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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3469 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  6:26:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I certainly don't need a new fiber-related hobby but hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to try weaving...

1 - Is there a small loom for beginners that you would recommend?

I've seen the Ashford Knitter's loom and the Schacht cricket loom.

2 - Which book would you recommend for a beginner?

I saw Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave and Liz Gipson's Weaving made easy at the bookstore today. I'm sure there are other books out there.

Thanks in advance!


http://minkyknits.blogspot.com

arlinem
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
442 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  8:18:28 PM  Show Profile Send arlinem a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm a weaver as well as a knitter (and a spinner). My huband got me a Kromski rigid heddle loom. It's not the only rigid heddle loom out there. There's Ashford, and Schacht. Also Beka. Do some on-line research. Rigid heddle looms are a great way to learn the skill of weaving and they are fun. They're not complicated and the small ones are most portable. Keep in mind that the most common width of commercial fabric available is 44-45" wide and is woven most likely in the shape of the letter "C" - what weavers call double-width weaving. Folded in half is only 22" wide so a 24" loom woven at full width will give you 22 inches wide of fabric. I have 32" Kromski Harp. The nice thing about the Kromski is that when you flip it over it becomes a warping board. Useful although with warping pegs (also included with the Harp package by the way) on a rigid heddle, you don't need a warping board. I have kept my Harp because I eventually bought a floor loom and I will probably even still use it as a loom because I like weaving on my deck in the summer.

I like my Kromski for it's simplicity and especially it's beauty. I also have one of their spinning wheels - another piece of beauty. The Kromski loom comes with a dvd that explains how to warp it, how to use it. Not at all difficult really. Many people think rigid heddle looms are primitive but you can produce some beautiful stuff on them. Keep in mind that weaving is done all over the world using "primitive" equipment (back strap looms, navajo looms, frame looms, viking weight weighted looms for example). But these primitive looms teach you a lot about weaving. Bottom line - it all depends on how much money you want to spend on your learning curve - big bucks are not necessary for weaving anymore than it is to learn to knit.

I don't have Gipson's book and cannot speak to it but I do have Deborah Chandler's. Excellent reference and I highly recommend it. You will keep this book for years.

On another note, I get a lot of gratification from knitting, obviously. But I get as much out of weaving as well. it's not instant gratification though. Setting up for weaving is much longer than sitting down on the couch and pulling out your yarn and needles so don't expect it to be just like knitting because it isn't. You spend a great deal more time setting up a loom and the actual weaving - and by that I mean actually throwing the shuttle through the sheds - seems to fly by. You have to look at the whole process as "weaving" because without the set up, you can't "weave". Knitting is like comfort food for me - I always go back to it and it's never far from me. But I can sit a the loom and suddenly realize that while I may have sat down at it a little fatigued, when I get up I am rejuvenated and full of energy. It engages my mind and energizes me whereas knitting soothes me. There's room for both.

I hope this was helpful and I wish you well in your decision-making.
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  05:15:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Minh, if you were to accidentally try weaving, you could also consider an inkle loom. I've had one for several years, and I'll periodically poke through my stash looking for coordinating yarns and weave bands and leashes for dogs and other small stuff. Inkles are warp-faced weavings, so they're not as complex as the sort of stuff you can make on a rigid heddle loom, but they're a great starter project. I could bring mine to the next KR Retreat if you want to play a bit, but that's months away.

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
Join the KR Webring: http://www.crazylanea.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  06:38:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The looms you mention are foldable rigid heddle looms, which is fine if you need the folding capacity. I'd prefer solidity (I have a Leclerc Bergère, and I find it a bit flimsy) and would go for the normal Ashford Rigid Heddle loom in a width that's comfortable for you (I marked it out on my desk and imagined myself weaving for the whole width and decided that 32 inches was too much for me. On the other hand, you cannot weave quite edge to edge, so my 24-inch-looms gives me only 22 inches of weaving width which amounts to something like 20 inches of fabric. But I didn't know that when I bought it...

I have looked at Deborah Chandler's book and decided it's not for me because it seems to be strictly geared towards floor looms (and mainly 4 shafts, I believe). I started with Rachel Brown's Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing book which contains lots of information about "primitive" (but fully functional) looms, like inkle loom, tablet weaving, Navajo loom, Hopi belt loom, backstrap loom as well as a good chapter on floor looms - you might decide you don't even need a rigid heddle loom (that's the one loom that's not covered by Rachel Brown). If you do want a rigid heddle loom - or even to see whether you would want one (that's what I did), I strongly recommend Betty Davenport's Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving - it's excellent. Much more content than the Ashford book on rigid heddle weaving (which has the pretty pictures).

Have fun! Klara

PS: Clara, couldn't we have a weaving department here in knitter's review? Please, pretty please?

http://www.lahottee.info
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2010 :  4:08:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As others have already most ably said, rigid heddle looms are excellent to learn to weave on and, indeed, can be challenging enough, for some, to never progress from!

quote:
Originally posted by arlinem

Keep in mind that the most common width of commercial fabric available is 44-45" wide and is woven most likely in the shape of the letter "C" - what weavers call double-width weaving. Folded in half is only 22" wide so a 24" loom woven at full width will give you 22 inches wide of fabric.


However, while I technically don't dispute the above, please realise that you need four shafts to weave cloth as described here. You will not be able to do it on a rigid heddle (unless maybe the new ones put out by Ashfords with a second heddle can handle it???).

Remember, weaving uses up more yarn than knitting - a good way to use up your stash, if that is a desire!

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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arlinem
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
442 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2010 :  5:15:50 PM  Show Profile Send arlinem a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kathy is right you do indeed need at least 4 shafts to double width weave. however it is possible to jerry rig a rigid heddle using the rigid heddle as a reed and then use sticks and string heddles to create your shafts. i'm told you can also use 3 rigid heddles to accomplish this but i found that to be cumbersome which is what prompted me to get a floor loom. i was simply offering encouragement.
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KS
Seriously Hooked

862 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2010 :  1:19:16 PM  Show Profile Send KS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Commercial fabrics aren't woven double weave. They have really wide looms.

The Ashford Book of Rigid Heddle Weaving by Rowena Hart, or Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Davenport are the best books to get started. There is a new one called Woven Treasures by Sarah Lamb that coveres a lot of rigid heddle techniques using a series of tote bag projects, including using 2 heddles. It's a nice book with good projects, but the other 2 are better for getting started.

You can do double weave on a rigid heddle loom using 2 heddles, but it's an advanced technique, & a major PITA. You can also do 3 shaft weaves with 2 heddles. I only did it once. That was quite enough for me! I have other looms that will do it easily, so I don't have much incentive to perfect it. I've seen some nice things people have one on Ravelry using that technique. If you use pickup sticks, you can weave anything you want. It's more a matter of how patient are you.

I think there is only 1 of the rigid heddle looms that doesn't allow for 2 heddles. I think it's the Cricket.

You don't need to weave a 45" wide fabric if you want to make garments. You measure you pattern pieces & weave a length the width that will finish wide enough for the widest piece. If you loom isn't wide enough for that, you look at adding seams.

Rigid heddle looms & Inkle looms go together well. A common project is tote bags. Weave the fabric on the rigid heddle loom & the handles on the inkle loom. You can do that type of warp faced weaving on a rigid heddle loom, but it's easier on an inkle loom. If you do it on a rigid heddle loom, you need a belt shuttle in addition to what you will get with your rigid heddle loom purchase.

ETA: Even though I'm advocating plain weave, there's a lot you can do with it. Those hand dyed sock yarns many of us have collected make fantastic scarves with little effort. It takes about 100 gms for a scarf. Like socks, that can vary. Sock yarns are good in either a 10 dent heddle or a 12 dent heddle. I mostly use a 10 dent heddle, unless it's one of the really thin ones.

Novelty yarns are good too, though they are best only in the slots, or in the weft.
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2010 :  4:30:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another rather well-written book for learning to use a rigid heddle loom is Liz Gipson's "Weaving Made Easy". I have it out from the library and was reading through it last night. I haven't woven anything for a number of years but I can feel that I'm beginning to get itchy fingers again!

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3469 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2010 :  3:16:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks everyone for your input! DH bought me a Cricket from Spunky Eclectic at the Maine Fiber Frolic as a birthday present last weekend. I bought the books on the rigid heddle loom by Liz Gipson and Betty Davenport.

I warped the loom yesterday and wove a small scarf -- it will take me a while to learn to warp better, maintain tension and have nice selvedges but I am already enjoying this.

Oh the stash busting possibilities! Placemats and towels as holiday presents! Yipee!

http://minkyknits.blogspot.com
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2010 :  04:31:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Minh, what a wonderful present. I can't wait to see what you weave.

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
Join the KR Webring: http://www.crazylanea.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2395 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2010 :  07:41:19 AM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm a knitter/spinner and have the 32" Kromski Harp. I hadn't used it very much because warping was such a pain but then I tried direct warping - what a difference! Now I'm ready to go in a relatively short time AND I'm not killing my back. There are several weaving groups on Ravelry. I've learned a lot just by reading their posts and looking at their finished projects. Anytime I lose interest in knitting/spinning/weaving, I just check out the Ravelry groups and get inspired all over again.

azblue
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So much to learn, so little time.
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