the heddle and lock the heddle in position.  I use it when I transport the loom,and for threading.  After threading I move it to neutral position to tie-on. 

Leclerc now installs a second heddle but I like mine in back of the 1st.  That way it doesn't diminish the weaving space I have in front of the loom.  I still get good sheds. In this photo I'm using two heddles to increase the sett to 20epi in plain weave so I just tied them together and they move as one unit; I'm not using the second castle at the moment.

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Peg.Cherre's picture
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double bergere

Wow - your two castles are really close together!  This doesn't make it hard to manipulate the second one into a different position than the first one?  How many inches from front to back of your 24" loom?

Are you using 2 12EPI heddles to make 20?  An 8 & a 12?  How do you line them up to make 20?  (I have a 12 and a 6, and have tried to create 18EPI, but couldn't make the holes & slits line up appropriately to do so.

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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They are perfect , all the

They are perfect , all the heddle does is go up and down and catch in the notch.

No, when you use two heddles they must both be the same dents/inch.  I am using two 10dents/inch heddles for 20epi.

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sewdoggie's picture
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what item is on your loom and

what item is on your loom and is that the Bergere?

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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Bergere 24"

Yes, it is the Bergere.  The item is a brocaded Huipil, a traditional tunic from Central America, see more here. This is the second one I've made, here is the first.

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sewdoggie's picture
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I had no idea something so

I had no idea something so nice could be made on a loom such as that. Both are beautiful pieces!

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Karren K. Brito's picture
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The loom is not the limiting factor.

The limiting factor is the weaver.   Most of the complex and intricate weavings in the world are made on backstrap looms, just a bunch of sticks.

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dkrose73's picture
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Ratchet & pawl System

Hi Claudia,

Complete newbie here!  Wondering what size Kromski you have, and if you ever got the metal ratchet and pawl replacement kit that came out in June 2014?  I am stongly thinking of getting the 24" - I believe it's about the right size to start on.  Others have constantly said go with the 32", but I want to get more into double weave and pick up stick, and feel the 32" is just a bit much, but could be wrong.

I have heard Schacht makes an awesome RHL, but it's quite spendy, and doesn't have the metal ratchet and pawl system as far as I know.  I know it's made in the USA, but the price is partly holding me back. Another is Kromski and Ashford heddles are interchangeable.  A definite plus since Ashford are better priced, and have a few more sizes than Kromski.  I have yet to hear if either are interchangeable with Schacht, but see Schacht does make 2.5, 5, 10, 12.5, a new 15 DPI, and supposedly a vari-dent.  I would like having the ratchet and pawl on both sides for even tension, but as that is only available on the 30" it would again put me in a larger loom.  The front and back support beams are also a plus.  Oh here I go, I'm slowing talking myself into the Schacht. Embarassed But seriously, what is your opionion of the metal rachet and pawl system on the Kromski over plastic/nylon on the Schacht, or any other loom for that matter?  TIA for your help.

Debbi

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10ashus's picture
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Re: ratchet & pawl

Debbie, I cannot do a comparison for you, but I can say I have been very happy with my Kromski. The metal pawl does hold the tension well and is easy to use. I did not need a kit. The loom already came with it.

The experts advice is to decide what you want to weave when deciding on width. As a beginner, you do not always know what will grab your interest. Whenever I sought a pattern to learn a new technique, the most common width referenced was 24".

Besides the double weave, you can try joining by seams.

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Clueless weaver's picture
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First project

I would like to weave my first scarf.  An 8" x 72" plus extra for tassels 

 B. and shrinkage. My loom is a ashford 24" rigid heddle.

     with a 7.5 reed. Need advise with yarn type and size.

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Joanne Hall's picture
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Joined: 06/11/2009
Size 10 heddle?

Do you have a size 10 heddle reed?  That is a common size.  I like to use Tuna yarn from Glimakrausa.com at 10 per inch for scarves.  That would be a good way to start.

Joanne

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roselindellp's picture
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Sort of new!

Hi, 

I have an older Schacht rigid heddle loom (not Flip). Trying to understand the heddle holder and creating my upper/lower shed. It appears that there is only neutral (1 slot to hold heddle). Thoughts?

Thanks

 

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10ashus's picture
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Re: not a flip

I found a similar post in another discussion. I hope you can understand it and start weaving today.

...for the heddle down position - push it down and slightly back - it should fit over the front heddle block

I found a group for Schacht Loom owners that you might want to join.  http://www.weavolution.com/group/schacht-looms

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roselindellp's picture
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Heddle block

10ashus,

Thanks for your suggestion of the Schacht Loom group.

From the quote, I am interpreting that the heddle just 'hangs' from the yarn since there is 1 heddle block.

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roselindellp's picture
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Heddle block

10ashus,

Thanks for your suggestion of the Schacht Loom group.

From the quote, I am interpreting that the heddle just 'hangs' from the yarn since there is 1 heddle block.

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rneef's picture
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Heddle block

Had one of those several years back (sold it when I got my Flip; not sure if that was smart, but space was an issue), and if memory serves, on mine there was a little notch at the bottom of the heddle block to form the down-shed, another at the top for the up-shed, and you just left it hanging in the warp for neutral.  However, there were quite a few rigid heddle looms made where the block was literally a block, just a square or rectangle mounted inside the frame of the loom. You slide the frame of the reed below the block for a down-shed, set it atop the block for up-shed, and hang it loose in the warp for neutral.  This can work just fine provided you have sufficient tension on your warp.

 

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rneef's picture
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Heddle block

Had one of those several years back (sold it when I got my Flip; not sure if that was smart, but space was an issue), and if memory serves, on mine there was a little notch at the bottom of the heddle block to form the down-shed, another at the top for the up-shed, and you just left it hanging in the warp for neutral.  However, there were quite a few rigid heddle looms made where the block was literally a block, just a square or rectangle mounted inside the frame of the loom. You slide the frame of the reed below the block for a down-shed, set it atop the block for up-shed, and hang it loose in the warp for neutral.  This can work just fine provided you have sufficient tension on your warp.

 

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Amanda Bielski-Wright's picture
Joined: 02/21/2017
I would certainly look into a

I would certainly look into a Schacht.  They make great Rigid Heddle looms.  I've heard quite a few people say they love their Schact Ridgid Heddle loom.  Others love Ashford.  Sometimes loom preference comes down to a personal preference.

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chrisk's picture
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Need help with fell line hump in same spot every shot.

I am a brand newbie - taking a class using the Samplit loom at a yarn shop 2 hours away. On every single shot I get a hump from the 13th - 23rd warp counting from the left. My yarn is a bit sticky because of my asthma I cannot use any animal fiber the teacher chose Dance Rustic Silk for me to use - it is a little slubby and sticky. Ive taken it out a number of times (taking out 8 inches was hard because I wanted to continue but it just looked awful).

What can I do to correct this?

I have no idea how to insert a picture.

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Joanne Hall's picture
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Loose tension?

Is the tension looser on these warp ends?  The weft cannot beat in as easily if the warp tension is loose.

Joanne

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chrisk's picture
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Loose tension?

Joanne - I believe it is. The teacher wound mine up. After cruising the web I have tried tying a bit of yarn to the loose warps and hanging and S-hook but the one I have is too light weight. I added pieces of craft paper to the back bar to take up some slack.Any other suggestions?
I really don't know what good tension is as that was not addressed at all in class.

I know the heddle 7.5 is to large for my yarn that comes in at 19 epi but the teacher said I would have to purchase the smaller one @ $30 for a loom (SampleIt)I am not going to buy. We were able to rent the looms for a nominal price and I know I want something bigger.

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