Design / Weaving


Oh dear, that rabbithole is quite steep… I’m talking about weaving, of course. After weaving my first shawl and wearing it to work (I even got compliments!) I have been thinking and reading about weaving a lot. The loom that I have right now is a simple rigid heddle loom, very straightforward, but also quite inflexible. You cannot exchange the heddle for a finer or courser one, for example. I decided that I need an upgrade. Not a full-blown shaft loom, but a modern rigid heddle loom.

The rigid heddle looms that are on the market now are rather advanced. Some of them are foldable, so that you can take them with you more easily, and others have a built-in warping board. Several brands have introduced dynamic heddles where you can replace (part of) your heddle with different sizes. That is interesting, as it gives you the opportunity to play with different types of yarn in the warp as well as in the weft.

Ashford VariDent heddle

For me, size does matter. In multiple ways. I would like a mini loom with which I can make large pieces of fabric, please! However, it doesn’t work that way. The width of the loom is the maximum width that you’re going to be able to make. You can always choose not to use the full width and weave something narrower on a wide loom, but not the other way around.

An industrial Dobby loom

On the other hand I know that I’m a couch crafter. I like having tools that fit that style. My spinning wheel is small and low and I can operate it perfectly from the couch. I use my spindles on the couch. I knit on the couch. I store my WIPs on the couch. So I want to be able to weave on the couch, too.

Many brands offer smaller rigid heddle looms that could be used in your lap. Kromski offers the 8″ Harp, for example, and Ashford has the 10″ SampleIt. However, 8″ or 10″ is quite narrow (20 or 25 cm). Just enough for a scarf, but can it be used for more than that?

If you go a bit larger, Kromski offers the 15″ Cricket and the 16″ Harp. Ashford has the 12″ and the 20″ Knitters Loom. There is the Schacht Flip too. The Harp, the Flip, and the Knitters Loom are also foldable. The Harp has a built-in warping board. I was severely tempted to get the 16″ Harp, but I was not sure if it would be too big for on the couch (40 cm  weaving width).

Kromski Harp

Then I looked at the Ashford SampleIt in more detail, and I was sold. Despite its modest size it combines many features. It has a built in second heddle slot, so you can just put in another heddle behind the first one and weave twice as fine or twice as wide. VariDent heddles are available for the SampleIt as well, so you can play with different yarn thicknesses. The loom is sturdy, fits into a standard canvas shopping bag, and is couch-friendly. It’s also darn cute.

Ashford SampleIt

So I ordered the SampleIt! And if I ever want to work on a wider loom I will probably choose a Kromski Harp (16 or 24 inch) or a Knitters Loom (20 inch). Or, well, you never know. I might go for a proper loom with shafts. But in that case I would need a different house first.

Unfortunately the SampleIt was not in stock, so I have to wait a couple of weeks before it will arrive from New Zealand. That gives me ample opportunity to plan my first projects. I want to make a simple lined cotton project bag. Today I visited Cross & Woods and bought the yarn and some cute fabric for lining it later. I will weave this DK cotton double width to get fabric that is about 50 cm wide.

Rico cotton and some nice fabric

My other planned project uses some beautiful Posh Yarn that has been languishing in my yarn stash. It’s Posh Yarn Sophia aran, which is 100% Cashmere goat. I have some orphan skeins in blues and purple, and a regular one in pink. I will combine them into a four colour houndstooth pattern.

Four colour houndstooth

I designed this pattern with this awesome Harrisville pattern designer. You choose the colours of the warp and the weft, and the software calculates which colour is visible where in a balanced basketweave. This way you can try out what works and what doesn’t without having to cut your yarn into a warp and weaving a bit first. It’s fun to play with! You can do quite a lot with a simple rigid heddle loom, it seems.

2 thoughts on “Anticipation

  1. How is the SampleIt? I was wondering how difficult it is to doubleweave on it? Some say doubleweave is tricky, but maybe not on a smaller loom?

    1. The SampleIt is great, in my opinion! It’s small enough that it’s not too daunting to try stuff out. I’ve already done double weave a couple of times (there are some more recent posts about that on this blog) and it’s very doable!

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