While smaller than floor looms, rigid heddle looms are no less superior. These looms, which feature a fixed heddle that collectively moves the warp threads, allow you to enjoy both the mechanical process of weaving and the creative freedom of handiwork. They are capable of realizing complex weave structures, whether you’re making placemats, towels, or scarves. An upgrade from table looms, rigid heddle looms present a more accessible and economical way to weave. When choosing yours, keep in mind what width size is best for your weaving level and needs. Smaller ones are less intimidating to beginners, but you will also be limited to creating smaller objects.
1. Kromski Harp Forte Rigid Heddle Loom
Whether or not you are new to weaving, this Kromski loom is an easy-to-use, convenient, and versatile option with which you’ll find yourself spending hours. Made of gorgeous European alder wood, it comes with everything you need to start weaving, including a pickup stick and a built-in warping book at the loom’s back. This means you won’t have to invest in additional supplies to make your warp. It is also a hinged loom, with the ability to quickly fold in half for storage or travel.
2. Schacht Cricket Loom
From the highly revered weaving tool company Schacht Cricket comes this space-saving loom, which is also a favorite among first-time weavers. Small enough to use on your lap, it is easy to set up and warp—the process is much faster than warping a larger loom. Made of a high-quality maple, it features an eight-dent rigid heddle with ABS plastic teeth, which are more durable than nylon options. Note that the wood is unfinished, so you’ll have to wax it yourself, but that means you have total control over the finished look.
3. Beka Weaving Loom
Another beginner-friendly loom, Beka’s is a great option if you’re looking for a rigid heddle loom that’s slightly less expensive. Made of cherry, these are lightweight, portable looms that have been produced for more than 40 years. It’s easy to see their appeal: They can be used on a table, come finished with Danish oil, and, despite their size, can produce some very complex weaves. They also use a tooth system on the front and back beams to organize the warp, rather than wooden rods or dowels. These help keep your weaving straighter and evenly spaced.
4. Ashford Weaving Rigid Heddle Loom
Made in New Zealand out of silver beech, Ashford’s rigid heddle looms are for serious weavers. You won’t feel limited in any way with this 32-inch loom, which can weave an extensive variety of patterns and projects. Ashford also offers a lot of instructional videos, so you won’t be starved for resources, should you need any help. This loom, however, does take up quite a lot of space and can be a little challenging for those with shorter arm spans. We would recommend purchasing a stand with it as well. The loom also comes unfinished, so you have to take care to sand it down and wax it to prevent future splintering.
5. Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom
This is a fantastic loom for realizing complex patterns. It features built-in heddle blocks, so you can insert extras without any added purchases or steps. The design of its top cross braces allow you to work with long warps, and it accommodates different weaving styles: You can hook it onto a table edge, clamp it on a surface to use while standing up, or rest it on Schacht’s stand. When you’re done, you can fold it up for neat storage, even if you’re in the middle of a project.