Posts Tagged ‘rigid heddle’

‘Tis a Gift to be Simple

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
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Some see the rigid heddle loom as a gateway loom – a great way to check out weaving that eventually leads to more and more complex structures and looms and a lifelong addiction passion for fiber. Others love these looms for their speedy set up, accessible and easy weaving style and economy of space, warp yarns and investment. I came to rigid heddle weaving after learning to weave on a multi-shaft floor loom, so I consider myself to be pretty loom-neutral and simply dodge the question when asked which one I like better.

Weaving with knitting yarns on your rigid heddle loom can have fantastic results!

I will tell you, however, that one of the things I love about my RH is working with knitting yarns. Because, frankly, knitting yarns get a lot more exciting and different every day. The beautiful hand dyes! The wild and wacky textures and fiber combinations! A lot of times the yarn doesn’t need anything more than plain weave to showcase its beauty. (By the way, I hate the term ‘plain weave’ because plain implies mundane and boring, which it is not!)

The Variable Dent Reed for the Schacht Flip Loom - available at

One of the new ‘toys’ that has come our way is the Variable Dent Reed (VDR) made by Schacht for their Flip Rigid Heddle looms. Ever wanted to mix it up with different weights of yarns in one piece? Then this is your tool! It comes with an assortment of the plastic sections of the heddle in various dents, which you then fit into the heddle in any order you wish. One of our weaving instructors, Paula Veleta, designed and wove this beautiful scarf that combines hand dyed sock yarn with bulky novelty yarns. The result is a stunning and fashionable scarf that is lots of fun. We will have this draft available for sale in February, or you can create your own version. If I were more inclined to math, I would tell you how many different combinations you can make with the VDR, but you’ll have to settle for my approximation – an awful lot!

Plainweave with a variable dent reed -

And if you want to take your rigid heddle weaving down other adventurous paths, Paula is teaching a new class – Advanced Beginner Techniques for Rigid Heddle Looms – that will take you through a multitude of techniques to create unique and beautiful pieces. Each month will focus on a topic such as color and weave, finger manipulations to create lace and texture, using pick-up sticks and more. It will open your eyes and give you the skills to take your weaving to a new level.

What will you weave next?

Gifts for Weavers

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
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Stumped by what to get for the weaver in your life? It can be tricky when you do not speak the language or know the tribal customs of this particular breed of fiber enthusiast. But fear not, for I am a professional weaving enabler and I can provide insight into this dilemma. As with most of my gifting, I try to look for something special, something that the giftee might not necessarily buy for her/himself. The choices range from tools to enhance the weaving process to luxury fibers to make a unique woven piece.

Schacht variable dent heddle for rigid heddle looms - available at


Schacht’s Variable Dent Heddle (for the Flip Rigid Heddle Loom) allows weavers to create one-of-a-kind pieces by combining different yarns together in a single warp. The heddle consists of a frame with sections of varying dents that can be combined in any order, providing limitless possibilities for beautiful woven projects!


Yarn to Yards Balance - available at


Those of us who have been grabbed by fiber lust often find ourselves with mystery cones and skeins with no labels, leaving us to wonder if we have enough yarn to weave that special *thing*. The Yarn to Yards Balance is here to answer those questions with a simplicity that is ingenious. A length of yarn is balanced on the device and then measured to find yards per pound. No fuss, no muss, and no batteries needed.

Another tool new weavers often delay getting is the indispensable Bobbin Winder. Sturdy and simple, these tools last forever and take the drudgery out of winding bobbins of thread to weave. They offer a distinct advantage over homemade options by allowing a degree of control that produces a better wound bobbin (one of the keys to good selvedges).

Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere - available at


Silk. Cashmere. Need I say more? Okay, maybe some specifics – how about a skein of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere, the epitome of luxury in a skein. These skeins have great yardage, with enough in one skein for weft for a softer-than-soft scarf. It pairs beautifully with our 2/10 Merino Tencel as warp (ask me how I know).

Schacht Inkle Loom - available at


Then we have a fun loom for kids and adults alike – the Inkle Loom. This loom is for weaving narrow bands that are great for belts, guitar and camera straps, and as strips to piece or weave together into larger projects. We sell the Schacht Inkle Loom individually, or as a gift set that adds in a shuttle to weave with and Anne Dixon’s great book, The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory, which is filled with colorful, inspiring designs in addition to basic weaving instructions. A smaller version of the loom is also available, the Ashford Inklette.

And, finally, no wish list would be complete without mentioning gift cards, the present that fits everyone regardless of size, color and fiber preferences!

Surprise your favorite weaver with something special and watch the fun as the creativity is unleashed!

Ready, Set, Knit! 354: Kathy talks with Jane Patrick

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
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This week Kathy talks with Jane, Co-Owner of Schacht Spindle Company with her husband Barry since 1969. Jane has recently published a new book, Woven Scarves with co-author Stephanie Flynn Sokolov.

Woven Scarves by Jane Patrick and Stephanie Flynn Sokolov – available at

This is a follow up to her previous title, the Weaver’s Idea Book, and makes a perfect pairing for the new and intermediate weaver using a rigid heddle loom. These project start with plain weave and then explore stripes, plaid,  different yarns to use, and so much more.

Steve’s Yarn Picks :

Anniversary Sale Yarns through April 30th:


The Anniversary Sale continues but the April Sale yarns go back to their regular prices on May 1st and then a whole new selection of yarns are available.

Tent Sale May 17th and 18th, Fleece Market on the 17th with food trucks The Bistro Bus, Laughing Tomato and Sugar Bakers cupcakes!


Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Weaving on my Rigid Heddle

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
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In celebration of National Spinning and Weaving week, we’re highlighting four different WEBS staff members and their spinning or weaving tool of choice. Here, Heidi tells us how the rigid heddle brought her into the world of weaving.

I first started weaving when I took Leslie Ann’s rigid heddle class.  Weaving always intrigued me, but using a rigid heddle as opposed to a floor loom seemed more approachable.  Since then I have taken several rigid heddle classes.  I love using my rigid heddle loom, and it gave me an insight into and familiarity with weaving that encouraged me to try Beginning Weaving, where a floor loom is used.

WEBS sells the Schacht flip loom or rigid heddle in three sizes: 15,” 20,” and 25.”  The 20” and 25” are the most versatile in what you can make with them.  I own a 20” rigid heddle.  These numbers refer to the width of the loom and determine how big projects can be.  Rigid Heddle looms are so named, because the warp yarn is threaded through the heddles, which are rigid and part of the reed.  As a point of interest, the heddles on floor looms are mobile and separate from the reed.  In the floor loom weaving scenario, the threading of heddles determines the pattern, and the reed allows for consistent tension so your project isn’t wavy gravy in one area and wired tight in another (an extreme for illustration purposes).  On rigid heddles, however, the “heddle-reeds” determine pattern and tension since the reed contains the heddles.  These “heddle-reeds” eliminate some steps of warping since there are less parts!  Warping my rigid heddle, which is putting yarn on the loom in a longitudinal direction, takes me about an hour or so, and the weaving part can be done pretty quickly as well.  If I want to make a scarf that wraps around my neck twice, I can warp and weave in about 5-6 hours.  This means you could make a scarf for someone for Christmas or Hannukah in one afternoon!  I don’t know how fast you knit or crochet, but this beats my time for knitting a scarf with interesting detail.

It is so much fun to pick different yarns for the warp and weft.  On the rigid heddle, the reeds come with different dents.  The reed that comes with purchase of the rigid heddle is called a 10 dent reed, and this is good for yarns that are of DK or double knitting weight.  Since I wanted to experiment first before buying additional reeds, I spent a lot of time selecting from the lovely DK section at WEBS.  Some of my choices that worked really well included Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, Noro yarns, Madelinetosh Tosh DK, Abstract Fibers Alto, Rowan Felted Tweed, and even Valley Yarns Northampton, which is a worsted weight but fine enough to use.  Recently, I bought the 8 dent and 12 dent reeds, which are great for worsted weight yarns and fingering weight yarns, respectively.  My options have opened up, and I am very excited to experimenting with more yarns.

Weaving on the rigid heddle can be in plain weave or with a pattern, making use of a pattern stick.  One positive aspect of rigid heddle weaving is that plain weave, where there is no “pattern”, is very quick.  In contrast with floor looms where you must go through a longer warping process whether or not you have a complicated pattern, warping for and weaving plain weave on a rigid heddle is very efficient!  By plain weaving I do not mean your project will be boring.  In fact, plain weave can be very exciting, because not only can you pick from many yarns for warp and weft, you can introduce one weft pick (like a row in knitting) of fiber or yarn as well.  This means that you could have several weft picks then one of a different texture popping up every so often.

I have done a lot of exploration with scarf-making on my rigid heddle.  Scarves are always a good place to start.  There are a myriad of lovely projects to weave besides scarves, such as place mats, table runners, pillows, or fabric for clothing like a skirt!